While the comfortable margin of nine points separated the sides in the finish, Dromard had to work hard in eventually getting the better of Intermediate opponents Cashel in the Division 1 league clash at Pairc Chiaran on Friday night last.
Crucial goals clinch the win for the north Longford outfit, minus the services of key players Francis McGee, Cian Mimnagh, Ross McNerney and Damien Sheridan who were all out injured for this game played in bitterly cold winter like conditions at the excellent Newtowncashel grounds.
Dromard appeared to be well in control when they led by 3-3 to 0-6 at the break, the opening goal coming from midfielder Diarmuid Masterson as early as the 2nd minute while Declan Mimnagh (22 mins) and Ronan McEntire (penalty, 30 mins) also found the back of the net.
Masterson, Mimnagh and McEntire all figured prominently for Enda Macken’s side but Cashel, to their credit, showed a lot of spirit in battling back to cut the gap to just a solitary point midway through the second half.
County minor Ronan Healy and Longford senior Ronan McEntire exchanged scores early on the changeover before the home side went on to enjoy a dominant spell that yielded 1-2 without reply.
Keith Carberry got the goal in the 39th minute after getting his fist to a Ger Dennigan centre and these two players fired over a point apiece (both from play) to get Cashel right back into contention but they failed to register another score during the remainder of the game.
In between, Jamsie Martin had a goal attempt saved by opposing keeper Shane Bannon and then Declan Mimnagh eased the pressure on Dromard when he converted a well struck free in the 45th minute.
Cashel then suffered a severe setback when Mimnagh chipped the ball over the head of advancing Cashel netminder Bannon into the path of the inrushing Padraig Martin who finished to the net in the 48th minute and a brief fracas followed which was soon brought under control by referee Donal Kane who sorted it out with yellow cards.
Declan Mimnagh scored a fifth goal for Dromard in the 54th minute and just for good measure Jamsie Martin landed a point to leave the visitors in a clear lead with time running out.
With Donal Ledwith (Abbeylara) no longer in charge, the new manager of Cashel is none other than Martin Skelly and he will have been pleased with certain aspects of a determined display - shooting ten scores against eleven for Dromard.
Cashel clocked up six points in the first half through Aidan Rowan, Ronan Healy (‘45), Ger Dennigan (three frees) and Gavin Kelly to lead by 0-6 to 1-2 at one stage with Diarmuid Masterson, Ronan McEntire and Declan Mimnagh getting the Dromard scores.
Already without Gary Kenny who has departed to the United States for the summer months, the Cashel cause was certainly not helped when centre-half-back Padraig Farrell was forced to retire injured in the 14th minute.
But with 22 minutes gone the ‘red and black’ were ahead by the minimum of margins, only to be undone by a Declan Mimnagh goal and Dromard increased their advantage with a point and then a goal from a penalty converted by Ronan McEntire on the stroke of half-time.
That left Cashel facing a real uphill battle in the second half and while they showed a lot of character to stage a gutsy comeback, Dromard then stepped up another gear with Diarmuid Masterson driving his side on to a convincing victory in the end.
CASHEL: Shane Bannon; Shane Muldoon, Ronan Muldoon, Ciaran Killian; Mel Farrell, Padraig Farrell, Conan Casey; James Rowan, Andrew Farrell; Gavin Kelly (0-1), Aidan Rowan (0-1), Niall Casserly; Ronan Healy (0-2, one ‘45), Ger Dennigan (0-4, three frees), Keith Carberry (1-1).
Subs:- Luke Casey for P Farrell (injured, 14 mins); Mark Murtagh for C Casey (57 mins).
DROMARD: Gavin McNerney; Peter Masterson, John Sheridan, Paul McGee; Enda Kiernan, David Pettit, Niall Vance; Diarmuid Masterson (1-0), Ronan McEntire (1-3, goal from penalty); James Mimnagh, Emmet Masterson, Bernard Sheridan; Jamsie Martin (0-1), Declan Mimnagh (2-2, one point from free), Padraig Martin (1-0).
Subs:- Michael Reilly for D Mimnagh (57 mins); Conor Duffy for E Masterson (59 mins).
Referee: Donal Kane (Young Grattans).