Penalty goal decisive as Mullinalaghta take title

A spirited display from Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s earned them a deserved win over Granard St. Mary’s in the Reserve Football League Division 2 Final at Lynch Park in Abbeylara on Sunday last

The two sides had met earlier in the competition with St. Mary’s winning that game by seven points. It was a changed team for Granard in the final and St. Columba’s exacted revenge in the best possible way as they played some good football throughout the game.

Mullinalaghta had plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges but they could not get scores on the board; they kicked three wides in a row in the first five minutes. In the seventh minute they were handed the opportunity to open the scoring when they were awarded a penalty. Enda Rabbitte got the better of his marker Michael O’Donnell but his goalbound effort was cleared by Patrick Kelly, the ball came back out to Rabbitte and he was taken down. Gary Rogers duly dispatched the penalty to the net.

Granard had a goal chance in the 14th minute but Adam Cunningham’s shot came off the post. Their first score of the game came two minutes later from wing-back Paddy McGivney. But St. Columba’s restored their three point advantage with a nice point from Gary Rogers after good play between Simon Cadam and James Rogers.

Points were then traded between Ian Small and Gary Rogers (free) before Granard took a hold of proceedings. James Cassidy pointed in the 21st minute before Timmy Jackson had an opportunity to find the back of the net but he hit the sidenetting.

Peter Sheridan’s free in the 24th minute cut St. Columba’s lead to one point. Granard thought they had equalised in the 27th minute through Cassidy. The umpire signalled it wide, referee Michael O’Brien overturned the decision but after consulting with his official decided not to award the point.

But St. Mary’s got back on level terms just before the break with a point from Micheal Murray and right on the stroke of half-time Murray edged them in front, 0-6 to 1-2.

Another Gary Rogers free two minutes after the break levelled matters but Granard went back in front with a well-taken score from Ian Small and an Adam Cunningham free in the 44th minute extended their lead to two. But Rogers was keeping St. Columba’s in the game and another free in the 48th minute left just one between the sides.

Three minutes later Rogers was on the mark again scoring a fantastic point to leave the game all square and it was all to play for. Another Rogers point one minute later edged them back in front but substitute Philip O’Hara equalised for Granard in the 54th minute.

That was to be St. Mary’s last score of the game as the Mullinalaghta side finished strong in the closing stages. A brace of scores from Brendan Fox in quick succession gave them a two point advantage and Rogers (free) extended the advantage to three on the stroke of full-time after he was fouled.

Granard knew that only a goal would rescue this game for them. Michael Murray burst through but instead of passing to substitute Sean O’Flaherty, who was in a good position, he played the ball straight into the hands of an opposing player. St. Columba’s were reduced to 14 men right at the end when Pat Reilly received a straight red card but it didn’t take the gloss of a good win.

MULLINALAGHTA ST. COLUMBA’S: Frank Sullivan; Dan Lynch, Christy Reilly, Sean Corcoran; Pat Reilly, Thomas McCabe, Myles Matthews; Simon Cadam, Mel Dermody; Enda Rabbitte, Conor McElligott, Karl Dermody; James Rogers, Gary Rogers (1-7, four frees), Brendan Fox (0-2)

Sub: - Ciaran Keogh for K Dermody (60 mins).

GRANARD ST. MARY’S: Eoghan Mallon; Patrick Kelly, Brian Sheridan, Jody Connolly; Micheal O’Donnell, Bernard Clyne, Paddy McGivney (0-1); James Cassidy (0-1), Charlie Martin; James Hynes, Ian Small (0-2), Micheal Murray (0-2); Peter Sheridan (0-1, free), Timmy Jackson, Adam Cunningham (0-1 free).

Subs:- Philip O’Hara (0-1) for P Sheridan; Jody Sheridan for A Cunningham; Sean O’Flaherty for C Martin; Edmund Kelly for P Kelly.

Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).