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Aodh Ruadh claim Junior Hurling crown

Junior Hurling Championship Final
31 August 2019
Aodh Ruadh 1-14
Carndonagh 1-11
O'Donnell Park, Letterkenny

By Ryan Ferry

Aodh Ruadh overcame a slow start to defeat Carndonagh on Saturday in O'Donnell Park and get their hands on the Donegal Junior Hurling Championship title for the first time since 2010.

Carn made a great start to the game and Cathal Doherty's penalty helped them establish a 1-4 to no score after 12 minutes.

However, they took their foot off the gas after that, and Aodh Ruadh were only three points behind at half-time.

The Ballyshannon team levelled midway through the second half, but Carn had chances to take control of the game and just couldn't take them.

Pauric Keenaghan's 49th minute goal put Aodh Ruadh in the driving seat and they didn't look back after that.

Aodh Ruadh hadn't fielded in the senior hurling championship in recent years, but their adult team returned after the Donegal County Board reinstated the Junior Hurling Championship in 2019.

Carndonagh were junior champions back in 1995, but the club ceased the running of their senior side over the last 13 years. They got the team up-and-running again this season, and were impressive in beating St Eunan's second team in their semi-final.

Carn made a great start to the match and they were awarded a penalty within the opening minute after Feargal Doherty was grounded.

Player-manager Cathal Doherty stepped up and drilled a brilliant shot to the net.

The lively Feargal Doherty then added a point, before Aodh Ruadh created a goal chance when Oisin Rooney charged through the middle, but his effort was blocked.

Carn played with much more intensity in the first ten minutes, and their first touch was sharper.

Ryan Davenport found himself in space and pointed, before Cathal Doherty slotted over two frees in quick succession.

Aodh Ruadh were second to every ball, but they eventually got off the mark in the 13th minute when Rory Cullen pulled off a majestic catch and fired over.

Cullen added another moments later, but John O'Donnell quickly cancelled that out with a monster score.

Cathal Doherty added a free, and they could have put real daylight between the sides but Dermot McGonagle blazed a goal chance narrowly wide.

That proved to be a wake-cup call for Aodh Ruadh, and they came powering back into the match.

Oisin Rooney tapped over a free, before Pauric Keenaghan pointed from play.

Ciaran Kilgannon floated over a lovely score from play, and when Rooney pointed a free in the 26th minute, Aodh Ruadh were suddenly only three in arrears.

That proved to be the final score of the opening half, and it was all to play for when the action got underway again.

Aodh Ruadh made a bright start to the second half and Rooney converted two early frees.

The Ballyshannon men then drew level in the 37th minute when Kilgannon pointed.

The Inishowen men spurned a couple of chances after that, before Cathal Doherty steadied them with a placed ball again.

Paddy Monagle put Carn two ahead in the 46th minute, but the wing forward really should have had a goal.

Aodh Ruadh wouldn't go away and they levelled matters again when Conal Sweeny and Kilgannon dissected the posts.

John Rooney's team then swooped for a goal in the 49th minute.

Kilgannon came out from full-forward to win a ball, and while he was fouled, Keenaghan picked up the loose possession and found the net.

The Inishowen men hit back with scores from McCormick and Monagle. However, Aodh Ruadh pushed clear again after scores from Kilgannon and Rooney (free).

Carn had one last chance to bring the game to a replay but McCormick's rasping shot went over the bar, and Keenaghan's late score ensured that the Ballyshannon side went home with the silverware.

Donegal Junior Hurling Championship Final - Aodh Ruadh v Carndonagh.
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Donegal Junior Hurling Championship Final - Aodh Ruadh v Carndonagh.
Click for a larger version

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Ryan O'Brien; Rossa McCosker, Pat Haran, Adam Rami; Conal Sweeney (0-1), Paul Sheridan, Peter Horan; Oisin Rooney (0-5f), Brendan Gillespie; Pauric Keenaghan (1-2), Ciaran Kilgannon (0-4), Gary Loughlin; Stephen Anderson, Cian Duffy, Rory Cullen (0-2).
Substitutes: Stephen Connolly for Duffy 41m, Ryan Ayres for McCosker 53m, Thomas Gallagher for Horan 62m.
Fergal Bradley; Shaun McCreanor, Pádraig Doherty, Dermot Doherty; Mark Diver, James Monagle, Donal Doherty; Cathal Doherty (1-4, 1 pen, 4f), Cormac Monagle; Darragh McCormick (0-2), Dermot McGonagle, Paddy Monagle (0-2); John O'Donnell (0-1), Feargal Doherty (0-1), Ryan Davenport (0-1).
Substitutes: Michael Doherty for McCreanor 28 m, Conal Doogan for F Doherty 57m.
Referee: Trevor Maloney (Buncrana)

Last modified: Monday, 1 June 2020 at 12:12pm