St Mary’s Granard made a winning start to their Division 1 league campaign with a deserved win over Colmcille at McGee Park on Saturday evening last.
It was an assured performance from Niall Sheridan’s side who played some lovely football throughout the game. It was a tough encounter and both sides didn’t finish with their full teams; Colmcille duo John Paul Reilly and Ciaran Brady were sent-off while Granard substitute Bernard Clyne was only on minutes when he was dismissed for reacting to a foul on Derek Sheridan.
Colmcille had the upper hand on Granard last year; beating them in the league and winning well in their opening championship game but they came up against a different St Mary’s side on this occasion.
Granard made the perfect start and registered the first four scores with Liam Sullivan very much to the fore. He kicked over two fine points before the very impressive Darren Gallagher opened his account with a pointed free. A nice move ended with Derek Sheridan firing over Granard’s fourth point in the 11th minute.
Completely against the run of play Colmcille (with Gowna clubman Ciaran Brady back for a second stint as manager) replied with a point from Paul McKeon and a goal from Declan Farrell but in between they suffered the setback of losing Barry McKeon through injury.
Granard’s response was terrific; Liam Sullivan was fouled in the 17th minute and Darren Gallagher pointed the free. Sullivan then got his third point minutes later before Gallagher converted two more frees to leave the visitors leading by 0-8 to 1-1 at the break.
With just seconds gone on the changover, Paul McKeon cut the gap to three with a fine point. Liam O’Rourke replied with a lovely score for St Mary’s but minutes later Colmcille closed the gap to the minimum of margins when Fergal Sheridan’s long ball in was flicked to the net by Paul McKeon.
Granard hit back with a lovely fisted point from Darren Gallagher and with Alan Neilon excellent in defence for the blues, Colmcille found it hard to get scores.
A pointed free from Liam O’Rourke put Granard ahead by three in the 42nd minute. John Paul Reilly was then on target with a free for Colmcille but minutes later he was sent-off after an altercation with the linesman.
In the 54th minute Granard got a crucial goal; Darren Gallagher picked up the ball and made a great run before passing to Derek Sheridan who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
There was drama in the final minutes when first Granard substitute Kevin McGauran was shown a black card. His replacement Bernard Clyne didn’t last too long, reacting to an incident in which Derek Sheridan ended up injured and Colmcille full-back Ciaran Brady was shown a straight red card in this incident.
Colmcille converted a free in stoppage time but Granard had already done enough to seal the victory.
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Gary Murtagh, Ciaran Brady, Padraig Murtagh; Francis Kavanagh, Cormac Hughes, Noel Farrell; Enda Macken, Fergal Sheridan; Niall Farley, Vinny Hourican, John Paul Reilly (0-1, free); Paul McKeon (1-3, 1 free), Barry McKeon, Declan Farrell (1-0).
Subs:- Enda Farrell for B McKeon (injured, 14 mins); Anthony Gormley for N Farley (41 mins); Martin Mulligan for F Kavanagh (38 mins); Gerry Mulligan for P Murtagh (46 mins); Darren Mulligan for V Hourican (60 mins).
ST MARY’S GRANARD: Dessie Kiernan; Jody Connolly, Thomas Gallagher, Vinny Nally; Paul Smyth, Alan Neilon, Mark Tully; Fergus Kelly, Liam O’Rourke (0-2, 1 free); David Hynes, Brian Sheridan, Darren Gallagher (0-5, 4 frees); Declan Hynes, Derek Sheridan (1-1), Liam Sullivan (0-3).
Subs:- Charlie Martin for David Hynes (37 mins); Kevin McGauran for F Kelly (48 mins); James Hynes for L Sullivan (injured, 50 mins); Bernard Clyne for K McGauran (black card, 59 mins).
Referee: John Hughes
(Killoe Emmet Og).