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Ardara victorious in the battle of Pairc na Phiarsaigh

RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta senior football championship
Premliminary round, second leg.

12 May 2007
Ardara 2-7
Aodh Ruadh 0-11
Sean Perry reports from Pairc na Phiarsaigh

While they may enjoy league football in Ardara, James McHugh's side had no intention of having no more championship action to look forward to this year when they faced-off against Aodh Ruadh on Saturday evening last.

This was a ferocious battle which saw two players sent off early on, a converted penalty, passages of fine football and several "rumbles." This game hung in the balance right to the final whistle unlike a fortnight earlier when Ardara waved the white flag at half-time going down by 11 points.

The home side were two points to the good when a tangle between Barry Ward and Peter McHugh saw up to 15 players from both sides get involved in a free-for-all only seven minutes in. Referee, Robbie O'Donnell dismissed Ward and McHugh when calm was eventually restored, many other parties slunk from the scene of the crime very fortunate to escape without sanction.

Eamon O'Donnell was shifted to the middle of the park and worked hard although his absence of the edge of the square was to prove crucial as the contest wore on.

When football eventually broke out following the row, the visitors enjoyed near dominance, four points from play in as many minutes put them ahead as the absence of injured duo, Damian Diver and Stephen "Red" McHugh was sorely felt by the Ardara men.

The sides appeared to be heading in level at the break but just before half-time, Ciron Whoriskey was spotted pulling Stephen Gildea, the offended party stepped up to tuck a top drawer spot-kick to the net.

Early in the second half, disaster struck again for the Ballyshannon men. Aodh Brennan set off on a run, showed a few steps which wouldn't have been out of place in the recent "Cup of Tea" festival and played in Gareth Concarr who tucked the ball to the net. That put the champions of 2004 two goals up, minus the injured Brian Roper, the Aodh Ruadh front line faced a serious test of character. Respond they did, Garret Blake lofted over two good frees, Niall McCready worked hard at wing-forward to create a score for Pauric Buggy while Barry Mulligan's left foot applied the last touch to another good move.

Paddy Gallagher was immense for the victors though, the wing-forward, who didn't start in the first leg humiliation, finished with three decent points, the only Ardara forward to point from play. Brendan Boyle made a timely introduction in the last quarter and his surging direct runs handed the advantage back to the home side once more.

Mulligan, who had been very accurate until his last and most important free, missed as Aodh Ruadh sought to claw back to within a point with two minutes left.

Boyle won a late free for Ardara which Gildea swung over to ensure another day out for his side.

The playoff will most likely be on the weekend of June 2/3 and with Stephen McHugh to return and Boyle destined for a bigger role, the momentum is firmly back with James McHugh's side.

Vital Statistics
Conor Curran; Seamus Byrne, Declan Gallagher, Oisin O'Donnell; Johnny Herron, Kenneth Doherty (c), Eamon Doherty; Francis Diver, Kevin Byrne (0-1); Michael Doherty (0-1, free), Gareth Concarr (1-0), Paddy Gallagher (0-3); Stephen Gildea (1-2, 1 pen, 2 frees), Peter McHugh, Aodh Brennan.
Declan Gavigan for O'Donnell (h-t), Brendan Boyle for Brennan (46).
Aodh Ruadh
David Greene; Darren Drummond, Eamon O'Donnell, Ciron Whoriskey; Thomas McPhelim, Patrick McGrath, Philip O'Reilly; Conor Gurn, Barry Ward; Donagh McIntyre, Seamus Kane (0-2), Niall McCready (0-1); Garrett Blake (0-2, 2 frees), Michael Ward (c) (0-1), Barry Mulligan (0-4, 1 free).
Pauric Buggy (0-1) for McIntyre (13), Michael Gurn for C Gurn (36), Kerry Ryan for McGrath (blood sub, 50) John Duffy for Blake (53).
Robbie O'Donnell (Naomh Mhuire)

Report Filed: 15 May 2007