Search the site >

Sprint finish takes Aodh Ruadh into last four

Intermediate Football Championship Group B
Aodh Ruadh 0-15
Naomh Muire 1-7
5 September 2020
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park

With three minutes of normal time left to play in this game there were just two points in it and the verdict was still very much in the balance. However a quickfire salvo of points from Philip Patton, Shane McGrath and Michael McKenna in the space of 90 seconds ensured it was Aodh Ruadh who booked their place in Sunday evening's semi-final draw.

The breeze had a major say in proceedings in this unusually early Saturday throw-in, and it was driving to the Mart end of the ground. Aodh Ruadh faced it in the first half, but made light of it in an energetic first quarter.

The first score went the way of Naomh Muire when Padraig McCafferty was fouled for a free which Eoin Martin took off the deck and split the posts three minutes in.

Not long after Aodh Ruadh worked the ball fluently up the pitch where Philip Patton lofted over a lovely shot off the left boot to level things up. Three minutes later Oisin Rooney won a good early ball in and rode a tackle before laying off for Patton to clip over a stylish shot.

With the water break nearing Greg McGroary blew for a foul by Thomas O'Donnell on Oisin Rooney in front of the posts, and Patton made no mistake from 13 metres.

As the sides resumed it was Naomh Muire who were setting the tempo. On 17 minutes Daniel Ward dropped in a long shot from well out, which Peter Boyle did well to get to hand to under pressure to palm out for a 45. Eoin Martin connected well with the dead ball to cut the arrears to the minimum.

Three minutes later and Naomh Muire had seized the lead. Eoin Martin did really well to keep the ball alive on the end line before charging towards goal and fisting across the face for Ultan Boyle to palm home.

Four minutes from the break there was a goal between them as Jack O'Donnell converted a free from the right of the posts to make it 0-3 to 1-3.

Ballyshannon got a much needed score when Eamonn McGrath was fouled on the edge of the D, allowing Philip Patton to hit his, and Aodh Ruadh's fourth point of the game

On the stroke of half-time Daniel Devlin displayed a bit of cuteness, giving his marker a shove in the back as the long ball was coming in to buy himself some space before collecting and powering over.

The Ernesiders were lucky to get away without conceding a goal in that instance, and it was something of a similar story up the other end when Shane McGrath collected a quick free kick and took a crack at the goal, but his shot flashed just over the crossbar.

So at half-time there were two points in it, Aodh Ruadh 0-5 Naomh Muire 1-4.

Barry Ward's men now had the benefit of the breeze and they quickly turned it to their advantage. A minute in Philip Patton stood up to a tricky free and did brilliantly to get it steered over the bar.

David Dolan was an early second half substitute and his first touch was to kick a magnificent levelling score. It was a score which would have delighted the home support, had they been allowed to be present, this being Dolan's first competitive action after suffering a nasty injury only a few weeks before.

Johnny Gethins then teed up Shane McGrath to slips over a trademark casual shot to put the hosts back into the lead on 34 minutes.

McGrath was then fouled for a free which the immaculate Philip Patton swept over.

Aodh Ruadh were well on top now and 42 minutes in they had a glorious chance for a goal. Philip Patton won a turn over ball and laid off to David Dolan. Dolan unleashed a rocket, but his shot was saved and went out for a 45. Nathan Boyle leathered over a peach of a strike which compensated somewhat for the missed goal opportunity.

Just before the water break there was a superb rob in his own back line by Nathan Boyle and the Benildus man found David Dolan with a great clearing pass. Dolan floated the ball into the final third where it was batted down to Philip Patton who hoisted over a fantastic score from a central position.

Aodh Ruadh now led 0-11 to 1-4 at the water break and looked favourites to see this one out.

However, once again it was the visitors who came out fired up for action. They hit their first score in nearly 20 minutes when Ultan Boyle did really well to drive his shot over into the teeth of the breeze.

Then with six minutes left to play Daniel Devlin gathered a quick free and clipped a close range shot over the bar to leave just two points in it.

At this stage it was very much anyone's game and there was a feeling that the next score would be crucial. Happily it went the way of that man, Philip Patton, who finished an inspirational point after some trojan work by Johnny Gethins. Michael McKenna and Shane McGrath followed that up with two quick points in succession to leave Aodh Ruadh in the comfort zone with time running out for Naomh Muire.

Ultan Boyle did pull a point back with 59 minutes on the clock, but an injury time fisted effort from David McGurrin ensured there would be no late smash and grab in Father Tierney Park as the Shams ran out five point winners.

Aodh Ruadh had a simply phenomenal performance from Philip Patton. Eight points, four from play, four from dead ball, were only part of the story in a display which saw him picking up ball in his own defence and making some telling passes. His contribution was immense. Man of the match Michael McKenna had another stylish outing and could perhaps consider himself unfortunate not to have finished with two points to his credit, one effort which looked good being chalked off by the referee.

Colm Kelly and Conor Patton did well against a Naomh Muire attack which took a bit of handling. Nathan Boyle and and Eamonn McGrath had a very effective 60 minutes in the middle third with Donagh McIntyre also getting through a good amount of work. The relentless Johnny Gethins was once again everywhere in this game and didn't waste a ball.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Peter Boyle; Conor Patton, Colm Kelly, Callum O'Halloran; Michael McKenna (0-1), Eddie Lynch, Cian Dolan; Nathan Boyle (0-1 45), Eamonn McGrath; Diarmaid McInerney, Oisin Rooney, Philip Patton (0-8, 4f); Johnny Gethins, Donagh McIntyre, Shane McGrath (0-3).
Substitutions: David McGurrin (0-1) for Cian Dolan 27 minutes; David Dolan (0-1) for Callum O'Halloran.
Naomh Muire
Declan Ward; Ultan Boyle (1-2), Brian Gillespie, Thomas O'Donnell, Sean Boyle; Sean Boyle, Cian Boyle, Laurence Coyle; Daniel Ward, Adam O'Brien; Jack O'Donnell (0-1f), Padraig McCafferty, Tuathal Lunny; Fintan Doherty, Daniel Devlin (0-2), Eoin Martin (0-2, 1f 1 45). Substitutions: Joey Gillespie for Jack O'Donnell 43 minutes; Daniel Sharkey for Tuathal Lunny 52 minutes.
Referee: Greg McGroary (Four Masters).

Last modified: Sunday, 6 September 2020 at 3:02pm