A strong second half performance saw Abbeylara win their opening game in Division 1 of the County Football League with six points to spare over Mostrim at Devine Park on Saturday evening last.
Playing with the strong wind in the first half, Mostrim will rue not taking advantage of the elements and they were dealt a blow at the break when Shane Kiernan had to be withdrawn due to injury.
It was senior county player Brian Farrell who opened the scoring for Mostrim straight from the throw-in. Minutes later they added another point to their tally when Shane Kiernan pointed a free but Abbeylara were level by the 8th minute with points from Jason Kelly (free) and Sean Berry. Berry’s effort could very well have been a goal only for a vital block by a Mostrim defender.
Mostrim restored their two point advantage in the 13th minute with another Shane Kiernan free and a fine point from Gerard Smith but Abbeylara were back on level terms by the 16th minute with points from Robbie Smyth and defender Colm P Smyth. Two minutes later Sean Murphy brought a good save out of Mostrim keeper Ciaran Garvey after a neat move.
Another Jason Kelly free put Abbeylara ahead for the first time in the 22nd minute and a good point from Robbie Smyth put two between the sides one minute later before Cillian Lynn (free) and an excellent Brian Farrell point levelled matters again by the 26th minute.
In the 27th minute Gerard Smith put Mostrim in the lead again as they went in at the break one ahead, 0-7 to 0-6. Seconds after the restart a fine Robbie Smyth point levelled the game again.
Then Cillian Lynn brought a save out of Abbeylara keeper Damien O’Connor in the 35th minute. Jason Kelly was on target from a free to edge Abbeylara ahead in the 36th minute before James McEntire fired over a fine effort to extend the advantage.
Brian Farrell’s ’45 cut the gap to just the minimum of margins in the 44th minute but Abbeylara then began to dominate the game with their defence on top; their midfield winning the breaks and their forwards putting pressure on the Mostrim backs.
A free from Robbie Smyth in the 46th minute put them two up before Jason Kelly scored two excellent points from play to stretch the lead to four by the 54th minute. It was all Abbeylara at this stage and Mostrim just could not get a way back into the game.
In the 56th minute Abbeylara extended their lead to seven points when James McEntire was taken down in the square with Jason Kelly stepping up to take the penalty which he duly converted for the only goal in the game.
Mostrim tried hard in the closing stages but the best they could do was a consolation point in the final minute from corner-back Aaron Gallagher as Abbeylara ran out comfortable winners.
MOSTRIM: Ciaran Garvey; Cathal Smith, John Coyle, Aaron Gallagher (0-1); Darren Bloomer, Michael Kenny, Luke Kelly; Fintan Coyle, Brian Farrell (0-3, 1’45); Shane Kiernan (0-2, 2 frees), Johnny Murphy, Gerard Smith (0-2); Cillian Lynn (0-1, free), Ciaran Gallagher, Joseph Dempsey.
Subs:- Alan O’Hara for Darren Bloomer (half-time); Michael Hussey for S Kiernan (half-time), Paddy Smith for J Murphy (48 mins); Brian Smith for J Dempsey (56 mins).
ABBEYLARA: Damien O’Connor; Anthony McBrien, Colm P Smyth (0-1), Brian Smyth; Michael McHugh, Shane Mahon, Colm Dalton; Fergal Battrim, Jason Kelly (1-5, 3 frees); Cormac Smyth, James McEntire (0-1), Mickey O’Connor; Robbie Smyth (0-4, 1 free), Sean Berry (0-1), Sean Murphy.
Sub:- Derek Smyth for M O’Connor (46 mins).
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).