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Malin maintain Erneside hoodoo

Senior Football Division 2
5 September 2009
Aodh Ruadh 3-5
Malin 2-10
John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park.

Malin continued their winning habit over Aodh Ruadh with a well-deserved victory on a clear, warm evening in Ballyshannon last Saturday. The Inishowen outfit were the fitter, better balanced unit and their two point winning margin could have been greater had it not been for some brilliant saves by Paul Kane.

Aodh Ruadh played with the backing of a strong breeze in the first half and it was the Ernesiders who had the first shooting opportunity, Gareth Blake punting wide. Barrel-chested Paddy Kelly gave early warning of the influence he would have on the game by coasting through the Aodh Ruadh half back line and lofting over a quality point.

It was the Ernesiders who were the more dominant in the opening period. Helped by the wind they carried the game Malin. Brian Roper was particularly busy and he put Ballyshannon on the scoreboard after five minutes with a point off the left boot. Although they had a great deal of possession Aodh Ruadh were struggling to make it count against a Malin side playing with two up front and a defending in depth. Their next chance was put wide by Brian Roper later, but shortly after the county veteran fed the ball to Michael Ward and he launched over a good effort to edge Aodh Ruadh in front

Having weathered the homesters opening pressure, Malin became more adventurous and county panelist Charlie Byrne found himself in on goal, but was well bottled up by the Aodh Ruadh defence before he could get his shot off. That close escape inspired Aodh Ruadh's best move of the game so far. A tidy interlinking move up the pitch involving Conor Gurn, Garreth Blake and Michael Lawless saw the ball end up with Fiachra McIntyre who was one-on-one with the keeper. He flicked the ball to the unmarked Pauric Buggy who slotted deftly past the outrushing keeper to put Aodh Ruadh four points ahead. Unfortunately for Conor Gurn, he was injured in the build-up and he had to be replaced by Ciron Whoriskey.

It got even better for the green and white on the quarter hour mark. Malin were trying to claw back the deficit and Charlie Byrne was using his license as attacking half back to carry the ball into the Aodh Ruadh danger area. However Brian Roper tracked back brilliantly to put in a powerful block on Byrne. Malin tackled tigerishly as the homesters as they tried to clear their lines and it took a sublime, laser-guided clearance by Kerry Ryan to lift the siege. Malin had numbers committed forward and Ballyshannon now took advantage of the space in the Inishowen rearguard. Michael Ward collected the ball and fed Pauric Buggy who, once again one-on-one, slipped the ball under the Declan Lafferty to give Ballyshannon a seven point cushion.

Aodh Ruadh were enjoying considerable possession and reeled off two wides from Boyle and McGee before Malin were able to register their second point of the game. Charlie Byrne was blocked once again by Brian Roper, but this time he was able to recollect the ball and chip over with ten minutes left in the half.

There was another wide for Ballyshannon before Anthony Kelly opened his account, striking over a fine point from distance after cutting easily through the Aodh Ruadh rearguard. Five minutes later the score of the half arrived from Brian Roper, he fired over a fantastic point after good build up play by Niall McCready and Garreth Blake to restore the two goal margin.

Although Aodh Ruadh seemed to be raising green flags at will, Malin continued to show great spirit. Three minutes from the break Gerard Greene was put through and only a wonderful save by Paul Kane prevented Malin from raising a green flag of their own. The subsequent 45 was collected by Brian Roper who put Aodh Ruadh back on the attack. Kerry Ryan finished the move by hoisting up an effort at the posts, but while one umpire gave the point the other thought it wide and Jimmy White decided not to award the score.

White was easy on the whistle and frees were very hard won in this game. It made for a compelling, fast-flowing match, but there were a few challenges that some players were lucky to get away with. One of White's more questionable decisions was playing four minutes of extra time at the end of the first half. In the third minute of extra-time Malin were awarded a free near the Aras Aoidh Ruaidh sideline just outside the 13 metre line. Anthony Kelly stepped up and hit his shot well, but it lacked elevation and the ball ended up cruising through a forest of hands in the Aodh Ruadh penalty area and into the top left hand corner of the net. It was a hammer blow for Ballyshannon as they now faced a second half playing into the wind with only a three point cushion to defend.

