A last gasp equaliser from the boot of the prolific Mark Connor was sufficient to earn Ballymahon a draw and their place in the Mulleady Group Intermediate Football Championship semi-final as the winners of Group 1.
Mulleady Group Longford Intermediate Football Championship Group 1 - Round 3: Ballymahon 0-14 St Brigid's Killashee 2-8
St Brigid’s, buoyed by goals in each half by Dylan Farrell and Mark Rossiter, looked to be on course to snatch a dramatic win in this competitive encounter on Sunday afternoon last at Keenan Park, Ardagh, only for Connor to intervene and dispatch the leveller for Ballymahon.
Being held to a draw didn’t upset the Killashee men unduly as they, too, as the second placed team in the group, remain in the hunt for championship honours and they have a quarter-final assignment against Ballymore to look forward to.
With the wind and sheeting rain at their backs during the opening half, Ballymahon led by 0-8 to 1-2 at the interval. Killashee lacked fluency in their attack but nonetheless as the tie entered stoppage they were a point to the good, 0-13 to 2-8, until Connor rained on their parade.
Those who stood out for Ballymahon were James Kenny, Sean McMullen, Kevin Diffley, Ros Claffey, Eddie Noonan and the very accurate Mark Connor.
St Brigid's were best served by Shane Cosgrove, Quentin Lee, Mick Magan, Cillian Lee, Dylan Farrell and Francis Dolan, who was a constant threat up front.
Aided by the elements, Ballymahon opened smartly and they were by far the better side in the opening quarter at which stage they led by 0-5 to 0-1.
Mark Rossiter got St Brigid's off the mark with the game’s first score in the 4th minute and Ballymahon responded with five fine points from play courtesy of Sean McMullen, John Nevin, Eddie Noonan, Aaron Nally and Joe Nevin.
St Brigid's were given a lifeline and hauled themselves back into the reckoning in the 16th minute when Dylan Farrell converted a penalty after he was dragged down.
Mark Connor (Ballymahon) replied with points in the 18th (free) and 21st minutes (play), leaving three points separating the sides, 0-7 to 1-1.
In the 23rd minute, Francis Dolan converted a free for St Brigid's and Mark Connor completed the first half scoring in the 24th minute when he curled over a free from near the sideline to leave the half time score: Ballymahon 0-8 to St Brigid's 1-2.
With a big improvement in the weather, St Brigid's played much better in the second half. Francis Dolan opened the scoring with a super point from play. The sides then swapped points, Eddie Noonan for Ballymahon and Cillian Lee for St Brigid's, 0-9 to 1-4.
Further points followed for Ballymahon from Kevin Diffley and Mark Connor (free).
Francis Dolan and Dylan Farrell narrowed the gap with points in the 44th and 47th minutes to leave it a two point game, 0-11 to 1-6.
In the 51st minute a long ball into the Ballymahon goalmouth was palmed down by keeper, Dean Reilly and the inrushing Mark Rossiter make no mistake by finishing to the net. Killashee were now ahead, 2-6 to 0-11, for the first time since the opening minutes.
Mark Connor helped Ballymahon regain the lead with points from two close in frees in the 55th and 56th minutes.
In an exciting finish, the pendulum once again swung back in St Brigid’s favour as Dylan Farrell (free) and Mark Rossiter slotted over the points which left them 2-8 to 0-13 up as the game drifted into stoppage time.
Ballymahon refused to fling in the white towel though and Connor, who ended the match with seven points to his credit, popped over the equaliser.
BALLYMAHON: Dean Reilly; Matt Daly, James Daly, Wayne Higgins; James Kenny, Sean McMullen 0-1, Brian Nevin; Kevin Diffley 0-1, John Nevin 0-1; Ros Claffey, Aaron Nally 0-1, Joe Nevin 0-1; Eddie Noonan 0-2, Mark Connor 0-7, Thomas Mulvihill.
Subs: Ken Lovell, Cian Tighe for J Nevin (black card).
ST BRIGID’S KILLASHEE: Pat Farrell; Shane Cosgrove, Quentin Lee, John Lee; Darren Cosgrove, Keelan Cox, Enda McPartland; Ogie Campbell, Craig Gorman; Mick Magan, Dylan Farrell 1-1, Jack Magan; Mark Rossiter 1-2, Ger Evans, Francis Dolan 0-4.
Subs used: Cillian Lee 0-1, Mel Shanley, Diarmuid Hegarty.
REFEREE: Hugh O'Kane