Clonguish overcome Dromard in tight contest

Former county star Trevor Smullen’s reign as Clonguish manager has received another early season boost following their workmanlike two point victory over Dromard in a lively All County Football League Division 1 league clash at Pairc na nGael on Saturday evening last.

This, despite the 2009 senior county champions conceding two goals in the first half that saw the hosts lead by the minimum of margins (2-4 to 0-9) at the break. Forced into making a number of changes due to the absence of key county players, perhaps it was not surprising to see a relatively small crowd brave the dry but chilly conditions.

Those looking on and supporting the green and white of Clonguish were however given plenty to cheer about early on as first Brendan Devine and then Joe O’Brien opened up a two point lead after just three minutes. Corner-forward Paddy Corcoran then swept over a fine 40 yard effort as Dromard struggled to deal with a lively Clonguish forward-line.

It wasn’t until the 11th minute that the hosts awoke from their slumber thanks to a free which was first won and subsequently dispatched by the impressive Cian Mimnagh. Diarmuid Masterson and Colin Clarke swapped scores soon after as the game gradually sprang to life amid plenty of robust challenges and industrious forward play.

Joe O’Brien, who proved to be a thorn in the Dromard defence for much of the first half, was on target again moments later, a score which was quickly followed by a Paddy Dowd free.

Four points behind, Dromard needed a response and in the 16th minute they got it as Declan Mimnagh applied the final touch to a neat move that yielded a goal to leave the home side trailing by just a solitary score, 0-6 to 1-2.

But Clonguish are renowned for their resilience, and within the space of a couple of minutes that one point gap became three thanks to scores from Joe O’Brien and Paddy Dowd.

And just when it looked like the visitors had established a potentially decisive half-time cushion, back came Dromard in the most devastating of fashions. An incisive run from Bernard Sheridan culminated in the half-forward releasing an unmarked Declan Mimnagh, who in turn cut inside to fire an unstoppable right-footed shot past a despairing Clonguish goalkeeper, Mikey McGuinness.

Another Mimnagh free ensured Dromard went in one point up at the interval, a prospect that the home supporters could hardly have foreseen earlier in the contest. But within three minutes of the restart, Clonguish were level again, courtesy of a well-taken Paddy Dowd ‘45’.

Clearly buoyed by that intervention, the ex-county star added to his own personal tally four minutes later, this time Dowd capitalising on a Dromard defensive slip to give his side the lead.

Darren Quinn nudged Clonguish further ahead in the 41st minute, before Declan Mimnagh replied from a free to keep the home side very much in touch.

Indeed, another set piece, this time from the left footed Jamsie Martin brought the sides level yet again just two minutes later to set up a tense final quarter of the game.

But Martin’s free was to prove Dromard’s penultimate score of the contest as Clonguish dominated possession in the latter stages. Paddy Dowd and then Colin Clarke opened up a two point gap with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

Desperate for some kind of inspiration, new Dromard manager Ciaran Fox (the former Sean Connolly’s and Longford player) threw Enda McEntire and Gary Maguire on as the clock winded down.

A Declan Mimnagh free late on gave Dromard some late hope but those aspirations were effectively dashed seconds later as Darren Quinn notched his second and Clonguish’s fifteenth point to clinch a well deserved victory.

DROMARD: Gavin McInerney; Cathal Conefrey, David Pettit, Paul McGee; Peter Masterson, Kevin Donohoe, John Sheridan; Noel Reynolds, Diarmuid Masterson (0-1); Bernard Sheridan, Cian Mimnagh (0-2, frees), Peadar Faughnan (0-1); Jamsie Martin (0-1, free), Ronan McEntire, Declan Mimnagh (2-2, two frees).

Subs:- Padraig McInerney for D Pettit (19 mins); Enda McEntire for N Reynolds (53 mins); Gary Maguire for K Donohoe (53 mins).

CLONGUISH: Mikey McGuinness; Brendan Burke, John O’Brien, Paul Barden Jnr; Darren Quinn (0-2), Enda Williams, Brendan Devine (0-1); Stephen Watters, Padraig Cooney; Stephen McLoughlin, Paddy Dowd (0-6, one ‘45’, two frees), Kevin Burke; Paddy Corcoran (0-1), Joe O’Brien (0-3), Colin Clarke (0-2).

Subs:- Ciaran Corcoran for P Barden Jnr (30 mins); Shane O’Brien for P Corcoran (41 mins), P Corcoran for C Corcoran (50 mins).

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Granard St. Mary’s).