Paul Barden was in brilliant form as Clonguish got the result they required to clinch their place in the Senior Football Championship quarter-finals, scoring a comfortable win over Colmcille in the Round 3 clash at Maguire Park, Ballinalee on Friday evening last.
Class act Barden fired over the impressive total of nine points (eight from play) during the course of a tame enough game that lacked a real competitive edge as Colmcille had already qualified for the knock-out stages.
With that in mind their team manager Danny Brady from Mullahoran decided to rest experienced players, Declan Reilly and Podgie Murtagh. and Clonguish showed the far greater urgency in their quest to reach the last eight.
A strong first half performance from David Barden gave the Newtownforbes outfit (also coached by a Cavan man Mickey Graham) a decisive edge at centrefield and after leading by 0-10 to 0-4 at the break, they managed to consolidate a firm grip on the game.
Wing back Conor Shields (a member of the Longford U-21 team this year) and roving forward Kevin Burke were others to figure prominently for a sharp Clonguish side who did not feature Darren Quinn, Brendan Devine and Paddy Dowd on this occasion.
While Colmcille got the opening score when Paul McKeon, after squandering a good chance of a goal, shot over the bar in the first minute they managed to register just three more points during the remainder of the first half with Paul on target again along with his brother Barry and Paul Treacy.
Ciaran Williams was proving to be a menace in the Clonguish full-forward-line and went close to getting a couple of goals but the scores were flowing for the 2009 county champions - four from Paul Barden (one from a ‘45’), three from Joe O’Brien (frees), a brace from Ciaran Williams with his brother Enda also on target.
Clonguish extended the lead when Kevin Burke fisted the ball over the bar in the early stages of the second half but credit to Colmcille as they staged a brief comeback to close the gap to four points, 0-12 to 0-8, by the 41st minute, following scores from Barry McKeon, Paul McKeon (two frees) and big midfielder Fergal Sheridan.
Joe O’Brien (free) replied for Clonguish, who regained the upper hand to dominate the final quarter of the contest. Paul Barden kicked another five points from play - two of which should have been goals as he blasted point-blank shots over the bar.
Joe O’Brien (free) and Shane O’Brien got the other scores as Clonguish ran out emphatic winners while Fergal Sheridan and Niall Farrelly landed a couple of consolation points for Colmcille, who had a goal chance in the 50th minute when Paul McKeon raced through but he shot straight at opposing keeper Stephen Watters who produced a fine save.
After already getting two players dismissed for black cards, Vinny Hourican (27 mins) and Martin Mulligan (44 mins), Colmcille’s tale of woe was complete when Barry McKeon was sent-off by referee Derek Fahy for a second yellow card offence in the 51st minute.
CLONGUISH: Stephen Watters; Brendan Burke, Ronan Sweeney, Ciaran Corcoran; Conor Shields, Enda Williams (0-1), Stephen McLoughlin; David Barden, Padraig Cooney; Shane O’Brien (0-1), Paul Barden (0-9, one from ‘45), Stephen Norton; Joe O’Brien (0-5, all frees), Ciaran Williams (0-2), Kevin Burke (0-1).
Sub:- David Faughnan for S Norton (44 mins).
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Enda Macken, Ciaran Brady, Noel Farrell (0-1); Martin Mulligan, Vinny Hourican, Gerry Mulligan; Niall Brady, Fergal Sheridan (0-2); Anthony Gormley, Declan Farrell, Niall Farrelly; Paul Treacy (0-1), Paul McKeon (0-4, two frees), Barry McKeon (0-2).
Subs:- Paul Kennedy for V Hourican (black card, 27 mins); John Paul Reilly for N Brady (27 mins); Cormac Hughes for M Mulligan (black card, 44 mins); Cathal Reilly for A Gormley (48 mins); Enda Farrell for P Treacy (53 mins); Darren Mulligan for N Farrelly (58 mins).
Referee: Derek Fahy