Fr. Manning Gaels registered their first victory in this year’s Senior Football Championship and were never extended in beating understrength Ardagh St. Patrick’s by the wide margin of 17 points in the Round 2 game at Devine Park, Edgeworthstown on Sunday last.
The Drunlish/Ballinamuck outfit completely dictated the pace of this one sided encounter. St. Patrick’s have been badly hit by a string of injuries this season along with a number of players who opted out of the panel due to work commitments.
Fr Manning Gaels, on the other hand, got their championship campaign firmly back on track. A defeat to Longford Slashers in the opening round could have derailed the Gaels but to their credit Seamus Quinn’s side regrouped in the best possible fashion with notable performances from forwards James Noonan and Padraig Gill.
This encounter was always going to be a real uphill battle for Ardagh. When the Gaels led by six points (1-6 to 0-3) after playing against a strong breeze in the first half, the outcome was never in any doubt.
And while Fr. Manning Gaels will be happy with the full-time score, they will know that the margin could have been even greater if they showed better accuracy in front of the posts.
The Gaels were particularly wasteful during the opening exchanges. They had three chances in front of the posts before they finally registered their first score. Nonetheless, once they found their shooting boots they piled the pressure on the St. Patrick’s defence.
Padraig Gill, who worked extremely hard, tormented the Ardagh backs from the word go. Gill was instrumental in almost every attack for his team, as was James Noonan who displayed terrific long range shooting.
The Gaels got their first goal five minutes from the half-time break. A well-worked move through their midfield line saw Diarmuid Cooney pick up possession. Cooney’s eagle eye spotted Martin Cassidy break free off his marker and once Cassidy had the ball in his hand, he had only one thing on his mind and he fired a blistering shot to the roof of the Ardagh net.
Six points adrift and confidence at an all time low, St. Patrick’s looked all out of ideas. The Gael continued to dominate on the changeover and a brace of points through Podge Gill and James Noonan put eight between the sides.
In the final quarter, Fr Manning Gaels could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal. The game was well and truly over as a contest and they produced a master class of point shooting in the closing 20 minutes to blow Ardagh away.
Padraig Gill and Podge Gill landed impressive long range points while Fergal Reilly also got his name on the scoresheet with an excellent effort.
The Gaels wrapped up the victory in the final moments of the game after a lapse in concentration from the Ardagh defence. Padraig Gill’s dipping shot appeared to be sailing over the bar but the ball ended up in the roof of the net to complete St. Patrick’s tale of woe.
FR. MANNING GAELS: Paddy Collum; Dylan Quinn, Cian Brady, Ciaran Cooney; Johnny Kane, Aaron Quinn, Gary Connell; Fergal Reilly (0-1), Sean Whelan; Darren Farrelly, Diarmuid Cooney (0-2), James Noonan (0-5, 1f); Padraig Gill (1-4), Martin Cassidy (1-0), David Cassidy.
Subs:- Darren Reilly for G Connell (injured, 16 mins); Podge Gill (0-4) for D Farrelly (24 mins); Pete Collum for D Cassidy (44 mins); David Collum for S Whelan (45 mins).
ARDAGH ST. PATRICK’S: Philip Gillen; Gareth Dennigan, Shane Powell, Kryspin Phiszczynski; Emmet Donlon, Enda Ward, David McGoey; Seamus Shortt, Paddy Keenan; David Farrell, Danny Keenan, Shane McGlynn; Finn Hartmann (0-2), Shane Henry (0-3, 1f), Enda Farrell.
Subs:- Kevin Leavy for D Keenan (injured, 21 mins); James McGoey for E Farrell (42 mins); E Farrell for P Keenan (black card, 56 mins).
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).