It took Colmcille quite some time to assert their superiority over Fr Manning Gaels but they gradually got on top in the second half to pull away for a comfortable victory in the Senior Football Championship Round 2 clash at Pairc na nGael, Dromard on Saturday evening last.
At the end of a very poor first half, the neighbouring rivals were deadlocked at four points apiece and the Drumlish/Ballinamuck outfit almost hit the front in stoppage time when Emmet Noonan blasted a shot high against the upright when a goal was there for the taking.
Having said that, it took a fine point-blank save from the Gaels keeper Paddy Collum to keep out a shot from John Paul Reilly in the 26th minute but Colmcille, overcoming the setback of losing the injured Paul McKeon after only 12 minutes, went on to completely dominate the second half.
The absence of the injured Padraig Gill was a big blow for the losers, who struggled for scores throughout the game, but at least they were competitive in the first half with their scores coming from Paddy Collum (‘45), Ronan Corr, Emmet Noonan and Fergal Reilly.
John Paul Reilly, wing back Padraig Murtagh, Darren Mulligan and Cathal Reilly were on target for Ciaran Brady’s side who got their act together on the changeover with the introduction of county minor Cathal McCabe injecting some badly needed urgency into the attack.
Six points in a row more or less settled the issue, three from Barry McKeon (two frees), while John Paul Reilly (free), Darren Mulligan and Fergal Sheridan were also on the mark to open up a significant gap by the 44th minute.
Whatever hopes the Gaels had of staging a dramatic comeback were dashed when a weak effort from Emmet Noonan was cleared off the line by opposing defender Noel Farrell in the 47th minute, although a point quickly followed from substitute Podge Gill.
But Colmcille regained the upper hand to fire over three more points, the first from another county minor Ruairi Harkin and then a brace of scores from play by the influential Barry McKeon to put the issue beyond all doubt.
Eoin Keane got a couple of late consolation points for the Gaels from frees but Colmcille were not finished yet. After substitute Ruairi Harkin landed his second score, another promising youngster Cathal McCabe cut in from the right to create a goal for Darren Mulligan who flicked the ball to the net in the 59th minute.
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Gerry Mulligan, Ciaran Brady, Enda Macken; Padraig Murtagh (0-1), Noel Farrell, Cormac Hughes; Declan Reilly, Fergal Sheridan (0-1); Anthony Gormley, Barry McKeon (0-5, two frees), John Paul Reilly (0-2, one free); Paul McKeon, Cathal Reilly (0-1), Niall Farrelly.
Subs:- Darren Mulligan (1-2) for P McKeon (injured, 12 mins); Cathal McCabe for N Farrelly (half-time); Ruairi Harkin (0-2) for A Gormley (49 mins); Declan Farrell for C Reilly (54 mins); Gary Murtagh for P Murtagh (57 mins); Niall Brady for F Sheridan (59 mins).
FR MANNING GAELS: Paddy Collum (0-1, ‘45’); Ciaran Cooney, Cian Brady, Leon McKeown; Michael Kelly, Aaron Quinn, Dylan Quinn; David Collum, Johnny Kane; Emmet Noonan (0-1), Darren Farrelly, Eoin Keane (0-2, frees); Diarmuid Cooney, Fergal Reilly (0-1), Ronan Corr (0-1).
Subs:- Mark Duffy for C Cooney (28 mins); Podge Gill (0-1) for R Corr (40 mins); Nigel Kiernan for D Farrelly.
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).