Ardara overcome Glenswilly but injury doubt over Paddy McGrath

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ARDARA PUT THEIR League form to one side in impressive fashion to grind out an important Championship win against Glenswilly in Pearse Memorial Park this afternoon.

Ardara 0-8 Glenswilly 0-6

By Frank Craig, PRO

The big talking point afterwards was Paddy McGrath not appearing after the break after he shipped a heavy knock just before the short whistle. Michael Murphy, was in the wars, moving awkwardly after a hard collision, also in the first period.

Photo caption: Action from today’s Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC first round clash between Ardara and Glenswilly at Pearse Memorial Park this afternoon. Photo: Geraldine Diver

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Rory Gallagher will no doubt be anxious to find out the condition of both men with Donegal’s Ulster SFC opener looming on June 12.

Back in Kentucky and it was Ardara’s directness and ability to bring that physicality through the middle channel in the first period, where they had most of their success in what was otherwise a scrappy opening act.

On two minutes, Brendan McNelis’ powerful run was illegally halted and that allowed the big midfielder to kick the opening score of the game from in-and-around the 30-metre mark.

Almost from the off, there was plenty of bite in this one with a number of individual scores from a bruising All-County League encounter earlier in the season keen to be settled.

CJ Molloy was next to test the Glen centre and his barge again won a placed ball in an attractive position. Gareth Concarr elected to work the ball across to the better placed Jimmy O’Connell but his slice just tailed wide at the vital moment.

Andrew Mullin really had his hands full here. He dished out four bookings to the visitors in the first-half as James Pat McDaid, Caoimhin Marely, Keelan McFadden and Leon Kelly all went into the notebook.

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Ardara certainly weren’t choirboys either and they lost Nicolas Breslin to a black card which meant an earlier than expected appearance for teenager Jack Brennan. Seamus Gallagher’s side went two to the good on 12 minutes thanks to another dead ball through Concarr, again won by McNelis’ determination to make yards in the final third.

In between, the sight of Michael Murphy receiving lengthy treatment after shipping a heavy knock was a worry – instantly for Glenswilly – but also for all Tir Chonaill supporters along the wire.

Despite continuing to move gingerly, he remained on the field of play for the entire remainder.

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Michael Canning’s men were finally off the mark on 21 minutes thanks to a Gary McFadden free. The visiting boss also sprung former county man Ciaran Bonner into the mix in a bid to wrestle back some control around the middle.

Right before the end there was real cause for concern for Ardara, and Donegal again, when Paddy McGrath was crudely upended near the touchline. He eventually picked himself up but failed to appear for the second-half. Ardara were 0-3 to 0-2 up at the break.

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Ardara took a real grip on matters following the restart with four overs on the bounce moving them out to a commanding 0-7 to 0-2 lead. With O’Connell wining a free for McNelis to split the posts, Ardara went two up.

A brilliant cut from the extreme right hand side by full-back Declan Gavigan then had those in green and gold along the perimeter buzzing. Things continued to improve for an energetic Ardara when substitute Stefan Boyle, just seconds into the mix, made it a five-point game approaching the final quarter.

At that stage, it looked like Ardara were almost out the gate. Glenswilly had other ideas. They hammered over three points of their own, on the trot, to reel the home side back to within two points with five minutes of normal time still to play.

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Both Kelly brothers, Leon and Caolan, and James Pat McDaid were the men doing the damage there. Credit to Ardara though, they refused to fold and a steadying over from Concarr, after Jack Brennan cutely coaxed the free out of his marker, allowed Ardara to end what was, by that stage, a 17-minute scoring baron spell.

Before the end, where six minutes of added time was played, Glenswilly had penalty appeals waved away inside a crowded area. From a drop kicked free, Murphy blazed high and topside of the bar. With that, it was all over.

With Bundoran well beaten in Rosses Park in the other contest in this section, It’s Ardara and Dungloe that sit top of the pile in Group A.

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Ardara: Cathal Gallagher; Nicholas Breslin, Declan Gavigan, Kevin Breslin; Johnny Herron, Paddy McGrath, Kennety Doherty; Conor Classon, Jimmy O’Connell; Brendan McNelis (0-3,2f), Ryan Malley, CJ Molloy; Nicholas Maguire, Gareth Concar,R (0-4,2f) Kevin Herron. Subs: Jack Brennan for N Breslin (BC, 15mins), Lorcan O’Donnell for P McGrath (ht), Stefan Boyle for J O’Connell (41), Joe Melly for L O’Donnell (58).

Glenswilly: James Gallagher; Cormac Callaghan, Eamon Ward, Aidan McDevitt; Oisin Crawford, James Pat McDaid (0-1), Cathal Gallagher; Leon Kelly (0-1), Gary McFadden (0-2,2f); Caoimhín Marley. Keelan McFadden, Joe Gibbons; Christopher McMonagle, Michael Murphy (0-1), Darren McGinley. Subs: Ciaran Bonner for C McMonagle (20), Caolan Kelly (0-1) for A McDevitt (ht), Christopher McMonagle for K McFadden (41), Ryan Diver for C Gallagher (43), Ethan McGinley for D McGinley (59)

Referee: Andrew Mullin (Killybegs).  

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