Abbeylara edge close encounter to end Clonguish's unbeaten run

All County Football League Division 1 - Round 6

By DENIESE O'FLAHERTY

An excellent goal with five minutes of normal time remaining at Lynch Park on Sunday last from substitute Kieran Mulvihill proved decisive as Abbeylara ended Clonguish’s unbeaten run in the Division 1 league.

The sides were level when the influential Robbie Smyth found Mulvihill and he hit an unstoppable shot past Clonguish keeper Mike McGuinness and the visitors could only reply with a pointed free from Joe O’Brien three minutes later.

Robbie Smyth was fantastic throughout; as well as getting scores for his side he was also back defending. Right at the end he got a black card as Clonguish were on the attack. The free came to nothing and the final whistle was then blown.

Abbeylara made a fine start to the game and points from Jason Kelly and Nigel Rabbitte gave them an early lead. They then hit a number of wides before Clonguish got their first score in the 7th minute through Ciaran Williams.

One minute later and Clonguish took the lead when Kevin Burke finished the ball to the net. Points were then exchanged between Robbie Smyth (free) and Darren Quinn. In the 13th minute Clonguish went three ahead; Peter Hanley played the ball into Kevin Burke who in turn found Williams and he fired over the bar.

Robbie Smyth was on target again from a free in the 17th minute before points from Joe O’Brien and Darren Quinn extended Clonguish’s lead to four by the 23rd minute. Abbeylara rallied just before the break and three points from Robbie Smyth (two frees) left just one between the sides at half-time; 1-5 to 0-7.

Abbeylara were the better team in the early stages of the second half and by the 37th minute had turned a one point deficit into a two point advantage. Robbie Smyth hit over a ‘45 and that was followed by a well-taken Brian Smyth point before Robbie Smyth fired over another free. But Clonguish came storming back with points from Ronan Duffy, Ciaran Williams and Joe O’Brien (free) to lead by a point by the 43rd minute. That slender advantage only lasted a minute as Nigel Rabbitte hit over a lovely point to level matters for Abbeylara.

A Clonguish attack in the 45th minute was broken down by Robbie Smyth who ended up getting back to help out his defenders. Minutes later a well struck free from Joe O’Brien edged Clonguish ahead again but that was to be their last score for over 10 minutes as the game changed in Abbeylara favour.

A nice move started by Colm P Smyth ended with Mickey O’Connor landing a point to level the game in the 50th minute. Five minutes later and Abbeylara got the crucial goal; Robbie Smyth played the ball into Kieran Mulvihill and he hit a terrific shot to the back of the net.

There was now three points between the sides and while Joe O’Brien hit over another free in the 59th minute Clonguish were unable to get any more scores in falling to their first defeat in the Senior League this season.

ABBEYLARA: Gavin Kelly; Cian Brady, Fergal Battrim, Barry Smyth; Cormac Smyth, Colm P Smyth, Russell Brady; Jason Kelly (0-1), Kevin Smyth; Brian Smyth (0-1), William Crawford, Mickey O’Connor (0-1); Sean Murphy, Robbie Smyth (0-7, 5 frees, 1 ’45), Nigel Rabbitte (0-2).

Subs:- Conor Berry for S Murphy (half-time); Kieran Mulvihill (1-0) for Brian Smyth (44 mins), Eamon Gallagher for C Brady (53 mins).

CLONGUISH: Mikie McGuinness; Gerry Moore, Stephen McLoughlin, Ronan Sweeney; Darren Quinn (0-2), Brendan Burke, Ronan Duffy (0-1); Peter Hanley, Conor Shields; Kevin Burke (1-0), Paul Barden, Alan Gregg; Joe O’Brien (0-4, 3 frees), Eibhin Glacken, Ciaran Williams (0-3).

Subs:- Christopher Gordon for A Gregg (half-time); David Faughnan for E Glacken (34 mins); Padraig McLoughlin for G Moore (43 mins).

Referee: Frank Toher (Killoe Emmet Og).