Colmcille sprang a mild surprise to score a most emphatic win over a disappointing Abbeylara outfit in the Senior Football Championship first round clash at Maguire Park in Ballinalee on Friday evening last and particularly impressive for Gary Brady’s side were the lethal McKeon brothers Barry and Paul who clocked up a total of 1-9 between them.
After Robbie Smyth blasted a penalty over the bar in the 43rd minute, Abbeylara then closed the gap to just two points (1-9 to 1-7) when James McEntire was on target from a tight angle but Colmcille – inspired by their influential playmaker Declan Reilly - completely dominated the final quarter of the contest to emerge victorious with considerable ease in the finish.
Abbeylara were blown away as their slick opponents fired over seven points in a row through Barry McKeon (2), Declan Reilly (free), Darren Mulligan, substitute Shay McKeon (2) and Paul McKeon (free) with Robbie Smyth (free) kicking a consolation score for the losers in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
There was little separating the sides in the first half with a brilliantly struck goal from Barry McKeon in the 9th minute leaving Colmcille leading by 1-2 to 0-3 with both of their points coming from Paul McKeon (free and play) while Jason Kelly (free), Colm P Smyth and Robbie Smyth got the early scores for Abbeylara.
Niall Sheridan had a goal attempt blocked in the 5th minute and Abbeylara eventually found the back of the net in the 29th minute when a foul on Sheridan yielded a penalty that was converted in emphatic fashion by Robbie Smyth who also fired over a free in the first half.
Another brace of points from Paul McKeon (play and free) left Colmcille on level terms at the break, 1-4 to 1-4, and McKeon (free) shot over the bar again in the early stages of the second half after Declan Farrell was denied a goal when his effort hit the crossbar.
A couple of further scores quickly followed from John Paul Reilly and defender Noel Farrell, the latter with a goal there for the taking but he elected to fist the ball over the bar. While Abbeylara hit back with a point from Colm P Smyth, there was a much greater urgency about Colmcille who held a decisive edge at centrefield throughout the game.
Points from frees converted by Declan Reilly and Paul McKeon (who ended up with 0-7 to his credit) left them 1-9 to 1-5 ahead and Abbeylara had a great chance to get right back into contention when a foul on substitute Brian Smyth (set up by Niall Sheridan) resulted in a penalty but Robbie Smyth smacked the spot kick over the bar.
Abbeylara’s inability to get a proper supply of the ball into the dangerman Sheridan contributed to their downfall and the comprehensive manner in which they were eventually beaten is a serious cause for concern in their quest to qualify for the knock-out stages of the championship.
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Padraig Murtagh, Noel Farrell (0-1), Ciaran Brady; Francis Kavanagh, Declan Reilly (0-2, frees), Martin Mulligan; John Paul Reilly (0-1), Enda Farrell; Darren Mulligan (0-1), Declan Farrell, Niall Brady; Michael Kilbride, Paul McKeon (0-7, four frees), Barry McKeon (1-2).
Subs:- Shay McKeon (0-2) for M Kilbride (53 mins); Colin Kiernan for N Brady (61 mins).
ABBEYLARA: Damien O’Connor; Michael McHugh, Fergal Battrim, Cormac Smyth; Michael O’Connor, Arthur O’Connor, James McEntire (0-1); John Kiernan, William Crawford; Eamon Gallagher, Colm P Smyth (0-2), Jason Kelly (0-1, free); Sean Murphy, Niall Sheridan, Robbie Smyth (1-4, goal from penalty, two points from frees, one point from penalty, one point from play).
Subs:- Shane Mahon for J Kiernan (24 mins); Brian Smyth for M McHugh (34 mins); Anthony McBrien for E Gallagher (46 mins); Derek Smyth for J Kelly (51 mins); Jason Earley for S Murphy (53 mins).
Referee: John Hughes (Killoe Young Emmets).