Half time score: Aodh Ruadh 2-3 Malin1-3

Charlie Byrne got the second half action under way by kicking wide from the throw in. But it was Ballyshannon who were to take first blood in the second half. A minute in Anthony Boyle burst through the Malin rearguard and majestically fed Garreth Blake. Blake remained composed to take the most difficult of all the goal chances the game had presented thus far. A minute later a Donagh McIntyre effort for a point came back off the upright and Declan Lafferty did well to deny Fiachra McIntyre a goal.

Ballyshannon were unable to maintain their six point advantage for long. In Malin's most incisive move the game to that point Paddy McColgan got the ball into Michael Doherty who was deposited on the turf without ceremony by the last two Aodh Ruadh men back. A clear penalty. Anthony Kelly dispatched the placed ball crisply to make it a one goal game once more.

There were wides from Gary Farren, Charlie Byrne and missed goal chance by Michael Lawless before the Inishowen men engineered the next score. A quick passing move saw a Malin effort on goal, but once again Paul Kane pulled off a spectacular save and scooped the ball out to Darren Drummond. Paddy McColgan stepped in though and used his strength to rob Drummond and snipe over an opportunist point.

At this point the key development was Malin taking almost total control in the centre of the field. Every ball that went in there seemed to end up with an amber and black jersey. Paddy Kelly was imperious and dictated much of the last third of the game with his ball winning and distribution. Darren Doherty took possession 13 minutes into the second half and he fed Declan Walsh for a slick point after he easily cut through the Aodh Ruadh defence.

Ballyshannon were under serious pressure, but Anthony Boyle worked effectively to create a chance for Niall McCready. The Aodh Ruadh half back doing well to hit a badly needed point.

That score restored a two point margin between the sides, but the pattern of the game continued to favour Malin. They were enjoying the bulk of possession and looked the leaner, hungrier outfit. Michael Doherty was on the end of Malin's next scoring opportunity, but his blasted goal effort came off Johnny Gallagher's head and went over for a point.

With just 11 minutes left of normal time Anthony Kelly hit the equaliser for Malin. He struck again three minutes later to give the Inishowen men the lead for the first time in the game, pointing from one of the few soft frees awarded in the game.

With the game becoming a bit fractious there were yellow cards for Paddy McColgan and Kerry Ryan for back chat. In between those cards Gary Farren blasted over for a point when the goal chance was on to put two points between the sides with five minutes left. If Malin had one failing, it was their lack of composure when goal chances presented themselves.

Lack of composure also afflicted Charlie Byrne when he recklessly chopped down on Brian Roper as he was bursting through on the Malin posts. Having already booked Byrne in the first half Jimmy White was left with no option but to show a second and send Byrne to the line. A sour end to a game where Byrne had contributed significantly to Malin's ultimate victory. Pauric Buggy pointed the free from 20 metres in front of the posts and the homesters had three minutes left to try and manufacture an equaliser.

It was Malin who finished the stronger though and a minute after Buggy's free Paddy McColgan insurance point slipped inside left post to secure yet another Malin win over Aodh Ruadh.

The victory takes the Louis Walsh's side to second in the division two table, while Aodh Ruadh can now no longer afford any further slip ups if they are to be in with any chance of promotion.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.
Action from the Aodh Ruadh v Malin game in Father Tierney Park.

Vital Statistics
Aodh Ruadh
Paul Kane; Packie McGrath, Conor Gurn, Darren Drummond; Michael Lawless, Niall McCready (0-1), Johnny Gallagher; Fiachra McIntyre, Kerry Ryan; Garreth Blake (1-0), Brian Roper (0-2), Anthony Boyle; PJ McGee, Michael Ward (0-1), Pauric Buggy (2-1, 1f).
Substitutes: Ciron Whoriskey for Conor Gurn - 12 minutes, Donagh McIntyre for PJ McGee - half time, Val Murray, Brian McCafferty, Eoin McNeill, Turlough McIntyre, Simon Gillespie.
Manager: Sylvester Maguire
Declan Lafferty; Darren Doherty, Kevin McColgan, John McLaughlin; John McLaughlin, Charlie Byrne (0-1), Daniel Greene; Paddy Kelly (0-1), Declan Walsh (0-1); Michael Doherty (0-1), Anthony Kelly (2-3, 1f 1pen), Damien Ward, Garry Farren (0-1), Gerard Greene, Paddy McColgan (0-2).
Substitutes: Conor Farren for Gerard Greene - half time, Danny Lafferty, Edward Kelly, Seamus Doherty.
Manager: Louis Walsh
Referee: Jimmy White (Killybegs)

Report Filed: 6 September 2009