Cashel booked their place in the Mulleady Group Intermediate Football Championship quarter-finals with a deserved 3-8 to 2-7 win over Sean Connolly’s on Sunday afternoon at Allen Park.
The defeat leaves the Ballinalee side facing a championship relegation play-off against Grattan Og.
Mulleady Group Longford Intermediate Football Championship Group 1 - Round 3: Cashel 3-8 Sean Connolly's 2-7
Both sides knew what they needed coming into this game; a win for either side meant a place in the quarter-finals while the losers were in a relegation battle.It was that simple.
Cashel’s two first half goals were crucial for them. Connolly’s will feel that they were poor goals to concede and proved very costly.
Twice in the opening ten minutes Connolly’s were in front with points from Stephen Lynch and Eugene Murtagh.
Once Cashel scored their first goal in the 14th minute they took a stranglehold of proceedings; Stephen Weafer with a good delivery into the area and Luke Casey finished to the net to give Cashel the lead for the first time.
Padraig Farrell kicked over a neat point in the 19th minute and four minutes later Connolly’s keeper brought off a fine save to tip Conor Flood’s effort over the bar.
In the 24th minute Cashel extended their lead to eight points, 2-4 to 0-2, when Padraig Farrell scored their second goal.
Connolly’s needed points and Trevor Murtagh hit over a good point in the 26th minute and just before the break Daniel Reynolds added a converted free to leave them six points adrift at the interval: 2-4 to 0-4.
A good point from James Skelly in the first minute of the second half put Cashel ahead by seven. Connolly’s though were back in the game two minutes later when Sean Kenny got a vital touch to Reynolds’ free and it the ball ended up in the back of the net.
The next score was going to be important and it was Corey Carberry who scored that for Cashel in the 41st minute. The hard working Andrew Farrell played a good ball into Padraig Farrell in the 51st minute and he restored his side’s six point advantage, 2-7 to 1-4.
The game was then held up for a number of minutes due to an injury to Connolly’s player Frank Reynolds.
When the game restarted it was Cashel who got the next score. James Skelly - who played very well when he came on as a substitute - shot low to the net to put nine points between the sides and it looked like no way back for Connolly’s, 3-7 to 1-4.
Trevor Murtagh hit over a neat point for Connolly’s in the 60th minute. In stoppage time Daniel Reynolds kicked over two frees. Skelly replied with an excellent point for Cashel, 3-8 to 1-7.
Right before the full-time whistle Connolly’s were awarded a penalty which Gregory Masterson dispatched to the twine.
It mattered little to the scoreline, however, as Cashel advanced in the championship and Connolly’s prepare for the relegation play-off.
CASHEL: Shane Bannon; Mel Farrell, Ronan Muldoon, Ronan Farrell; Casey Weafer, Ciaran Killian, Stephen Weafer; Luke Casey (1-0), Andrew Farrell; Eoin Flood, Conor Flood (0-1), Kevin Farrell (0-1 free); Brian Kelly, Padraig Farrell (1-3), Gary Kenny.
Subs: James Skelly (1-2) for S Weafer (25 mins), Corey Carberry (0-1) for C Weafer (40 mins), Daniel Casey for K Farrell (49 mins)
SEAN CONNOLLY’S: Fergal Brady; John McKenna, Thomas Keogh, Kevin Reynolds; Paddy Reynolds, Brendan Treacy, Gregory Masterson (1-0 penalty); Evan Tully, Trevor Murtagh (0-2); Stephen Lynch (0-1), Eugene Murtagh (0-1), Cian Coyle; Daniel Reynolds (0-3 frees), Sean Kenny (1-0), Daire Duggan.
Subs: Frank Reynolds for E Tully (19 mins), Stephen Murtagh for F Brady (half-time), Conor Blessington for E Murtagh (44 mins), E Murtagh for F Reynolds inj (58 mins), Sean Farrell for S Kenny (60+3 mins)
REFEREE: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers)