A couple of crucial goals earned Ballymahon a well deserved win over a disappointing Colmcille side in the Senior Football Championship Group 2 game at Devine Park, Mostrim on Saturday evening last and the emphatic margin of seven points separated the sides in the finish.
Peter Hanley Motors Senior Football Championship Group 2, Round 1 - Ballymahon 2-9, Colmcille 0-8
Inspired by Kevin Diffley who produced a terrific performance at centre-half-back, the entire Ballymahon team worked extremely hard to achieve this important result and appear to be enjoying a new lease of life under the driving force of new manager Eamon Mahon from Shannonbridge in Co Offaly.
Ballymahon must now be strongly fancied to reach the quarter-final and from the moment Jamsie Farrell found the back of the net in the 11th minute of the first half the pressure was on Colmcille who ended up trailing by 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.
The second half was less than a minute old when Ballymahon scored a second goal with full-forward Alan Hudson flicking the ball to the net after connecting with a centre from Cian Cooney and Colmcille were really rattled.
All they could manage on the changeover was a point from Paul Mc Keon in the 51st minute and Colmcille (coached by Fr. Manning Gaels clubman Gary Brady) will be in serious relegation trouble should they lose their next group fixture against neighbouring rivals Dromard.
To make matters worse their main man Declan C Reilly received a straight red card for lashing out at Eddie Noonan in the 53rd minute and Ballymahon also finished the game with 14 players as Cian Cooney was sent-off after getting a second yellow card in the 51st minute.
While Colmcille made the better start with early points from Barry McKeon (free) and Declan Farrell, Ballymahon got their act together with midfielder Colm Flynn figuring most prominently in the scoring stakes to shoot four points – two frees, a brilliantly struck sideline kick and a tremendous strike from play in the 29th minute.
Blood substitute Eddie Noonan made an immediate impact when landing a point in the 24th minute while Mark Connor was also on target for the Innysiders, getting the opening scoring in the 4th minute. Connor also played a vital part in creating the goal for Jamsie Farrell who was put clean through by the perfect pass from Alan Hudson, the latter making a good impact up front.
The other Colmcille scores in the first half came from Tommy Doyle (2), Barry McKeon, Enda Farrell and Declan C Reilly but that was as good as it got for the north Longford side who flopped completely on the changeover and were unable to match the much greater urgency shown by Ballymahon.
After the Alan Hudson goal right at the start of the second half, Ballymahon protected their comfortable lead and did not register another score until the 45th minute when the lively Jamsie Farrell fired over a great point and then a couple of converted frees followed from Mark Connor and the influential Colm Flynn to finish Colmcille off.
BALLYMAHON: Dean Reilly; Ken Cooney, Ken Lovell, Gareth Murtagh; TJ McArdle, Kevin Diffley, James Kenny; Cian Cooney, Colm Flynn (0-5, three frees, one sideline kick); Thomas Lowry, Mark Lennon, Thomas Lennon; Mark Connor (0-2, one free), Alan Hudson (1-0), Jamsie Farrell (1-1).
Subs:- Eddie Noonan (0-1) for J Farrell (blood, 21 mins); J Farrell for E Noonan (25 mins); E Noonan for T Lennon (47 mins); Thomas Mulvihill for J Farrell (49 mins).
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Ollie McGivney, Noel Farrell, Paul Kennedy; Padraig Murtagh, Francis Kavanagh, Ciaran Brady; Enda Farrell (0-1), Declan C Reilly (0-1); Paul McKeon (0-1), Niall Brady, Tommy Doyle (0-2); Barry McKeon (0-2, one free), Declan Farrell (0-1), Brendan McCabe.
Subs:- Gary Murtagh for P Murtagh (37 mins); Leigh McKeon for N Brady (40 mins).
Referee: Aidan Dowler