Mullinalaghta comprehensively brushed aside the disappointing challenge of Shroid Slashers to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Junior Football Championship.
This crucial final round fixture in the group stage was played at the Shroid grounds on Wednesday evening last and it was the St. Columba’s second string who dominated the majority of the game.
Shroid did have goal chances in the second half to get back into the game but as well as poor shooting, the Mullinalaghta keeper David O’Rourke pulled off some fine saves to keep his net intact.
A free from Shroid’s Thomas McDonagh within the first minute of the game opened the scoring and it was the only time that the solely junior club were in front. James Fitzsimons levelled matters in the 4th minute from a free.
St. Columba’s then fired over four points in a row to open up a comfortable lead before Shroid had a goal chance which went wide. Ultan O’Hara put five between the sides in the 23rd minute before Padraic Ryan got Shroid’s second point in the 24th minute.
Three minutes from the break, Mullinalaghta went even further ahead with a goal from Dermot McCabe and another James Fitzsimons free left the north Longford side in a commanding 1-7 to 0-2 lead at half-time.
Dermot McCabe landed a point a minute into the second half and moments later Thomas McDonagh converted a free for Shroid. In the 37th minute John Joe Nevin had a goal chance but his effort was saved by Mullinalaghta keeper David O’Rourke and the breaking ball was put over the bar by Padraic Ryan.
Shroid created another goal chance in the 44th minute but the St. Columba’s netminder O’Rourke made a fine save from Nevin and then Paul Rushe.
Four more Mullinalaghta points followed from Ultan O’Hara, David Donohoe, James Fitzsimons and Patrick Reilly as they ran out easy winners in knocking a poor Shroid side out of the Junior Championship.
MULLINALAGHTA ST. COLUMBA’S: David O’Rourke; Aidan Brady, Thomas McCabe, James Rogers; Michael Cunningham (0-1), Seamus Corcoran, Myles Matthews; Ciaran Keogh, David Donohoe (0-3); Liam Reilly, Brendan Fox, Ben Cusworth; James Fitzsimons (0-4, 2 frees), Dermot McCabe (1-1), Ultan O’Hara (0-2).
Subs:- Patrick Reilly (0-1) for L Reilly (38 mins); Enda Rabbitte for B Cusworth (48 mins); Frankie Sullivan for D McCabe (48 mins); Thomas Fox for J Fitzimons (55 mins).
SHROID SLASHERS: Jason Wykes; Johnny Dunne, Michael Joyce, Declan Gannon; Damien Dunne, Eamon Wall, Mel McArdle; Barry O’Connor, Thomas McDonagh (0-2, 2 frees); Padraic Ryan (0-2), Davy Mulligan, Paul Rushe; Aaron Flaherty, John Joe Nevin, Dylan Ryan.
Subs:- Shane Gilraine for M Joyce (half-time), Gary Gilchrist for JJ Nevin (46 mins).
Referee: Emmet Masterson (Dromard).