Gaoth Dobhair dominated proceedings on a chilly April afternoon in Father Tierney Park to run out deserved winners in this Division 1 clash.
Aodh Ruadh 2-7 Gaoth Dobhair 1-18
By John Hughes, aodhruadh.org
James O’Donnell’s men put in a much better shift in the second half, but the visitors matched them and a late Eamon McGee goal put a nice gloss on the final scoreline for them.
Ballyshannon continue their hunt for a first win in the top flight since their return, while Gaoth Dobhair make it three from four to sit snuggly at the right end of the table.
Aodh Ruadh had the backing of a strong breeze in the first half, but it was Gaoth Dobhair who made most of the running. They dominated the opening stages, hitting four unanswered points as the eased up through the gears.
They got it going two minutes in when Daire Ó Baoill sent over a handsome shot from the right against the wind.
Two minutes later Niall Friel doubled it up for the visitors, clipping over from out on the right.
Shortly after Gavin McBride leathered over a thumping shot from way out in the middle of the pitch as Aodh Ruadh struggled to put their hand on the ball.
Then eight minutes in the visitors were four up after Niall Friel knocked over from close range when Aodh Ruadh failed to clear the danger.
The hosts opened their account 13 minutes in. A Nathan Boyle 45 dropped short and was fumbled in the Gaoth Dobhair area. Dylan Gallagher collected the loose ball and coolly smashed to the net.
Four minutes later Diarmaid McInerney kicked over a monster of a point from about 50 metres out to level matters.
However Gaoth Dobhair quickly hit back, working the ball neatly up the pitch where Niall Friel was on hand to dink over. The Gaeltacht men then turned the kick out and slipped through to Gavin McBride who tapped over a handy chance.
They piled on the pain for the Ernesiders then as Micheál Carroll and Sean Doherty hit points in quick succession, punishing the hosts for defensive errors.
But with five minutes in the half left Ballyshannon responded with a mini rally. First Damien Cleary won a Gaoth Dobhair kick out and the ball was worked right to Cian Dolan who sliced over a nice shot from the right. That was followed by another sky-scraping long range shot from Diarmaid McInerney to put two between them.
It was Mervyn O’Donnell’s men who were dominating though and they pushed for the line as half-time beckoned.
A close range Sean Doherty score was followed by a penalty for Gaoth Dobhair. Kevin Cassidy was clumsily upended for a penalty, but Micheál Carroll blazed his shot well wide of Peter Boyle’s left upright.
Unperturbed Gaoth Dobhair raided for the last two points of the half courtesy of James Carroll and Sean Doherty to go in leading on a scoreline of 1-3 to 0-11.
Aodh Ruadh had a few early goal chances in the second half and if they had gone in the final stages of this game might have been much more engaging fare.
The first chance came seconds into the new half when a rasping Cian Dolan shot drew an outstanding reaction save from Christopher Sweeney.
It was first blood to the visitors though, with Gavin McBride slipping over a close range free after Eamonn McGee was fouled. Gaoth Dobhair then turned the kick out and worked the ball through to McBride who fisted over his second score in a matter of seconds.
Aodh Ruadh got off the mark six minutes into the half when Nathan Boyle and Diarmaid McInerney combined to create a chance for David Dolan who did well to steer over a shot off the outside of the boot.
However James Carroll hits back with an immediate answering point.
Aodh Ruadh were starting to play some more composed football though and Diarmaid McInerney hoisted over after a good passage of play to make it 1-6 to 0-14.
Gaoth Dobhair’s scores were just coming easier though and again they responded instantly, indeed they were unlucky not to find the net. It took a magnificent save by Peter Boyle from a stinging Daire Ó Baoill shot at the cost of a point to deny a certain goal.
Diarmaid McInerney and Gavin McBride then swapped dead ball scores heading into the last ten minutes with Sean Doherty knocking over a leisurely shot to put seven between the sides.
With five left to play that margin was dramatically slashed when a cheeky Diarmaid McInerney shot from a 20 metre free was rifled into the bottom left of the net.
Gaoth Dobhair repaid that slight with interest, Sean Boyle landing a point before Eamon McGee hit the net after a driving run through the centre by Micheál Carroll.
Shortly after Jimmy White sounded the whistle on an eight point win for the Gaeltacht men. A much better second-half for Aodh Ruadh, but no disguising the fact that this was a comfortable win for the visitors.
Gavin McBride and Sean Doherty were great outlets all day for them up front for them, while Micheál Carroll was a robust presence in the middle of the field.
Diarmaid McInerney carried the flag bravely for Aodh Ruadh in the attack with Dylan Gallagher supplying good suport, while Damien Cleary worked hard around the centre of the pitch. Further back Peter Boyle’s kick outs were a real asset and he made a couple of top drawer stops.
Aodh Ruadh: Peter Boyle; Jonathan Gethins, Colm Kelly, Michael Ward; Jason Granaghan, Johnny Gallagher, Eddie Lynch; Conor Patton, Damien Cleary; Diarmaid McInerney (1-4, 1-1f), Darren Drummond, Cian Dolan (0-1); Nathan Boyle, David Dolan (0-2), Dylan Gallagher (1-0).
Subs: Shane McGrath for Cian Dolan 41m; Oisin Rooney for Darren Drummond 53m; Sean Taylor for Johnny Gallagher 56m; Niall Murray for Eddie Lynch 59m.
Gaoth Dobhair: Christopher Sweeney; Neasan McBride, Neil McGee, Christopher McFadden; Daire Ó Baoill (0-2), Niall Friel (0-3, 1f), Prionsias Gallagher; Peter McGee, Micheál Carroll (0-1); Cian Mulligan, Eamon McGee (1-0), Sean Doherty (0-4); James Carroll (0-2), Kevin Cassidy, Gavin McBride (0-5, 2f). Subs: Sean Boyle (0-1) for Cian Mulligan HT; James Boyle for James Carroll 51m.Tags: