Mostrim blew a glorious opportunity in their quest to qualify for the Senior Football Championship quarter-finals as they pressed the panic button in kicking a total of 19 wides in a dismal battle against Ballymahon at Keenan Park in Ardagh on Friday evening last.
Needing to win by eight points to avoid the relegation play-offs, the Edgeworthstown outfit were woeful in attack and while they still managed to emerge victorious by the minimum of margins the last remaining spot in the last eight of the Connolly Cup goes to Fr. Manning Gaels because of their superior scores difference.
Despite dominating the exchanges for the best part of this very poor game, Mostrim failed to convert their superiority into vital scores against a depleted Ballymahon side whose most notable absentee was county player Kevin Diffley.
From the moment Cillian Lynn had a shot saved by the Ballymahon keeper Fergal Kelly in the early stages of the game with Shane Kiernan squandering another goal chance, the pressure clearly got to Mostrim even though they did establish a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with 14 minutes gone on the clock following a brace of points apiece from Brian Farrell and Shane Kiernan.
Much to the frustration of the Edgeworthstown supporters, their side failed to register another score during the remainder of the first half and with Brian Farrell blasting another goal chance off target in the 18th minute and Ballymahon only trailed by 0-4 to 0-2 at the break with Colm Flynn (play and free) accounting for both scores.
It was shocking stuff, to say the least, and eleven minutes were gone on the changeover before Mostrim were on the mark gain with a point from Shane Kiernan after a shot from Brian Farrell had hit the crossbar.
Nothing was going right for Gerry Lynn’s charges and Ballymahon remained in contention thanks to a couple of frees converted by Colm Flynn.
After Mostrim corner-forward Cillian Lynn shot wide in missing a great chance of a badly needed goal, the sides were all square in the 49th minute when Flynn fired over another free.
Things went from bad to worse for Edgeworthstown when substitute Jack Lynn, just seven minutes on the pitch, was sent-off after lashing out at a Ballymahon opponent but Mostrim continued to surge forward and went back in front when Michael Kenny fisted the ball over the bar in the second minute of stoppage time.
Moments later Shane Kiernan scored a well-taken goal and in a frantic finish Mostrim almost had the ball in the back of the Ballymahon net again when Cillian Lynn had a shot saved by opposing keeper Fergal Kelly and while the rebound broke to Michael Kenny his point-blank effort was deflected wide.
After suffering the setback of a shattering 25 points defeat against Abbeylara in their previous fixture, Ballymahon regained some pride with a spirited performance prior to the relegation play-offs and their perseverance was rewarded with a goal from Colm Flynn in the fifth minute of additional minute before the final whistle was eventually blown. MOSTRIM: Ciaran Garvey; Aaron Gallagher, John Coyle, Ciaran Gallagher; Damien Moran, Martin Coyle, Gerard Smith; Fintan Coyle, Conor Tuite; Michael Kenny (0-1), Sean Noone, Niall Quinn; Brian Farrell (0-2), Shane Kiernan (1-3), Cillian Lynn. Subs:- Alan O’Hara for N Quinn (40 mins); Jack Lynn for B Farrell (47 mins). BALLYMAHON: Fergal Kelly; Jamie Noonan, Diarmuid Fallon, Gareth Murtagh; Matthew Daly, James Kenny, Emmet Finn; John Nevin, Mark Lennon; Cian Cooney, Jamsie Farrell, John Reid; John Deane, Colm Flynn (1-5, four frees), Thomas Lennon. Subs:- Edwin Nally for J Nevin (half-time); Lee Masters for J Reid (49 mins). Referee: Patrick Maguire (Granard St. Mary’s).