After crashing to a most disappointing defeat by Ballymahon in the opening round, Colmcille produced one of their best performances for quite some time to conquer Dromard in the Senior Football Championship clash at the Monaduff grounds in Drumlish on Sunday last and Gary Brady’s charges will qualify for the quarter-finals if they can overcome Rathcline in their remaining Group 2 fixture.
Forced to field without suspended county player Declan C Reilly, the threat of relegation was hanging over Colmcille going into this make or break showdown but they came out with all guns blazing to shoot down Dromard who ended up trailing by 1-5 to 0-3 at the break with the crucial goal coming from Declan Farrell who fired the ball past Damien Sheridan midway through the first half.
The impressive pairing of John Paul Reilly and Enda Farrell gave Colmcille a decisive edge at centrefield while county minor Barry McKeon was very much the main man in the attack. The accurate McKeon landed a couple of cracking points from play and also converted a free while the other scores in the first half were registered by Brendan McCabe as the 2008 champions established a firm grip on the game.
Indeed, it could have been even worse for Dromard as Declan Farrell hit the post while his brother Enda burst clean through, only to be denied by a Damien Sheridan save with Cathal Conefrey clearing the danger in the 22nd minute.
Dreadful Dromard never rose a gallop in the first half with their three points coming from Francis McGee (a free in the 5th minute), Diarmuid Masterson and Declan Mimnagh – the latter on target in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Things did not get much better for Dromard as the second half progressed and after Tommy Doyle had a goal attempt for Colmcille blocked down early on the changeover they gradually extended their advantage through a terrific free fired over by the excellent Barry McKeon who then kicked a well struck point from play.
Further scores followed from substitute Colin Kiernan and an inspirational strike from defender Padraig Murtagh to leave Colmcille in a commanding 1-9 to 0-3 lead but Dromard were given a glimmer of hope when Declan Mimnagh grabbed a goal in the 49th minute.
A point followed from Diarmuid Masterson but back come Colmcille with a wonderful score from Paul McKeon who weaved his way through the opposing defence before slotting the ball over the bar in the 55th minute.
Angry with some of the decisions made by referee John Bannon that went against them in the second half, the Dromard cause was certainly not helped by some poor finishing on the changeover which included three frees but they were thrown a lifeline in the final minute of normal time with a goal from Francis McGee after a Declan Mimnagh shot hit the crossbar.
The gap was now reduced to just three points and the pressure was on Colmcille in stoppage time but they managed to hold out for a sweet victory over their neighbouring rivals. It was a bad defeat for Dromard but they can still reach the knock-out stages of the championship by beating Ballymahon in their final group fixture.
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Ciaran Brady, Noel Farrell, Ollie McGivney; Padraig Murtagh (0-1), Gary Murtagh, Francis Kavanagh; Enda Farrell, John Paul Reilly; Paul McKeon (0-1), Barry McKeon (0-5, two frees), Niall Brady; Brendan McCabe (0-2), Declan Farrell (1-0), Tommy Doyle.
Subs:- Colin Kiernan (0-1) for B McCabe (injured, 43 mins); Leigh McKeon for N Brady (63 mins).
DROMARD: Damien Sheridan; David Pettit, Niall Vance, Cathal Conefrey; Peter Reynolds, John Sheridan, Paul McGee; Diarmuid Masterson (0-2), Cian Mimnagh; Conor Duffy, Francis McGee (1-1, point from free), Declan Mimnagh (1-1); Jamsie Martin, Enda McEntire, Ronan McEntire.
Subs:- Peader Faughnan for C Duffy (half-time); Emmet Masterson for R McEntire (half-time).
Referee: John Bannon