A penalty from Gregory Masterson right on the stroke of half-time proved to be the decisive score as Sean Connolly’s secured their senior championship status for another year but they were made work hard for this victory as Carrickedmond had enough chances to change the outcome of this relegation play-off at Pearse Park on Sunday last.
Sean Connolly’s 1-11, Carrickedmond 1-8
In a dominant spell during the second half they created five scoring chances but kicked five wides. They had enough possession in stoppage time but a combination of poor shooting and resolute Connolly’s defending means they have a tough battle ahead against Mullinalaghta to avoid a swift return to the Intermediate grade.
The first half was very open but both sides were guilty of making a few mistakes. With just over 20 seconds gone on the clock Carrickedmond had opened the scoring with a fine point from John Burns.
Connolly’s got into their stride and two points from Enda Dalton (one free) gave them the lead in the sixth minute; it was a lead they would not relinquish. A fine score from Trevor Murtagh edged them ahead by two in the 11th minute before a free from the boot of Padraig O’Shea put just one between the sides with 16 minutes played.
Points from Dalton and Gregory Masterson gave Connolly’s a three point advantage but Marty Mulvey replied for Carrickedmond. Another Enda Dalton free restored Connolly’s advantage in the 26th minute but three minutes later the sides were level when Mark McDonnell found the back of the net.
But the game swung back in Connolly’s favour in the space of two minutes. Martin Brady edged them back in front with a fine score in the 29th minute when he soloed through with his right foot and kicked the ball over the bar with the left.
Seconds before half-time the Ballinalee side were awarded a penalty after Padraig McGrath took down Masterson and he got up to make no mistake to score a crucial goal to leave his side leading by 1-7 to 1-3 at the break.
Another free from Dalton three minutes into the seconds half extended Connolly’s advantage to five points. Carrickedmond had a chance to eat into that lead one minute later but Ciaran McEoin produced a fine block to deny Marty Mulvey. A ’45 from John Lenehan and a nice point from Mark McDonnell put just a goal between them in the 37th minute.
Carrickedmond then began to take control but kicked two bad wides in a row. Connolly’s responded with another Enda Dalton free. In the 46th minute Carrickedmond suffered a blow when forward Marty Mulvey had to go off injured. Their poor shooting continued; in a five minute spell they kicked three wides in a row but they did eventually get on the scoresheet in the 53rd minute when McDonnell fired over a free.
Points from Eugene Murtagh and Brendan Treacy stretched Connolly’s advantage to five points three minutes from normal time but two frees from the boot of Mark McDonnell closed the gap.
There was over nine minutes of injury-time played; mainly due to Mulvey’s injury. Try as they might Carrickedmond just could not muster up that equalising goal that would bring the game into extra-time. Right at the end Eugene Murtagh received a straight red but it didn’t matter much as Connolly’s clung on for victory.
SEAN CONNOLLY’S: John McKenna; Michael Carrigy, Ciaran McEoin, Andy McNamee; Eamon McEvoy, Michael McGlynn, Paddy McDonnell; Martin Brady (0-1), Frank Reynolds; Paddy O’Neill, Trevor Murtagh (0-1), Brendan Treacy (0-1); Gregory Masterson (1-1), Stephen Lynch, Enda Dalton (0-6, four frees).
Subs:- Eugene Murtagh (0-1) for T Murtagh (half-time); Dessie Lennon for E McEvoy (40 mins); Thomas O’Neill for S Lynch (52 mins).
CARRICKEDMOND: Gareth Higgins; James Murray, Kevin Moran, Tommy Martin; Padraig McGrath, John Gerety, Shane Mulvey; John O’Shea, Tom Cummins; Jonathan Keegan, Padraig O’Shea (0-1, free), John Burns (0-1); Marty Mulvey (0-1), Mark McDonnell (1-4, three frees), John Lenehan (0-1,’45).
Subs:- Barry O’Farrell for J Gerety (26 mins); Francis Kelly for J Burns (35 mins); Paul McGuire for M Mulvey (46 mins); J Gerety for S Mulvey (57 mins).
Referee: Benny Reilly (Clonguish).