SHANE MCGRATH kicked the winning point as Aodh Ruadh came from six points down at half-time to pip Naomh Columba in an extra-time epic IFC semi-final in Fintra.
Aodh Ruadh 2-10 Naomh Columba 1-12 (aet)
It was a game of two halves – well four if truth be told and extra-time considered Aodh Ruadh needed a fourth quarter onslaught to draw level and force extra-time with Philip Patton and Oisin Rooney goaling to make it 2-8 to 1-11 at full-time.
Aaron Doherty of Naomh Columba and Nathan Boyle from Aodh Ruadh posted scores which meant it was still level at half-time in extra-time. Then, in a frenetic second period, McGrath edged his team in front and Cian Dolan was given a red card for a high tackle and Aodh Ruadh were down to 14.
Ryan Gillespie missed a 25-metre free to draw it and force penalties and was then sent off for a second yellow, while Philip Doherty was dismissed as well.
Naomh Columba would’ve had unpleasant flashbacks of last year when they blew a nine-point lead against St Naul’s, who went onto win the competition.
Pauric O’Donnell’s team had a huge wind at their backs in the first half and had to make as much hay as they could when the sun shone for them.
Gerry McGill was fortunate not to concede a goal when a Philip Patton effort came down off the upright and the Naomh Columba got away with one.
Ryan Gillespie, Eric Carr got the ball rolling, then frees from Aaron Doherty and a sublime Gillespie effort from the sideline made it 0-4 to 0-0 at the opening water-break.
Patton opened the Aodh Ruadh account on 17 minutes before Doherty and Ward, when he intercepted a pass and broke through only to drive over, made it 0-6 to 0-1.
The visitors were having to run the ball and although up against it, should really have grabbed a 28th minute goal when Diarmuid McInerney could only fist off the goalpost from five meters after a Nathan Boyle free had dropped short.
Naomh Columba’s Ryan Gillespie, with his third point, rounded off the first half scoring. His team had a decent advantage of 0-7 to 0-1 but knew well the second half would be an entirely different game.
Naomh Columba handled things well in the third quarter and maintained their six-point cushion, 0-10 to 0-4, with McGill in goal making a great save from Nathan Boyle, who was straight through.
However, on 46 minutes, the Aodh Ruadh goal finally arrived when Oisin Rooney finished well when a pass from McInerney fell into his path. Then, points from David Dolan and Cian Dolan meant the Ballyshannon team were just one down – 0-10 to 1-6 – with 12 to play.
Naomh Columba looked susceptible and if ever they needed a setter it was then and there. Ryan Gillespie scored a 50th minute goal from a fine Aaron Doherty pass and the side from Glen had a four-point lead, 1-10 to 1-6.
But Aodh Ruadh were not to be denied. Philip Patton scored a point and then a brilliant goal three minutes from time having been taken back into the fray. McInerney’s late free brought Barry Ward’s team level, 2-8 to 1-11 and force extra-time
Naomh Columba: Gerard McGill; Barry Carr, Philip Doherty, Kieran McBrearty; David O’Donnell (0-1), Michael McGuire, Páuric Ward (0-1); Finn Gallagher, Kevin McNern; Paddy Byrne (0-3, 3f), Aaron Doherty (0-3, 2f), Eric Carr (0-1); Ryan Gillespie (1-3, 2f), Christopher Byrne, Lanty Molloy. Subs: Philip McNern for Barry Carr (26), Ronan Gillespie for Lanty Molloy and Paul O Hare for David O Donnell (52), Lanty Molloy for Paddy Byrne (66),David O Donnell for Carr (70).
Aodh Ruadh: Peter Boyle; Conor Patton, Colm Kelly, Shane Gillespie; Michael McKenna, Eddie Lynch, Darren Drummond; Nathan Boyle (0-2, 45), Eamonn McGrath; Diarmuid McInerney (0-2/f), Philip Patton (1-3), Oisin Rooney (1-0); David Dolan (0-1), Donagh McIntyre, Shane McGrath (0-1). Subs ; Cian Dolan (0-1) for McIntyre (24), David McGurrin for Patton (36) , Johnny Gallagher for Gillespie (48), Patton for McKenna (52), McIntyre for McInerney (extra-time).
Referee: Connie Doherty (Naomh Conaoll).Tags: