Sitting on a two-goal lead with 15 minutes left to play Aodh Ruadh looked to be coasting to the win in this clash with Buncrana in Father Tierney Park on Saturday afternoon.
Aodh Ruadh 3-8 Buncrana 0-13
Report: John Hughes, AodhRuadh.org
However, Erneside talisman Diarmaid McInerney pulled up with an injury and after that the hosts had to ride their luck for the win, Buncrana left to curse a slew of squandered opportunities.
Aodh Ruadh were first off the mark with Diarmaid McInerney pointing from close range after a slick exchange of passes from the throw in.
However three minutes later Buncrana could have hit back with some style when Adrian O’Donnell feds David Bell, but the Scarvey attacker slammed his goal shot off the cross bar. To add insult to injury the hosts went straight up the pitch and Eamonn McGrath sold a great dummy before sending over a lovely score.
Diarmaid McInerney extended Ballyshannon’s lead to a goal with a free from the left wing as the homesters continued to dominate.
Indeed the game was ticking into the second quarter before the visitors first score arrived, Noel McLaughlin pumping over from mid range.
Again Aodh Ruadh answered immediately, David Dolan doing well to guide over under pressure
However, if the hosts owned the first quarter, the visitors won the second. That hegemony began when and Oisin Doherty shot just about dropped just over the cross bar. Then Buncrana won kick out and Odhran Doherty swung over a fine point.
Aodh Ruadh kept their noses in front with a well executed Diarmaid McInerney free from 30 metres.
Buncrana continued to threaten though and when Oisin Doherty sent Kevin Treacy through goal seemed inevitable, but his shot could only find the side netting.
Ballyshannon’s impressive attacking economy continued to serve them well, Seamus Kane holding the ball up bravely for Damien Cleary who came up in support to take possession and arrow over a handsome effort and make it double scores.
But Buncrana finally made all their possession count as the half wound to a close notching off a decent shot from Oisin O’Flaherty and an Oisin Doherty free with the last kick of the half to send the sides in at Aodh Ruadh 0-6 Buncrana 0-5.
Once again Ballyshannon started the half with style. This time a brilliant McInerney pass picked out David Dolan and he smashed home an unstoppable effort into the top left corner for the game’s first goal.
Then came one of the best goals this writer has ever seen scored in Father Tierney park. Glorious build-up work featuring Seamus Kane and Philip Patton was matched by a divine finish by Diarmaid McInerney to send Aodh Ruadh into a seven point lead. It was sublime football.
Andrew Doherty steadied the ship somewhat for the Scarvey men, firing over a good point.
However Aodh Ruadh were in the groove now and David McGurrin sent over a quality response after more lovely build up play
It was at this point that Ballyshannon lost McInerney, and from there to final whistle it was to prove a rearguard action.
Buncrana started cutting into the lead with a fine score from the right wing by Odhran Doherty
Seamus Kane managed to cancel that out with a marvellous lofted point, but Buncrana were well on the hunt now and struck back with a great effort from Kevin Treacy.
With ten minutes left Odhran Doherty sent over after a give and go from a free and then two Oisin Doherty scores, one free and one from play, put just a goal between the sides with four minutes left to play.
When Kevin Treacy landed a free the anxiety was palpable in Father Tierney, with Aodh Ruadh clinging on for dear life while Buncrana hit some awful wides.
Then with a minute left to play, Aodh Ruadh copped the break their quality over the course of the game probably deserved. A quick free from David McGurrin caught Buncrana napping and was worked to David Dolan who arrowed in a laser guided shot to the bottom right corner to secure the victory.
Noel McLaughlin clawed back a point for the visitors, but Ballyshannon had just about done enough to claim the win.
Best for the hosts were the irrepressible Diarmaid McInerney, Seamus Kane who was a great outlet up front and the ever menacing David Dolan. Elsewhere it was another sound outing form Michael Ward at corner back while Damien Cleary and Calum O’Halloran were well on top of their men.
Aodh Ruadh: Karl O’Brien; Michael Ward, Damien Cleary (0-1), Callum O’Halloran; Niall Harley, Niall Murray, Johnny Gethins; Conor Patton, Eamonn McGrath (0-1); David McGurrin (0-1), Diarmaid McInerney (1-3, 2f), Ryan McKenna; Philip Patton, David Dolan (2-1), Seamus Kane (0-1). Subs: JJ Cassidy for Eamonn McGrath (half-time); Kerry Ryan for Diarmaid McInerney (45).
Buncrana: Sean Parker; Andrew Doherty (0-1), William McLaughlin, Mickey Gallagher; Noel McLaughlin (0-2), Garbhan Friel, Aedan Stokes; Peter McLaughlin, Kevin O’Loughlin; Odhran Doherty (0-3), David Bell, Oisin O’Flaherty (0-1); Adrian Doherty, Oisin Doherty (0-4, 2f), Kevin Treacy (0-2, 1f). Subs: Adrian McColgan for David Bell (43), John Doherty for Andrew Doherty (48).Tags: