Ardara are the new Southern Regional U14 champions after they disposed of Aodh Ruadh in Donegal town yesterday evening.
Ardara 4-11 Aodh Ruadh 2-3
By Frank Craig, Ardara PRO
It’s a footballing cliché but it is true to say that the scoreline didn’t accurately reflect the balance of action in Tir Chonaill Park. Over the hour, Ardara stopper Matthew McGlynn made five serious stops to deny the Ballyshannon cubs what looked like certain goals.
Aodh Ruadh also had to field without one of their main men, Senan Rooney, who was hampered in the lead-up through injury. With Ardara out of the blocks in purposeful fashion, the Ballyshannon management had to spring Rooney from the sidelines as early as the 25th minute as the Pearse Park men raced into a 1-7 to 1-1 lead.
Seconds in, McGlynn denied Aodh Ruadh an opening three-pointer when Eugene Doherty’s drive was beaten away. The energetic Daryl Maguire kicked the opening score of the game up the other end but Shane Brady quickly cancelled that out.
Maguire and the excellent Paul Walsh – who finished with eight overs to his name – added subsequent points as Ardara went 0-3 to 0-1 clear. The South West lads stole a real march on 12 minutes when Joe Kittrick, who was a real bundle of energy in the full-forward line, clipped home the first of four Ardara goals.
Aodh Ruadh responded in fine fashion when Harry Howarth seemed to get the decisive touch in a busy area after Brady’s effort had dropped down off the crossbar.
However, a storming second quarter, where Ardara pegged on 1-5 and conceded just a single point, put the side in green and gold in a great position at the change over.
In between, McGlynn twice turned away strikes from Nathan Owens/Kelly with spectacular interventions. Replacement Rooney, who looked a real talent despite carrying a knock, also watched a drive cannon off the woodwork.
Ardara’s economy was typified in the manner in which points were sailed over by Walsh (0-4,3f) and CJ Laverty. Aodh Ruadh had the final say of the opening period through Brady.
Ardara got the new half off to the perfect start when Maguire hammered to the back of the net after he had broke away from the throw-in. Walsh, with that trusty right wand, boomed over another free to move his side to 3-9.
When Rooney did finally manage to beat McGlynn the woodwork intervened as Aodh Ruadh remained luckless in front of the posts. Walsh added another from a dead ball before McGlynn again got a final hand to another stinging arrow from Rooney that had seemed destined for the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Brady was next to look to find the onion bag but again McGlynn stood firm. Rooney nailed a point but there was an instant reply for Ardara from Walsh.
Before the end, Eugene Doherty smacked a post for Ballyshannon before sub Jake Foley eventually slapped home a second Aodh Ruadh goal. Ardara though had the last word when Kittrick deservingly added a second goal right at the death to seal a fine win for Ardara.
Aodh Ruadh battled hard throughout and will know that they aren’t as far off the pace as the scoreboard suggested. For the winners, they’ll need to offer stopper and Man of the Match Mathew McGlynn much more protection going forward if they are to make any dent in this season’s County Championship.
Ardara: Mathew McGlynn; Shaun McConnelll, Shuan White, Lavente Takcaz; CJ Laverty (0-1), Charlie Kennedy, Shane McHugh; Daryl Maguire (2-2), Liam McShane; Daniel McHugh, Kyle McCole, Niall McMenamin; Joe Kittrick (2-0), Paul Walsh (0-8, 4f, 1 ‘35), Shane Mooney. Subs used: Hugh Boyle, Proinsias Molloy, Conor McNelis, Adam Spense, David McCloskey.
Aodh Ruadh: Matt Gillespie; Dáire Gallagher, Kyle Murray, Colm McGloin; Dáire Warren, Mark McGlynn, Callum Doherty-Craig; Eugene Doherty, Nathan Owens-Kelly; Harry Howarth (1-0), Cian Barden, Cian Rooney; Francis McGinty, Shane Brady (0-2), Kyle McCaffrey. Subs used: Senan Rooney (0-1), Mitchell McLaughlin, Jake Foley (1-0), Declan Breslin, Shane Duffy, Conall Bradshaw.
Referee: Declan Callaghan.