Clonguish gained revenge on St. Columba’s for knocking them out of last year’s Senior Football championship in the group stages when the two sides renewed rivalry in the current campaign at Emmet Park, Killoe on Friday evening last.
The Mullinalaghta men stunned the then champions last season and gave them a real fright on this occasion with Clonguish grabbing a late winner. St. Columba’s could have snatched a draw deep into stoppage time when Danny Keenan was harshly adjudged to have fouled Gary Rogers. Kevin Mulligan decided to go short to Conor McElligott but he could not find a way past the vast numbers of Clonguish defenders.
Clonguish made the better start and within the opening six minutes had raced into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead with scores from Ciaran Williams, Joe O’Brien, Paddy Dowd (free) and Paul Barden. Ciaran Williams had a chance to stretch that lead further in the 8th minute but St. Columba’s keeper Patrick Rogers made a good save to keep his net intact.
Kevin Mulligan registered Mullinalaghta first score in the 10th minute when he pointed a free. Two minutes later Gary Rogers capitalised on a bad clearance by Clonguish keeper Stephen Watters to get his side’s second score.
Clonguish created another goalscoring chance in the 13th minute but Paul Barden hit his effort wide. Ciaran Williams got his second score of the game minutes later and Paul Barden followed that up with a fisted point to extend the lead to four but Kevin Mulligan kept St. Columba’s in contention in converting two frees in quick succession.
For all their possession and dominance Clonguish really should have been out of sight but credit to St. Columba’s they managed to stay in touch. A fantastic point from Gary Rogers and another free from Kevin Mulligan either side of a Joe O’Brien score left them trailing at the break by the minimum of margins; 0-7 to 0-6.
Two minutes into the second half the sides were level for the first time when Kevin Mulligan was on target again from another free. The full-forward really was on fire for Mullinalaghta and in the 35th minute he gave his side the lead with a point from play.
But that lead didn’t last long as a free from the boot of Paddy Dowd levelled matters one minute later. Clonguish then went back in front through Enda Williams but St. Columba’s responded with a wonderful score from Gary Rogers in the 40th minute. Moments later Mullinalaghta regained the lead with an excellent long range point from Shane Mulligan.
In the 43rd minute of this highly entertaining encounter it was all square again when Enda Williams got his second point of the game before Gary Rogers landed a superb curling strike with the side of his boot to edge St. Columba’s in front again.
Points from Paul Barden and Paddy Dowd (free) either side of another Kevin Mulligan free left it 0-12 apiece with eight minutes remaining. A combination of Clonguish keeper Stephen Watters and the post denied John Keegan from getting a goal in the 54th minute before James McGivney kicked a point for St. Columba’s.
But back came Clonguish with a point apiece from Paddy Dowd (free) and Anthony Corcoran to clinch a hard earned victory and a place in the quarter-finals of the Senior Championship whereas Mullinalaghta are now facing a fight to avoid relegation.
CLONGUISH: Stephen Watters; Danny Keenan, John O’Brien, Anthony Watters; Padraig Cooney, Enda Williams (0-2), Ciaran Maguire; David Barden, Paddy Dowd (0-4, all frees); Niall O’Reilly, Anthony Corcoran (0-1), Darren Quinn; Joe O’Brien (0-2), Paul Barden (0-3), Ciaran Williams (0-2).
Sub:- Kevin Burke for D Quinn (33 mins).
MULLINALAGHTA: Patrick Rogers; Bernard Donohoe, Patrick Fox, Francis Mulligan; Conan Brady, James McGivney (0-1), Seamus Corcoran; Ruairi McElligott, John Keegan; Donal McElligott, Shane Mulligan (0-1), Conor McElligott; Gary Rogers (0-4), Kevin Mulligan (0-7, six frees), Simon Cadam.
Subs:- Mel Dermody for S Cadam (42 mins); Dermot McCabe for D McElligott (injured, 62 mins).
Referee: Eugene Murtagh