Aodh Ruadh        3-11                 Naomh Naille    1-11

{John Hughes reports from Father Tierney Park}

 

Aodh Ruadh were well worth this six point victory on a sun-splashed Good Friday evening in Father Tierney Park. Philip Patton was the architect of the win, pulling the strings in the attack throughout as well as finishing with a personal tally of 1-5. The hosts had their three goals netted with barely five minutes played and they reached the break with an eight point cushion. Despite trailing badly Barry Meehan’s men never took a backward step and they showed buckets of character in a second half where they put Aodh Ruadh to the pin of their collar. However the loss of the excellent John Rose to injury going into the last quarter and the lengthy delay required by his treatment somewhat took the wind from Saint Naul’s sails and Ballyshannon finished the game comfortably in control.

 

Aodh Ruadh got off to the perfect start two minutes in. Oisin Rooney was fouled and Johnny Gethins sent in a laser guided delivery to Shane McGrath. The young attacker tore past his marker before drilling home a beauty of a shot to the net. Less than a minute later Aodh Ruadh were on the attack again. Cian Dolan drove an inviting ball in to Darren Drummond and he turned on sixpence before slamming past the shell-shocked Gavin Mulreany. Within another minute Shane McGrath was fouled in the penalty area as he went to shoot and Philip Patton stood up to the spot kick. The number 11 shot left as the keeper went right and with five minutes 46 seconds on the clock it was 3-0 to no score.

 

Naul’s got off the mark with a Stephen Griffin free a few minutes later. Then Naul’s turned over a quick kick out and Ballyshannon conceded a free in their zeal to win back possession. This time Ian Campbell guided over from an angle on the right. With 13 minutes gone the visitors finally got their first score from play, Stuart Johnston slipping over from close range. Soon after Daniel Brennan added another, fisting over from the edge of the parallelogram after he was picked out by a pass from Johnson. Naul’s were building a head of steam now and Aodh Ruadh needed a score to settle themselves. Philip Patton was the right man in the right place to calmly clip over after a good attacking more. Shortly after that a great ball in from Eamonn McGrath found space in behind again and Oisin Rooney was on hand to split the posts. The scores continued to come thick and fast with two Stephen Griffin points for Nauls and Shane McGrath, Philip Patton and Nathan Boyle for the home side making it Aodh Ruadh 3-5 Saint Naul’s 0-6.

 

Philip Patton tapped over seconds into the new half and tit for tat scores followed over the next ten minutes before Nauls enjoyed their best spell of the game. Stephen Griffin pointed after a slashing move through the Ballyshannon defence. Then seconds later the best efforts of Peter Boyle were not sufficient to deny a rasper of a shot from Stephen Griffin which left the post shuddering as it hit the net. Not long after that Boyle was equal to a third goal effort from Michael Coughlan. Naul’s did get something from the attack though, with keeper Gavin Mulreaney stepping up to stroke over a well hit 45 to make it 3-8 to 1-10 with the game heading into the final quarter.

 

This was as close as Naomh Naille got. Aodh Ruadh got the settling score they needed – sub Eoin Doherty earned a free, converted by to give Barry Ward’s men breathing space. Then there was an extended stoppage as John Rose’s game was ended prematurely by a ankle injury after he fetched the kick out. The stoppage robbed Naul’s of one of their best player and visibily disrupted their rhythm. Daniel Brennan hit another point for the visitors but points from Oisin Rooney and Nathan Boyle added points to seal victory for Aodh Ruadh.

 

Aodh Ruadh had great displays right across the park. Philip Patton we have already mentioned for his star turn. Further back Peter Boyle had to be in top form too, pulling off a string of second half stops to deny Saint Naul’s a way back into the game. Michael Ward, Nathan Boyle and Shane Gillespie were in the best traditions of rugged Aodh Ruadh defenders. In the centre of the pitch Johnny Gethins had an outstanding 60 minutes. Up front there were six superb showings, but Michael McKenna’s hard work and willingness to put his body on the line deserve mention, while Shane McGrath was really in his element.

 

Saint Naul’s deserve great credit for never dropping the head, or allowing the hosts to get too comfortable. Gavin Mulreaney could do little about the three early goals and showed his mettle was some great stops later on and a lovely 45 conversion. Stuart Johnston was a real hive of industry, while Stephen Griffin showed class is permanent with a 1-3 return as well as being instrumental in most of Naul’s scores. John Rose was a class act until his untimely departure, while Daniel Brennan was highly accurate with any ball that came his way.

 

Aodh Ruadh: Peter Boyle; Calum O’Halloran, Colm Kelly, Michael Ward; Nathan Boyle (0-2, 1 45), Shane Gillespie (0-1), Johnny Gallagher; Eamonn McGrath, Johnny Gethins; Oisin Rooney (0-1), Philip Patton (1-5, pen, 3f), Michael McKenna; Cian Dolan, Shane McGrath (1-2), Darren Drummond (1-0). Subs: Conall Sweeny for C Kelly (BC) 9m; Eoin Doherty for C Dolan 44m. Yellow cards: J Gethins 26m; N Boyle 32m. Black card: C Kelly 9m. Frees conceded: 20. Wides: 10, Kick outs won – Total: 17; Own: 11; Opposition: 6. Marks: 3. Short: 0.

 

Naomh Naille: Gavin Mulreaney (0-1 45); Karl Rose, Dermot Gallagher, Conor McBrearty; Stuart Johnston (0-1), Stephen Griffin (1-3, 3f), Michael Coughlan (0-1); John Relihan, Lee McBrearty; Barry Griffin, John Rose, Daniel Brennan (0-4); Ian Campbell (0-1), Daniel Meehan, Shane Coneely.

Subs: Daniel Gallagher for D Meehan 37m; Ryan McBrearty for J Rose (inj) 49m.

Yellow cards: S Griffin 32m; B Griffin 38m, Frees conceded: 14, Wides: 5. Kick outs won – Total: 14; Own: 12; Opposition: 2. Marks: 4. Short: 3.

 

Referee: Pat Barrett (Milford).