On the evidence of this dreadful draw in the Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Pearse Park on Sunday evening last, neither Ballymahon or Fr. Manning Gaels have any chance of causing an upset against Clonguish in the last four clash on August 21st.
Ballymahon 0-7, Fr Manning Gaels 0-7
It was a very poor game, to say the least, and things can only improve in the replay on Sunday evening next. While the Gaels were the better side for most of this truly dismal encounter, they were guilty of some bad finishing as they kicked a total of 12 wides – eight in the first half when they played with the advantage of the wind.
Having said that, Ballymahon substitute Kyle Fitzmaurice squandered a goal chance in the closing minutes to win the match when he lost possession of the ball in front of the posts after racing through but moments later defender Ken Cooney came to the rescue with a terrific long range point to leave the sides all square.
With time running out, the Gaels goalkeeper Paddy Collum missed a couple of attempts from a free and a ‘45’ to snatch a last gasp winning point and thus the sides must meet again in the battle for a semi-final spot.
Although the Gaels were on top at centrefield in the first half, they failed to convert this superiority into vital scores and with time almost up in the first half the sides were deadlocked at 0-3 apiece with the Drumlish/Ballinamuck side suffering the significant setback of losing centre-half-back Fergal Reilly who was forced to retire injured in the 13th minute.
Thomas Lennon broke through to land the first point of the game for Ballymahon in the 3rd minute but back came Fr. Manning Gaels with three scores in a row through David Hannify, David Cassidy (free) and Diarmuid Cooney – the latter kicking a fine effort over the bar from a tight angle.
A brace of points (free and play) from Ballymahon midfielder Colm Flynn left the sides level but just before the break Padraig Gill shot over the bar following a fine move and then a tremendous score was landed by Gaels substitute Petie Collum who had replaced the unfortunate Fergal Reilly.
Leading by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time, the Gaels extended their advantage from a close range free converted by David Cassidy with a couple of minutes gone on the changeover but two great scores from Ballymahon centre-half-back Kevin Diffley closed the gap to just the minimum of margins by the 40th minute.
A good point from James Noonan in the 46th minute gave the Gaels the edge but Ballymahon kept plugging away and despite missing some decent chances they rallied with points from Colm Flynn (free) and Ken Cooney to earn a replay.
BALLYMAHON: Dean Reilly; Ken Cooney (0-1), Ken Lovell, Gareth Murtagh; James Kenny, Kevin Diffley (0-2), TJ McArdle; Cian Cooney, Colm Flynn (0-3, two frees); Eddie Noonan, Thomas Lowry, James Daly; Jamsie Farrell, Alan Hudson, Thomas Lennon (0-1).
Subs:- Mark Connor for E Noonan (41 mins); Kyle Fitzmaurice for T Lowry (41 mins); Jamie Noonan for J Daly (41 mins); Thomas Mulvihill for T Lennon (49 mins).
FR. MANNING GAELS: Paddy Collum; Mark Duffy, Cian Brady, John Paul Farrelly; Emmet Collum, Fergal Reilly, Brian Collum; Johnny Kane, David Hannify (0-1); Darren Farrelly, Diarmuid Cooney (0-1), Padraig Gill (0-1); James Noonan (0-1), John Fitzpatrick, David Cassidy (0-2, frees).
Subs:- Petie Collum (0-1) for F Reilly (injured, 13 mins); David Collum for D Cassidy (41 mins); Darren Reilly for C Brady (54 mins).
Referee: Patrick Maguire
(Granard St. Mary’s).