A well-taken goal from corner-forward Gary Maguire just before the break proved to be the decisive score as Dromard held out to beat Mostrim in the Reserve Football League Division 1 Final at the Colmcille GAA grounds, McGee Park on Saturday evening last.
Maguire was a constant threat in the Dromard attack in ending up with 1-3 to his credit and with Donal Sheridan a dominant figure at centrefield, the north Longford side had established a commanding 1-8 to 0-3 lead entering the final quarter of the contest.
But Mostrim eventually got their act together in a staging a very determined comeback that yielded seven points in a row through Alan O’Hara (four frees), Matthew Kelly and Niall Quinn (2) and just the minimum of margins separated the sides in the finish.
It was a close call for Dromard in the end as time ran out for Mostrim who left it too late to make the desired impact and their cause was certainly not helped by the absence of the injured Michael Kenny while also missing were Fintan Coyle and John Cullen who were ruled out due to suspension.
Showing the greater urgency for most of the game, Dromard deserved their success and had much the better of the exchanges in the first half to lead by 1-5 to 0-3 at the break. Bernard Sheridan produced a penetrating run through the Mostrim defence to create the clear-cut opportunity for Gary Maguire to fire home the crucial goal in the 29th minute.
Enda Macken, Maguire (free), Ciaran McStay (an excellent effort), Noel Reynolds and B Sheridan (free) registered the five first half points for Dromard who could have been even further in front at the break as Enda Macken had a goal attempt deflected out for a ‘45’ in the 19th minute.
All three Mostrim scores came from frees converted by Alan O’Hara and the second half was only a minute old when Dromard increased their advantage with a disputed point from the boot of Macken with Edgeworthstown adamant that the ball was wide in protesting with the umpires.
This was a tight decision and things got even better for Dromard with a brace of points from Gary Maguire, the first from a free while the second was a cracking strike from play in the 39th minute.
But the eventual winners of the league title failed to register another score during the remainder of the game as Mostrim gradually closed the gap with substitute Matthew Kelly in the full-forward-line and midfielder Niall Quinn making their presence felt.
Kelly and Quinn (twice) both got their names on the scoresheet in the exciting finish when on target from play while Alan O’Hara converted another four frees in the Mostrim revival that almost forced the final into extra-time.
Another Edgeworthstown substitute Brian Noonan had a hopeful goal attempt blocked down in the 46th minute as the comeback got under way and Dromard were very relieved indeed to hear the sound of the final whistle a couple of minutes into stoppage time.
DROMARD: Sean McNerney; Enda Kiernan, Padraic McNerney, James Conefrey; Peadar Faughnan, Kevin Donohoe, Conor Duffy; James Mimnagh, Donal Sheridan; Ciaran McStay (0-1), Bernard Sheridan (0-1, free), Michael Reilly; Enda Macken (0-2), Noel Reynolds (0-1), Gary Maguire (1-3, two points from frees).
Subs:- Paul McEntire for M Reilly (44 mins); Padraig Jones for C McStay (53 mins).
MOSTRIM: Michael O’Hara; Damien Moran, John Lynam, Brian Smith; John Skelly, Cathal Smith, Ciaran Gallagher; Niall Quinn (0-2), John Coyle; Darren Bloomer, Sean Noonan, Adrian McLoughlin; Andy Kelly, Alan O’Hara (0-7, all frees), Luke Kenny.
Subs:- Matthew Kelly for J Coyle (blood 24 mins); M Kelly (0-1) for L Kenny (half-time); Barry Noonan for A McLoughlin (40 mins); Brian Noonan for C Gallagher (injured, 42 mins); Patrick Gallagher for J Lynam (injured, 51 mins).
Referee: Michael Farrell (Ballymahon).