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Aodh Ruadh stage big recovery to land division four title

Senior Football Division 4 final
Aodh Ruadh 2-11
Saint Eunan's 1-11
Harry Walsh reports from Tir Chonaill Park.

Aodh Ruadh recovered from an eight point deficit to make it back-to-back division four League title at Tir Chonaill Park yesterday afternoon.

Playing against a strong breeze, the Ballyshannon men went into the break 0-6 to 0-2 in arrears.

The Saint Eunan's men had stretched that advantage out to eight points 1-9 to 0-4 before Aodh Ruadh introduced their 'super sub' Joe Watson on 48 minutes.

Deployed at the edge of the square, Watson scored 1-2 as he dragged his team mates back into a contest which had looked beyond them for much of the game.

Damien Conlon, who was to have a good hour in the green and white, opened the scoring on five minutes before Adrian Flanagan levelled matters a minute later.

David Dolan and Dwyer Rafferty traded points before Aodh Ruadh's Ronan Matthews, who had been injured early on, limped off to be replaced by Barry Gallagher on 16 minutes.

There followed an almighty hail shower, blowing straight into the face of Donegal's All Ireland winning goalkeeper Gary Walsh who must have been questioning his sanity at that stage of the contest.

Those questions were answered however when his full-back Christy Dolan collected the cup from County Board chairman Sean Kelly less than an hour later.

Saint Eunan's rattled over four unanswered scores from Marcus Harley, Sean Cafferkey, Seamie Nallen and Paul Crampsie to go leading 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.

Early second half Aodh Ruadh points from Conlon and Slevin were cancelled out by Kevin McGee and Nallen before Harley netted the game's opening goal, racing onto Paul McGovern's excellent pass to slot home beyond Walsh.

Another Saint Eunan's point, off the boot of McGovern, put the Cathedral town team eight points clear. Enter Joe Watson.

Damien Conlon pulled a point back from a placed ball before David Downey raised the white flag.

The same player, Downey, netted Ballyshannon's opening goal on 50 minutes when he latched onto Conlon's through ball. With ten minutes still to play there was now only a goal between the teams.

Conlon reduced the deficit to two from a placed ball before Watson got onto the end of a flowing move involving Conlon and Diarmuid Keon to rifle the ball high into the 'Eunan's net.

Dwyer Rafferty pulled Saint Eunan's level with six minutes still to play but another Conlon free, two excellent points from Watson and one from Padraig Loughlin put four between the teams.

Paul Crampsie pulled a point back for Saint Eunan's deep into injury time but it was the Aodh Ruadh players who were left to celebrate moments later when Liam Browne blew his final whistle.

The winners were best served by Christy and David Dolan, Conlon and Watson while Barry Tinney, Dwyer Rafferty and substitute Paul McGovern impressed for Saint Eunan's.

Aodh Ruadh's back-to-back division four league champions.
Aodh Ruadh's back-to-back division four league champions.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Gary Walsh; Jon Roper, Christy Dolan, Brian Dorrian; David Finnerty, Ronan Matthews, Dave O'Donnell; David Dolan (0-1), Liam Reynolds; Padraig Loughlin (0-1), Dermot Slevin (0-1), Damien Conlon (0-5, 3f); Diarmuid Keon, David Downey (1-1), Francis McShea.
Substitutions: Barry Gallagher for Matthews (16 mins); Joe Watson (1-2) for McShea and David McLoone for Roper (38 mins); Damien Cleary for Slevin (42 mins); Ken Monaghan for Finnerty (50 mins).
Saint Eunan's
Conor Grubb; Seamus Crossan, Benny Callaghan, Ciaran McIntyre; Colin Ferry, Barry Tinney, Dean Doherty; Seamus Nallen (0-2), Paul Crampsie (0-2); Kevin McGee (0-1), Dwyer Rafferty (0-2), Sean Cafferkey (0-1); Marcus Harley (1-1), Joe McIntyre, Adrian Flanagan (0-1).
Substitutions: Paul McGovern (0-1) for J McIntyre (30 mins).
Liam Browne (Four Masters).

Report courtesy of Donegal News. Report Filed: 24 November 2008