A storming start to the second half proved to be the decisive factor in Dromard’s favour, scoring 1-2 in the space of three minutes, but they then had to withstand a determined comeback by Colmcille in the Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Pearse Park on Saturday evening last.
Just a solitary point separated the sides in the finish with Dromard doing enough to book their place in the semi-final but they almost let the game slip from their grasp as Colmcille never gave up the fight in the clash of the neighbouring rivals that might well have ended up in a draw.
The gallant losers wasted a free with a couple of minutes of normal time remaining - Declan Reilly electing to play the ball short to Paul McKeon who subsequently lost possession - and that eased the pressure on Dromard who were holding a slender 1-10 to 1-8 lead at that late stage.
Colmcille did manage to cut the gap to the minimum of margins in the second minute of stoppage time when Barry McKeon converted a free for his fifth point but the final whistle was blown moments later, much to the relief of Dromard who will have to improve on this patchy performance if they hope to reach the county final for the second year in succession.
Having said that, Enda Macken’s side still managed to survive with both Francis McGee and Cian Mimnagh failing to register a single score (a remarkable fact) but up stepped rising young star Ross Mc Nerney to take on the responsibility of guiding Dromard through to the last four.
Ross, who played underage football for Colmcille before transferring to the next door neighbours, registered the impressive total of 1-6 (five frees) and the crucial goal he got with three minutes gone in the second half gave Dromard the edge in this tight contest.
Excellent work by Francis McGee, who weaved his way through before providing the perfect final pass, presented McNerney with the chance to plant the ball in the back of the net and the chief marksman on this occasion then fired over a free to leave Dromard five points in front, 1-8 to 1-3.
Jamsie Martin also landed a fine score in this dominant spell and Colmcille appeared to be in big trouble. But Dromard failed to push on as their gritty opponents gradually closed the gap with a point apiece from Cathal Reilly, Anthony Gormley and Barry McKeon - the latter on target from a free in the 44th minute.
After getting away with what appeared to be a push in the back on a Dromard opponent, Gormley blasted the ball over the bar when a goal was on and Dromard can thank Ross McNerney for following up with two more vital points - the second a well struck effort from play in the 53rd minute.
Colmcille managed three more scores from there until the finish, a brace from Barry McKeon (frees) with midfielder Fergal Sheridan also shooting over the bar, but Danny Brady’s side were left to rue a number of missed chances in the first half while their cause was certainly not helped by the absence of the injured Padraig Murtagh.
A great opportunity of a goal was squandered by Declan Farrell in the 17th minute while going close to finding the Dromard net were Anthony Gormley (who just failed to get the vital touch in the 20th minute) and Paul McKeon before the break. Paul was put clean through by his brother Barry with only the opposing keeper to beat but Damien Sheridan produced a brilliant point-blank save in stoppage time.
Sheridan made amends for a poor kick-out which led directly to Barry McKeon scoring a cracking goal for Colmcille in the 24th minute and the teams ended up deadlocked at half-time, 1-3 to 0-6.
Dromard were also guilty of some poor finishing with both sides kicking several wides as a shoot-out developed between Barry McKeon (1-5) and Ross McNerney (1-6).
McNerney fired over three frees in the first half while the other Dromard scores came from Declan Mimnagh (2) and Ronan McEntire - all fine efforts from play.
The Colmcille points in the first half were registered by Barry McKeon (two frees) and Paul McKeon, who was on target from play to put his side ahead (1-3 to 0-5) in the 25th minute.
But Declan Mimnagh then kicked a very good point to level matters and once Dromard got the vital scores in the early stages of the second half they never really looked like losing this local derby.
DROMARD: Damien Sheridan; Padraig McNerney, Niall Vance, David Pettit; Peter Reynolds, Paul McGee, Emmet Masterson; Diarmuid Masterson, Ronan McEntire (0-1); Francis McGee, Jamsie Martin (0-1), Ross McNerney (1-6, five points from frees); Declan Mimnagh (0-2), Peter Masterson, Cian Mimnagh.
Subs:- Kevin Donohoe for E Masterson (24 mins); John Sheridan for P Reynolds (45 mins); Padraig Martin for J Martin (47 mins); Bernard Sheridan for P Masterson (55 mins); Noel Reynolds for D Mimnagh (62 mins).
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Paul Kennedy, Ciaran Brady, Noel Farrell; Martin Mulligan, Declan Reilly, Enda Macken; John Paul Reilly, Fergal Sheridan (0-1); Niall Farrelly, Barry McKeon (1-5, all points from frees), Anthony Gormley (0-1); Declan Farrell, Paul McKeon (0-1), Cathal Reilly (0-1).
Subs:- Vinny Hourican for N Farrelly (42 mins); Cormac Hughes for C Reilly (48 mins).
Referee: Patrick Maguire (St. Mary’s Granard).