Crucial goals from Mark McDonnell, Marty Mulvey (penalty) and Jonathan Keegan got Carrickedmond through to the Intermediate Football Championship semi-final as they scored a slender win over Ardagh in a poor game at Leo Casey Park in Ballymahon on Saturday evening last.
Forced to field without suspended centre-half-back Gerard Farrell and injured forward Shane Henry, things continued to go wrong for St. Patrick’s in this make or break Round 3 clash as two of their most experienced players Seamus Shortt and Enda Gillen had to be taken off in the closing stages when the sides were all square, 0-9 to 2-3.
Injuries sustained by midfielder Shortt and full-back Gillen proved a bad blow for Ardagh who conceded a third goal in the 57th minute when Jonathan Keegan directed the ball into the net from a tight angle following a well worked move. And it got worse for St. Patrick’s as defender Brian Farrell was sent-off in the 59th minute after receiving a second yellow card.
There was a glimmer of hope for Ardagh when their chief marksman Paddy Ganley converted a free for his ninth point and after a dipping shot from Carrickedmond full-forward Marty Mulvey hit the crossbar, there was still time for a late, late twist.
St. Patrick’s might have grabbed a dramatic winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time when a Ganley free dropped short close to the line but the danger was cleared as lucky Carrickedmond held out for a vital win and they will have to improve considerably if they are to regain the Gerry Hennessy Cup they last captured in 2010.
Carrick squandered a few handy frees during the course of this tight contest and failed to register a single point in a second half struggle. Thanks to a goal from Mark McDonnell in the 5th minute of the first half who followed up to finish the rebound over the line after hitting the crossbar, the winners held a narrow 1-3 to 0-5 lead at the break with their points coming from John O’Shea, McDonnell and Padraig O’Shea.
Four of the Ardagh scores in the first half were from frees converted by Paddy Ganley while Danny Keenan also shot over the bar. St. Patrick’s made a promising start to the second half with the accurate Ganley firing over three more frees but Carrickedmond were back in front when Marty Mulvey got a goal in making no mistake from a penalty in the 49th minute.
Soon after Paddy Ganley found the room to fire over a well struck from play to level matters but Carrickedmond then enjoyed a decisive dominant spell with Jonathan Keegan having a goal attempt blocked down before he eventually found the back of the Ardagh net to clinch a hard earned victory. CARRICKEDMOND: Gareth Higgins; Tommy Martin, Barry O’Farrell, James Murray; Padraig McGrath, Kevin Moran, John Gerety; Barry Stewart, John O’Shea (0-1); Jonathan Keegan (1-0), Tommy Cummins, John Lenehan; Padraig O’Shea (0-1), Marty Mulvey (1-0, penalty), Mark McDonnell (1-1). Sub:- Francis Kelly for M McDonnell (58 mins). ARDAGH ST. PATRICK’S: Michael Lenehan; Brian Farrell, Enda Gillen, Shane McGlynn; Ciaran Kelly, Shane Powell, Kevin Leavy; Frank Galvin, Seamus Shortt; Philip Gillen, Paddy Keenan, Padraig Keegan; Paddy Ganley (0-9, eight frees), Danny Keenan (0-1), Killian Farrell. Subs:- Emmet Donlon for E Gillen (injured, 52 mins); David McGoey for S Shortt (injured, 52 mins). Referee: John Hughes (Killoe Young Emmets).