It took Dromard quite some time to get going against Fr. Manning Gaels in the Leader Cup semi-final played in glorious weather conditions at Pairc na nGael on Sunday last but Enda Macken’s side gradually got on top.
Dromard recovered from the setback of conceding a goal in the 13th minute when Gaels corner-forward James Noonan pounced on the breaking ball to finish a first-time shot to the back of the net.
But it was Dromard who ended up holding a slender 0-8 to 1-4 lead at the break and their greater scoring power proved to be a decisive factor with all six forwards on target during the course of this entertaining encounter.
Declan Mimnagh was particularly prominent with four points and he was a constant threat whenever he received the ball while the main man for Fr. Manning Gaels was unquestionably James Noonan, who clocked up the impressive total of 1-8 (five frees).
The eight Dromard points in the first half came from Francis McGee (two frees), Ross McNerney (2), Peter Masterson, Declan Mimnagh, Jamsie Martin and Cian Mimnagh while on the mark for the Gaels were James Noonan (1-1), Diarmuid Cooney (2) and Mark Duffy.
The Drumlish/Ballinamuck side hardly deserved to be behind at the break but were guilty of kicking a few costly wides in the early stages of the second half whereas Dromard scored four vital points in quick succession through Declan Mimnagh, Francis McGee (2) and Cian Mimnagh.
The winners were able to consolidate a firm grip on the game thereafter in adding another 0-4 to their tally, and were unlucky not to score a goal late on when Cian Mimnagh hit the post. Several points from James Noonan kept the Gaels in contention and the same player had a good chance of snatching a last gasp equalising goal deep into stoppage time when he blasted the ball over the bar.
DROMARD: Damien Sheridan; Padraig McNerney, Niall Vance, David Pettit; Kevin Donohoe, Padraig Martin, Emmet Masterson; Diarmuid Masterson, Ronan McEntire; Jamsie Martin (0-1), Francis McGee (0-4, two frees), Ross McNerney (0-3, one free); Peter Masterson (0-1), Cian Mimnagh (0-3), Declan Mimnagh (0-4).
Subs:- Noel Reynolds for P McNerney (44 mins); Gavin McNerney for K Donohoe (57 mins).
FR. MANNING GAELS: Paddy Collum; Dylan Quinn, Cian Brady, Ciaran Cooney; Gary Connell, Aaron Quinn, Fergal Reilly; David Collum, Johnny Kane; Emmet Noonan, Darren Farrelly, Mark Duffy (0-1); Padraig Gill, Diarmuid Cooney (0-2), James Noonan (1-8, five points from frees).
Subs used in second half:- Podge Gill for G Connell and Darren Reilly for F Reilly.
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).