Longford Slashers got their Senior Football Championship campaign off to a most emphatic start when they crushed the challenge of a poor Cashel side in a completely one-sided Group 1 game played at the excellent redeveloped Clonbonny grounds in Lanesboro on Friday evening last.
Peter Hanley Motors Senior Football Championship Group 1, Round 1 - Longford Slashers 1-19, Cashel 0-4
Even though they were without regulars Paul Kelly, Mark Smith, Adrian Murphy, Sean Flynn and Gordon Hourican, Slashers cruised to a very easy win with the wide margin of 18 points separating the sides at the final whistle and on the evidence of this strong display the county champions will be hard stopped in their desire to retain the coveted Connolly Cup.
With the impressive David Sheridan and Niall Mulligan in total control at centrefield, Slashers had built up a commanding 0-10 to 0-3 advantage by the break and continued to assert their superiority in the second half to leave Cashel in a shattered state. The losers were without Aidan and James Rowan, along with the injured Gary Kenny, and are clearly facing a real uphill battle to avoid automatic relegation.
The Cashel attack were restricted to just a solitary score from play and that came from Kieran Mulvihill after two minutes of play. Inspired by the outstanding Dermot Brady and who received great support from Peter Brady and Gareth Ghee, the tough Slashers defence were in a mean mood even though a penalty was conceded in the 40th minute when Barry Gilleran was penalised for a foot block on Mulvihill to prevent a goal.
But Cashel’s tale of woe continued when the competent young Slashers keeper Colm Farrell (still a minor) was at full stretch in producing a great save to keep out Peter Foy’s penalty and it got even worse for the underdogs when Martin Nevin fired home a well-taken goal for the title holders in the 54th minute.
After having a close range shot saved by the opposing keeper Gerard Nealon, corner-forward Nevin made no mistake in finding the back of the net at the second attempt to cap a prominent performance as he also kicked a couple of fine points from play in the early stages of the game.
Also on target for Slashers in the first half were Colin Smith, who converted four frees, with Brian Farrell, Niall Mulligan (2) and David Sheridan also getting their names on the scoresheet while Kieran Mulvihill (2) and Thomas Delaney (free) replied for Cashel.
On the changeover, Slashers stretched their lead with seven points in a row – three from Philip Dobson who made a good impact in the attack in the second half while Martin Tarmey, Colin Smith (free and play) and Trevor Clendenning got the other scores.
Cashel got a consolation point in the 52nd minute when Kieran Mulvihill converted a free but Slashers were not finished yet in showing no mercy and the Martin Nevin goal was followed by a point apiece from substitute Stephen Phillips (brought on late in the game as he continues his recovery from injury) and Brian Farrell to complete the demolition job.
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Colm Farrell; Gareth Ghee, Barry Gilleran, Conor Barrins; Peter Brady, Dermot Brady, Paul Devine; Niall Mulligan (0-2), David Sheridan (0-1); Brian Farrell (0-2), Martin Tarmey (0-1), Trevor Clendenning (0-1); Martin Nevin (1-2), Colin Smith (0-6, five frees), Philip Dobson (0-3).
Subs:- Thomas O’Rourke for C Barrins (48 mins); Ruairi Barrins for P Devine (50 mins); Stephen Phillips (0-1) for C Smith (54 mins).
CASHEL: Gerard Nealon; Ronan Muldoon, Padraig Farrell, Ronan Farrell; Luke Casey, Paul Egan, Kevin Farrell; Gerard Dennigan, Niall Donlon; Colm O’Shea, Thomas Delaney (0-1, free), Keith Carberry; Kieran Mulvihill (0-3, two frees), Kevin Coffey, Peter Foy.
Subs:- Shane Merrigan for L Casey (36 mins); Timmy Donlon for N Donlon (42 mins).
Referee: Stephen Tierney (Mostrim).