Ardee 3-14 Dundalk Gaels 1-06
After finishing the Division two league campaign with back to back wins and securing a relegation/promotion playoff against the Dreadnots, The Gaels travelled to The Grove, Castlebellingham to take on one of the favourites for Joe Ward - Ardee St Marys in their Anchor Tours Senior championship opener. Coming off a commanding win in group four the previous Sunday against the Joes, Ardee took control of the early stages opening the scoring in the second minute with a well worked point. Gaels with key players missing set up with a defensive shape getting bodies behind the ball to try and stifle the the dynamic Ardee attack. Ardee led 1-3 to 0-0 after the first quarter, two fine points and a goal, with a hint of square ball palmed to the net after eight minutes. When Gaels did get the ball forward, with out any runners supporting the ball our only real efforts at this point where from range or acute angles. Sandwiched between two Ardee points, Thomas O'Connell found the net for Gaels on 21 minutes, after good approach play from Sean McCann, James O'Connell and Dylan McKeown. Gary Shevlin then kicked a fine point after James O'Connell and James Stewart combined, Shevlin made the run from deep before splitting the posts. Ardee received a black card right before the half time whistle, with the Gaels trailing 1-5 to 1-1 at the break.
Returning for the second half with a man advantage for ten minutes and still well in the game, Gaels got on top in the first couple of minutes but couldn't convert any of their chances which proved very costly. Ardee got the first point of the half, followed by a poor turnover which lead to a goal and suddenly the game was going away from Gaels, another Ardee point extended the lead to 2-7 to 1-1 before they returned to a full compliment of players. Ardee kicked another two points, followed by another avoidable goal on 45 minutes, when David McComish and the full forward contested a high ball 30 yards from goal, the ball went in behind we had three players around the ball as the Ardee forward toe poked it home. Dylan McKeown kicked a free on 17 minutes our first score of the second half. Ardee with the next two points before Jason Clarke kicked a nice point with the outside of his boot. Thomas O'Connell and two McKeown frees cancelled out three Ardee points in the closing stages leaving the final score Ardee 3-14 Gaels 1-06. Our second group game takes place on Monday 5th of September with a change of venue to the Clans.
Team: Micheal Lambert, Eamonn Kenny, David McComish, Paul McCrave, James O'Connell, James Stewart, Kyle Rafferty, Sean McCann, Jordan Keating, Luke Murray, Gary Shevlin (0-1), Andrew Curley, Jason Clarke (0-1) Thomas O'Connell (1-1), Dylan McKeown (0-3 , 3 F),
Subs : Chris Sweeney for Andrew Curley, John O'Hare for Luke MurrayJames