Two goals from Johnny Murphy and Brian Farrell, one in each half, earned Mostrim a vital victory against Fr. Manning Gaels at Pairc na nGael, Dromard on Saturday evening last.
It means that Edgeworthstown will join the Drumlish/Ballinamuck side in the play-offs for the right to secure a quarter-final spot in this year’s Senior Football Championship.
The Gaels, who already had two points following the first couple of group stage games, knew another win would have guaranteed their place in the last eight.
However, a combination of wayward shooting throughout much of the opening half hour and neat, incisive play from Mostrim led to Fr. Manning Gaels downfall in what was a hard-fought, but scrappy encounter.
Points from Gerard Smith, Fintan Coyle, Shane Kiernan and the impressive Brian Farrell set Tony Kelly’s team on their way during the opening 20 minutes.
Diarmuid Cooney did his best to lead the Gaels charge, first curling over the posts from 30 yards and then going one better when smashing the ball beyond the despairing dive of Mostrim keeper Ciaran Garvey for a goal.
That was soon cancelled out when Mostrim full-forward Johnny Murphy latched onto a long punt downfield to bundle the ball to the net at the second attempt, leaving the scores at 1-4 to 1-1 after 26 minutes.
Podge Gill did manage a solitary riposte on the stroke of half-time, raising hopes in the Gaels camp that a comeback was very much on.
Those aspirations were given a further boost during the opening exchanges of the second half. First, Diarmuid Cooney raised the white flag, a score which was quickly followed by a brace of frees from James Noonan.
All Mostrim, in contrast, had to show for their endeavours by the mid-point of the second half was a point which came via the boot of Cillian Lynn.
With the scores now level (1-5 apiece), a nervy final 15 minutes looked very much in store. A draw was no good to Mostrim however, something which midfielder Brian Farrell was intent on preventing as he notched his side’s all-important second goal 11 minutes from time.
A well worked move ended in corner-forward Shane Kiernan finding the big No. 9 in acres of space as he bore down on the Gaels goal.
Still with plenty to do, Farrell’s blistering 20 yard shot flew past the helpless Gaels keeper Paddy Collum and into the corner of the net.
Safe in the knowledge they now had a crucial three point cushion, Mostrim stretched their lead to five when Joe Dempsey and then Shane Kiernan fired over the bar.
The Gaels threw on Sean Whelan at full-forward in place of Podge Gill, desperate for a quick reply. James Noonan’s third converted free of the game came with two minutes left to reduce the deficit to four.
But what the Gaels badly needed was a goal, efforts which ultimately came to no avail as Mostrim kept their hopes of further progress in this year’s Connolly Cup race very much alive.
MOSTRIM: Ciaran Garvey; Damien Moran, Barry Noonan, Aaron Gallagher; Cathal Smith, Martin Coyle, Sean Monaghan; Fintan Coyle (0-1), Brian Farrell (1-1); Joe Dempsey (0-1), Cillian Lynn (0-1), Niall Quinn; Gerard Smith (0-1), Johnny Murphy (1-0), Shane Kiernan (0-2).
Subs:- Michael Hussey for B Noonan (37 mins); Luke Kenny for C Lynn (39 mins); Darren Bloomer for J Dempsey (58 mins); Michael O’Hara for J Murphy (60 mins).
FR. MANNING GAELS: Paddy Collum; Gary Connell, Cian Brady, Ciaran Cooney; Dylan Quinn, Aaron Quinn, Martin Cassidy; Johnny Kane, David Collum; Darren Farrelly, Diarmuid Cooney (1-2), Padraig Gill; James Noonan (0-3, all frees), Podge Gill (0-1), Pete Collum.
Subs:- Fergal Reilly for C Brady (6 mins); David Cassidy for Pete Collum (30 mins); Darren Reilly for M Cassidy (41 mins); Sean Whelan for Podge Gill (54 mins).
Referee: John Hughes (Killoe Emmet Og).