Colm Flynn was in great scoring form, clocking up the impressive total of 2-9 (seven frees),as Ballymahon bounced back from defeats against Abbeylara and Dromard to score a most emphatic victory over Fr Manning Gaels in Round 3 of the Senior Football Championship.
A sparse attendance of less than 100 gathered at Maguire Park in Ballinalee on Friday evening last to watch the action unfold and while the Gaels got off to a great start to lead by 1-2 to 0-1, it was very poor stuff thereafter from the disappointing Drumlish/Ballinamuck outfit.
The Gaels goal came from a well struck Paddy Collum penalty in the 11th minute but Ballymahon, inspired by a John Nevin goal in the 14th minute, then took over and ended up holding a comfortable 2-8 to 1-5 lead at half-time with Nevin and Kevin Diffley getting a point apiece.
Colm Flynn fired home the crucial second goal just before the break to bring his first half tally to 1-6 but the Gaels were thrown a lifeline when Eoin Keane finished a breaking ball to the net with three minutes gone on the changeover.
Points were then exchanged between Flynn (free) and Diarmuid Cooney, the latter on target in the 43rd minute as the Gaels trailed by 2-9 to 2-6, but the well organised Ballymahon team showed the far greater urgency for most of the game and pulled away to win with considerable ease in the finish.
Colm Flynn converted a brace of frees while Mark Lennon and substitute Joe Kelly landed a point apiece as Ambrose McGowan’s side put the issue beyond all doubt.
And just for good measure Ballymahon scored a third goal in the 60th minute when Thomas Lennon set up Colm Flynn, who rounded the opposing keeper Paddy Collum before shooting into the empty net.
Gaels substitute Podge Gill fired over a consolation point from a free in the 60th minute but things went from bad to worse for the losers when their best player, Aaron Quinn, was sent-off in the third minute of stoppage time.
David Collum, Eoin Keane (two frees), Emmet Noonan and Ronan Corr registered the five Fr Manning Gaels points in the first half. But from the moment Dylan Quinn failed to convert a good goal chance at a crucial stage in the third quarter, the writing was on the wall for Seamus Quinn’s charges who are now facing a relegation battle after losing all three games in the group stage of the championship.
Ballymahon, on the other hand, now take on the reigning champions Killoe in a play-off for a quarter-final place.
BALLYMAHON: Kyle Fitzmaurice; Gareth Murtagh, James Kenny, Pedro Byrne; Emmet Finn, Kevin Diffley (0-1), Matthew Daly; Cian Cooney, John Nevin (1-1); Mark Lennon (0-1), Sean McMullen, Thomas Mulvihill; Mark Connor, Colm Flynn (2-9, seven points from frees), Thomas Lennon.
Subs:- Eddie Noonan for S McMullen (28 mins); Mark McCormack for P Byrne (injured, half-time); Joe Kelly (0-1) for G Murtagh (injured, 45 mins); Edwin Nally for C Flynn (injured, first minute of stoppage time).
FR MANNING GAELS: Paddy Collum (1-0, penalty); Leon McKeown, Cian Brady, Mickey Kelly; Mark Duffy, Aaron Quinn, Dylan Quinn; David Collum (0-1), Fergal Reilly; Johnny Kane, Diarmuid Cooney (0-1), Eoin Keane (1-2, points from frees); Ronan Corr (0-1), Emmet Noonan (0-1), Darren Farrelly.
Subs:- Podge Gill (0-1, free) for R Corr (44 mins); Sean Whelan for E Keane (53 mins); Ciaran Cooney for M Kelly (55 mins).
Referee: John Hughes
(Killoe Emmet Og).