Ardmore’s promotion hopes for 2012 disappeared in O’Cahan Park, Dungiven on Saturday when they were well beaten by Moneymore but, even in defeat, the Waterside showed a pride and determination that had been so badly missing in recent games.
When Ardmore manager William McLaughlin trooped off the same pitch the weekend before last he was not a happy man. Indeed it would be fair to say he was utterly disillusioned, not just at the defeat but even more so at the meek surrender of his players against Glack in the promotion play-off.
However, in the minutes immediately following this 11-point defeat against Moneymore, McLaughlin - while not exactly glowing with satisfaction - was far from down-heartened after a positive performance from his much-changed side.
“Today’s performance was the best performance we’ve had in the last four weeks,” explained the Ardmore manager.
“Some of the guys that played today do not usually start but they showed more effort than some of the so called first team players. I’m not happy with the result but I cannot find fault with the performance of any of the players.”
The Barton brothers, Jack and Shane, were the dominant partnership in the middle of the field for much of the game, although Chris Duddy, with help from Barry Gormley and Peter McLaughlin in the midfield diamond, did enjoy a period of control for stages. The Ardmore manager agreed the Barton brother’s role had been pivotal.
“Without doubt! You can tell that they have been at Intermediate level for a few years, even though they may have struggled this year, they have just that bit more know-how in there. And they have Paudie O’Neill in the full forward line. Whenever they isolated our full-back in the second half and got the ball into him, he did the damage. They were the better team.”
The Ardmore manager was particularly delighted that, even though Moneymore pulled away in the second half his players did not stop trying.
“That was one of the better things in today’s performance, that they did not drop the heads. Last week against Glack, from the first minute to the last, there was no fight. Today there were clear signs of a fight in the team. I was heartened by that.
“Hopefully next week in the Neal Carlin Cup final we might even go one better and actually win the match against Dolans.”
This was the Paudie O’Neill show, the strongly built full forward scored 2-07, a point more than the entire Ardmore team put together, with 2-06 coming from play. He created space, caught virtually every ball that fell within reach with his second goal a superbly back fisted effort that caught the Ardmore keeper, Eoin Mailey off-guard.
Credit to Ardmore who never gave up but their lack of pace, lower fitness levels and lack of cohesion meant that from the 7th minute they were struggling. They had been leading by 0-2 to 0-1 when O’Neill out-jumped Mailey to palm the ball to the net.
They trailed by 1-7 to 0-6 at the interval but any lingering chance they had was on the rocks when O’Neill hit 1-2 in the opening three minutes. It took Ardmore 13 minutes to get their first score of the second period and at that stage they were trailing by 12 points.
Moneymore scorers: Paudie O’Neill 2-07 (1f), Adrian Gavin 0-05f, Shane Barton and Gerard Diamond 0-02 each, Barry Doherty and Patrick Feeney 0-01 each
Ardmore scorers: ‘Al’ McLaughlin 0-06, (3f), Chris Duddy 1-00, Barry Gormley 0-02 and Peter Hargan 0-01
Moneymore: Stephen Barker, Terry O’Neill, Ryan Barker, Dean Kelly, Johnny Taylor, Paul Scullion, Barry Doherty, Shane Barton, Jack Barton, Adrian Gavin, Gerard Diamond, Mark O’Neill, Chris Marshall, Paudie O’Neill, Rory Young. (Subs) Patrick Feeney for C Marshall (33); Brian Marshall for P Scullion (47); Kevin Valelly for R Young (58)l Luke McMullan for B Doherty (59) .
Ardmore: Eoin Mailey, Gerard Quinn, Eoghan Dooher, Anthony Hargan, Ryan Storey, Peter McLaughlin, Chris Gormley, Gerard Storey, Chris Duddy, Barry Gormley, James Cruikshank, Peter Hargan, Kevin Hartop, Brendan McMenamin, Al McLaughlin. (Subs) Cahir O’Kane for K Hartop (42); Kevin Hartop for E Dooher (50)
Referee: Sean Hamill (Ballerin)