Goals from the Smyth brothers Barry and Brian in the early stages of the game proved so decisive in the comfortable win for Abbeylara over Fr. Manning Gaels in Round 1 of the Senior Football Championship at Allen Park in Newtownforbes on Saturday evening last.
After William Crawford almost found the back of the net with a first-time shot, Brian Smyth then weaved his way through a very slack Gaels defence to fire home the opening goal in the 3rd minute and soon after Barry Smyth hit the target.
Eamon Gallagher broke the ball down into the path of Barry who made no mistake for the second goal in the 7th minute and the same player then landed a couple of cracking points before a further brace of scores through Brian Smyth and Crawford left Abbey in a very commanding 2-5 to 0-0 lead.
The Drumlish/Ballinamuck side were in complete disarray but after eventually getting their first score in the 20th minute when James Noonan converted a free, another two points followed from Mark Duffy and Padraig Gill to close the gap.
The Gaels were guilty of kicking a few bad wides and were always fighting a losing battle despite a determined bid to get back into contention on the changeover.
Abbeylara were 2-5 to 0-3 in front at the break and extended their advantage when Jason Kelly fired over a couple of frees. Paddy Collum then had a great chance of scoring a badly needed goal for the Gaels in the 35th minute but his shot was blocked down and Abbeylara just done enough thereafter to consolidate their grip on the game after conceding four points in a row, three frees from James Noonan with Padraig Gill also on target.
ABBEYLARA: Damien O’Connor; Cormac Smyth, Colm P Smyth, Anthony McBrien; James McEntire (0-1), Fergal Battrim, Arthur O’Connor; Derek Smith, Jason Kelly (0-3, frees); Eamon Gallagher, Barry Smyth (1-2), Colm Dalton; Michael McHugh, Brian Smyth (1-1), William Crawford (0-2).
Subs:- Colm E Smyth for M McHugh (injured, half-time); Shane Mahon for Cormac Smyth (37 mins); Michael O’Connor for D Smith (48 mins); Sean Murphy (0-1) for W Crawford (54 mins); Nigel Rabbitte for Barry Smyth (59 mins).
FR. MANNING GAELS: Aidan Gray; Michael Kiernan, Brian Collum, Dylan Quinn; Ciaran Cooney, Fergal Reilly, Mark Duffy (0-1); Johnny Kane, Kevin Whelan; Martin Cassidy, Padraig Gill (0-2), David Cassidy; James Noonan (0-4, all frees), Paddy Collum, Darren Farrelly.
Subs:- John Paul Farrelly for M Cassidy (23 mins); Emmet Noonan for D Cassidy (half-time); David Collum for K Whelan (40 mins); Podge Gill for P Collum (48 mins).
Referee: Ger Carberry (Killoe Emmet Og).