Cathal McGettigan . . . . 0-3 for Milford
An error by Aodh Ruadh ‘keeper Peter Boyle which saw the ball break lose for a Milford goal, proved the key score in this bottom of the table clash at Fr Tierney Park where a two point Milford win makes their tenure in Division One all the more likely, while Aodh Ruadh now look in serious relegation peril.
Aodh Ruadh 0-12
Although the goal was the difference, Boyle’s error wasn’t the reason for this defeat. Aodh Ruadh lacked a killer instinct and they were short on attacking ideas and too slow to execute those attacks, allowing Milford ample time to reset a blanket defence.
Milford, in some respects did no more than they needed to, to ensure the win. It was, as one wise Milford supporter told me afterwards “a game both teams knew they had to win, and the lack of stylish football wouldn’t bother either team as long as they won”.
At no stage did we see the fluent football the visitors are well capable of. In a strange second half, both sides were score-shy from 30th to 50th minutes. At half time Milford led 1-8 to 0-7, with six minutes left we had seen just five more scores, Milford still leading, 1-10 to 0-10.
Aodh Ruadh went into the game short among others, Darren Drummond, Oisin Rooney, Philip Patton and Johnny Gallagher, and they have found that their lack of depth within their panel is an issue. They fielded stronger teams last year in Division Two. Injuries and absence apart, they lack at times a hard to coach touch of on field cuteness that is needed at this level.
Milford, who surprised many last week to defeat Kilcar with attacking football, changed tack today, they crowded their defence and made it difficult for Aodh Ruadh to cut through for goal chances. It wasn’t pretty, but very effective, Aodh Ruadh tried to play through the cover with very limited success.
After ten minutes Milford were in a strong position, leading 1-3 to 0-1. The goal on ten minutes was a killer, Kane Barrett’s attempt for a point falling short, but it hopped off ‘keeper Boyle’s chest and the ever alert Darragh Black was quick to flick first time to the net.
Before that David McGurrin was denied a goal by two brilliant reflex saves by the Milford ‘keeper, Caolan McGettigan – one of the few times Aodh Ruadh threatened to score a goal.
Trailing by five points, Aodh Ruadh hit three in as many minutes, Diarmaid McInerney with two, one from a free, while Niall Murray scored with a fisted effort. Gary Merritt and Cathal McGettigan (free) replied to keep Milford in control while McInerney and Nathan Boyle scores saw Milford respond with points from McGettigan (free), Black and Kane Barrett to lead 1-8 to 0-6 while a late fisted David McGurrin point brought the gap back to four, 1-8 to 0-7 at the break.
Probably one of the costliest moments of the half on 26 minutes saw top class Aodh Ruadh defender Colm Kelly black carded, his foul at the expense of a probable certain goal, but he paid the ultimate price and added to other absentees, it looked like Aodh Ruadh were now without one too many top class players to make any serious inroads non Milford’s four point lead.
Briefly a rallying point from full back Damien Cleary suggested otherwise, but Milford responded quickly, Luke Barrett clipping over another free. In a low-scoring third quarter keeper Boyle reduced the Milford lead to three points with a 46th minute 45.
With eight minutes left Aodh Ruadh had the lead down to two, David Dolan scoring a peach of a point but within 60 seconds points from Cathal McGettigan (45) and Kane Barrett from play had restored Milford’s four point lead.
Milford closed out the game protecting their four point lead – Aodh Ruadh scoring two late points from Donegal u-20 stars Nathan Boyle and Shane McGrath.
A large number of supporters had travelled from Milford for this game and their loud cheers at the final whistle underlined for many just how important this win for Milford will be – and by contrast how costly defeat may well prove for Aodh Ruadh.
Gary Merritt at centre-half back was top class, Darragh Black, not for the first time causing havoc up front. For Aodh Ruadh Diarmaid McInerney and Damien Cleary were steady througout.
Referee Michael McShane was an impressive man in the middle and had tight control of this, at times, petulant, niggly affair.
AODH RUADH: Peter Boyle 0-1, 45; Michael Ward, Damien Cleary 0-1, Jason Granaghan; Johnny Gettins, Colm Kelly, Eddie Lynch; Conor Patton, Eamonn McGrath; David Dolan 0-1, Shane McGrath 0-1, David McGurrin 0-2; Nathan Boyle 0-2, Diarmaid McInerney 0-3, 1f, Niall Murray 0-1 Subs: Paddy Gillespie 26 mins for Kelly (black card); Sean Taylor 55 mins for Lynch.
MILFORD: Caolan McGettigan; Conor McHugh, Barry McNulty, TJ Eveson; Tony McNamee, Gary Merritt 0-1, David Curley; Joey Cullen, Luke Barrett 0-1,f; Cathal McGettigan 0-3, 1 45, Christopher Barrett, Paddy Peoples; Darragh Black 1-2, Kane Barrett 0-3, 1f, Pauric Curley 0-1 Subs: Kyle Black (45 mins) for P. Curley; Ryan McMahon (57 mins) for McHugh.
REFEREE: Michael McShane (Kilcar).