Although it took them quite a while to assert their superiority, Clonguish gradually outclassed Ardagh in the Senior Football Championship Group 4 game at Devine Park, Mostrim on Saturday evening last and a Ciaran Williams goal just before the break proved to be a killer blow for St. Patrick’s who ended up trailing by 1-7 to 0-2 at half-time.
Peter Hanley Motors Senior Football Championship Group 4 - Round 1 - Clonguish 2-15, Ardagh 0-5
With 20 minutes gone in the first half, the sides were actually on level terms (0-2 apiece) with Shane Henry converting a couple of frees for Ardagh who were battling extremely hard to stay in contention while Paul Barden and Anthony Corcoran replied for Clonguish who eventually stepped up another gear to put the issue beyond all doubt.
Four points in a row (three from play) by prominent full-forward Paddy Dowd opened up a decisive gap and it was Dowd who let the ball into Ciaran Williams for the crucial goal in the 30th minute. Williams made no mistake from close range and his brother Enda (back in action after a lengthy injury absence) almost found the back of the net in the opening minute of the game – only to be denied by the St. Patrick’s keeper Michael Lenehan who produced a great save.
Ardagh had a goal chance in first half stoppage time when Clonguish keeper Stephen Watters made a smart stop to keep out a point-blank strike from Shane Henry and the second half was only a minute old when the 2009 county champions scored another goal to take total control of this tame contest.
Paddy Dowd and Paul Barden linked up to create the chance for midfielder David Faughnan to blast a cracking shot into the roof of the net and Clonguish quickly extended their commanding advantage with a brace of points apiece from Paddy Dowd and Ciaran Williams in the space of four minutes.
St. Patrick’s eventually open their second half account when Shane Henry converted a free in the 44th minute but Clonguish hit back immediately with a point from Paul Barden and then Paddy Dowd (free) clocked up his seventh score in the 51st minute.
Soon after Ciaran Williams hit the crossbar in his attempt to score another goal and in this same attack Clonguish substitute Joe O’Brien shot over the bar. The same player got another point soon after but Ardagh, to their credit, kept plugging away and their perseverance was rewarded with a point apiece from Shane Henry (free) and substitute Killian Farrell (play).
St. Patrick’s also created a couple of goal chances in the closing stages with Shane Powell having a point-blank effort saved in fine fashion by opposing keeper Stephen Watters and then Enda Ward shot wide when well placed to find the back of the net.
While Clonguish are looking good in their quest to qualify for the quarter-finals, Ardagh are under severe pressure to avoid relegation and are highly unlikely to spring a shock against Abbeylara and Mullinalaghta in their remaining fixtures in the group stages of the championship.
CLONGUISH: Stephen Watters; Brendan Burke, John O’Brien, Anthony Watters; Ciaran Maguire, Padraic Cooney, Anthony Corcoran (0-1); David Barden, David Faughnan (1-0); Niall O’Reilly, Paul Barden (0-2), Enda Williams (0-1); Stephen Brennan, Paddy Dowd (0-7, three frees), Ciaran Williams (1-2).
Subs:- Joe O’Brien (0-2) and Shane O’Brien for N O’Reilly and S Brennan (50 mins); John Dowd for P Cooney (54 mins).
ARDAGH ST. PATRICK’S: Michael Lenehan; Dessie Murphy, Danny Keenan, Ciaran Kelly; Walter Bohan, Gerard Farrell, James McGoey; Seamus Shortt, David Farrell; Paddy Keenan, Philip Gillen, Enda Ward; Val Bohan, Shane Powell, Shane Henry (0-4, all frees).
Subs:- Killian Farrell (0-1) for D Farrell (half-time); David McGoey for P Gillen (51 mins); Shane Mc Glynn for W Bohan (56 mins).
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).