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Brilliant Boyle drives Aodh Ruadh to victory

Intermediate Football Championship Group B
14 September 2019
Aodh Ruadh 1-12
Saint Naul's 1-11
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

After a lacklustre first half, you would have got good odds on Aodh Ruadh coming out of this game with the win. After a tentative opening period the homesters trailed by four points. They faced into the breeze for the second half, but whatever was said in the dressing room at the turnaround worked a treat. Aodh Ruadh scored four points in the third quarter with Saint Naul's only able to hit one in response. A Niall Murray goal then gave Barry Ward and Philip O'Reilly's men breathing space which they were able to maintain to the end. Saint Naul's never gave up the fight, but Aodh Ruadh weathered the storm through six minutes of added time to secure a deserved second win IFC Group B win.

The first shot in anger came a minute in when Philip Patton was fouled but his shot came back off the upright, the swirling breeze proving difficult to judge.

The game's first score came five minutes in. Michael McKenna working a one two before connecting with a well struck shot to guide over.

Saint Naul's got off the mark four minutes later with Peader Mogan converting a tricky 30 metre free into the swirling breeze.

Two minutes later Mountcharles were in the lead after John Rose picked out the unmarked Stephen Griffin and he made no mistake from 20 metres out.

The game was into the second quarter before Aodh Ruadh got back on terms. Conor Patton let the ball into Ryan McKenna who did well to keep the ball alive and feed Diarmaid McInerney to hoist over the leveller.

With 18 minutes on the clock Saint Naul's hit back hard. Aodh Ruadh were turned over cheaply in the middle third and John Relihan pounced on the loose ball. He laced a long delivery into the completely unmarked Peadar Mogan who romped through one on one with Peter Boyle before unleashing a rocket of a shot which grazed the underside of the crossbar on its way to the back of the net.

Ballyshannon responded rapidly, Philip Patton firing over a free just a few moments after that body blow.

Mountcharles restored their one goal cushion with 24 minutes played though, Peadar Mogan tapping over a free from close in. They extended their lead three mnutes later when Stuart Johnston went on a determined run through the Aodh Ruadh defence before laying off for Martin Breslin to fist over.

Philip Patton fired over his second free of the game 30 seconds from the interval, a much needed score for the homesters.

Once again Saint Naul's came back with a quick answer, sharp attacking football engineering an opportunity which Barry Griffin converted neatly. That saw Saint Naul's going in with a 1-5 to 0-4 lead.

The second half was played at a much higher tempo and that suited Aodh Ruadh. The homesters got the perfect start to the new half with two quickfire points. First Nathan Boyle rifled over and then Philip Patton was fouled for a free which he stroked over himself.

Saint Naul's got their response three minutes into the half when Peadar Mogan blasted over the with the goal at his mercy. A real let off for Aodh Ruadh.

They capitalised on that brush with disaster when a lovely leisurely point from Michael McKenna was followed by a drive through the Saint Naul's cover by Nathan Boyle before thumping over with great conviction to put a point in it.

Then on 38 minutes it was all square when Philip Patton landed a sweet shot from the left of the posts.

The game was into the final quarter before the next score arrived. It went the way of the Mountcharles men, Stephen Griffin sending over a well struck shot out of the hands from 45 metres out.

However in Nathan Boyle Aodh Ruadh had a man with the bit between his teeth and he pulled things back to parity with another forceful score with ten minutes remaining.

Two minutes later the Ernesiders cause got a huge shot in the arm. Johnny Gallagher dropped a lovely ball into the arms of Niall Murray. Whether he was going for a goal or a point only he will know, but his shot arced over the despairing grasp of Gavin Mulreaney and into the back of the net.

With four minutes left the homesters gave themselves a bit of a cushion when Nathan Boyle was really brave to win the ball, being fouled in the process. Philip Patton was flawless from the resultant free kick to make it a four point game.

Saint Naul's kept battling though and points from Conor McBrearty and Barry Griffin put the game right back in the melting pot with added time about to commence.

Aodh Ruadh continued to play the better football though and deserved their bit of luck when they got it. Nathan Boyle connected with an up-and-under which Shane McGrath fielded beautifully. He managed to break the tackle and loop a shot over, but James Connor called play back for the initial foul and Philip Patton tapped over the placed ball.

Saint Naul's piled on the pressure in the six and half minutes of added time played by the referee. Stephen Griffin spurned a decent chance from a free, before making no mistake from a second opportunity. Barry Griffin added another point from play deep into added time to make the last few seconds nerve jangling, but the clock finally ran out on Saint Naul's, and Ballyshannon were able to celebrate a deserved win.

Aodh Ruadh were curiously under par in the first half, but they more than made up for that in a power packed second. Nathan Boyle was right at the heart of the Ballyshannon revival, injecting real drive into the attack. Further back Peter Boyle hit some sublime kick outs and had no chance from Peadar Mogan's goal shot. Johnny Gallagher had a magnificent outing, turning over a sight of ball and always willing to drive forward. Eamonn McGrath, Johnny Gethins and Conor Patton gave a great platform around the centre of the pitch. In the first half Michael McKenna was excellent when Aodh Ruadh were finding the going toughest. Finally Philip Patton's reliability from placed ball is a huge asset in his side's locker.

Saint Naul's had a dream first half from Peadar Mogan, but as the game wore on Johnny Gethins began to dominate that duel. John Rose continued his tradition of having good games against Aodh Ruadh, while up front Stephen and Barry Griffin were ever present threats.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Niall Murray (1-0), Colm Kelly, Johnny Gallagher; Johnny Gethins, Conor Patton, Shane Gillespie; Oisin Rooney, Eamonn McGrath; Diarmaid McInerney (0-1), Michael McKenna (0-2), Nathan Boyle (0-3); Shane McGrath, Philip Patton (0-6, 5f), Ryan McKenna.
Subs: Calum O'Hallorn for Ryan McKenna HT; Paddy Gillespie for Michael McKenna (inj) 44m
Yellow card: Johnny Gallagher 37m; Eamonn McGrath 47m; Johnny Gethins 54m; Diarmaid McInerney 57m; Paddy Gillespie 64m
Wides: 4.
Short: 1.
Kick outs won - Total: 15; Own: 10; Opposition: 5.
Marks: 2.
Saint Naul's
Gavin Mulreaney; Dermot Gallagher, Brendan McCole, Martin Breslin (0-1); Caolan Gaffney, John Relehan, Conor McBrearty (0-1); Ian Campbell, Lee McBrearty; John Rose, Stuart Johnston, Peader Mogan (1-3, 3f); Stephen Griffin (0-3, 2f), Barry Griffin (0-3), Shane Conneely.
Subs: Michael Coughlin for Ian Campbell 36m.
Yellow cards: John Relihan 9m; Stuart Johnston 18m; Caolan Gaffney 32m; Conor McBrearty 37m; Stephen Griffin 47m; Brendan McCole 53m.
Wides: 4.
Short: 2.
Kick outs won - Total: 15; Own: 10; Opposition: 5.
Marks: 1.
Referee: James Connors (Saint Eunan's).

Last modified: Saturday, 14 September 2019 at 6:06pm