Longford Leader Division 1 Football League

Mullinalaghta St. Columba's player John Keegan lets the ball go as Killoe Young Emmets player Eugene Clarke looks on during the All County Football League Division 1 game on Friday evening of last week at Emmet Park. Photo: Ray Donlon

Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s maintained their impressive unbeaten start in the Division 1 Football League with a deserved two point victory over Killoe at Emmet Park on Friday night last – a fourth win on the trot for Gerry Fox’s side.

It wasn’t until four minutes from time that Mullinalaghta went in front with a goal from county minor David McGivney and a point from another county minor Rian Brady just before the end sealed the win.

The two players, among the St. Columba’s substitutes, were exceptional when they won the All-Ireland Senior Vocational Schools title with Cnoc Mhuire, Granard and made a big difference when they were brought on.

It was the Killoe side who started the game well and whilst St. Columba’s had their chances too it took them a while to register scores. Sean McCormack fired over the first point in the 2nd minute and two minutes later John Kiernan got Killoe’s second point.

In the 10th minute Mullinalaghta had a chance to get their first score but Conor McElligott’s effort was well held by Killoe keeper Cillian Burns. Two frees in quick succession from Sean McCormack put Killoe ahead by four points in the 14th minute.

St. Columba’s then enjoyed a dominant spell but for all their possession they couldn’t put many scores on the board. The visitors kept creating chances and finally got their first score in the 23rd minute when Kevin Mulligan pointed a free.

Two minutes later they were awarded a penalty after Cian Farrelly brought down Gary Rogers in the square/ Rogers stepped up and took the penalty but it was brilliantly saved by Killoe keeper Cillian Burns and the rebound fell to Rogers who put the ball over the bar.

After weathering the storm Killoe got their fifth point in the 27th minute; Sean McCormack the provider for Denis McGoldrick to shoot over the bar. Right before the break St. Columba’s cut the gap to two points again (0-5 to 0-3) when Kevin Mulligan pointed his second free.

The Mullinalaghta side made a good start to the second half and within the opening 10 minutes were back on level terms. In the 37th minute Kevin Mulligan converted a free and then three minutes later great fielding from Ruairi McElligott led to Mulligan slotting over his fourth point to leave the sides all square.

Good goalkeeping from Mullinalaghta netminder Luke Meehan prevented Sean McCormack from putting his side ahead again in the 41st minute but the county player was on target minutes later with another free. It was developing into a shoot-out between Sean McCormack and Kevin Mulligan with both players again on target in a real ding-dong battle.

Points from Denis McGoldrick and Sean McCormack (free) put Killoe ahead by two in the 54th minute but that was to be their last scores as St. Columba’s staged a late rally. In the 57th minute they went ahead for the first time when David McGivney found the back of the net from Ruairi McElligott’s perfect ball in. Mullinalaghta could have grabbed another goal two minutes later but Rian Brady’s effort clipped the bar and went over but it was enough to clinch a significant win over the county champions.

KILLOE: Cillian Burns; Cian Farrelly, Damien Bratten, Ronan Keogh; Shane Dowd, Padraig McCormack, Darragh Bennett; Paddy Thompson, Joe McCormack; Shane Clarke, Eugene Clarke, Denis McGoldrick (0-2); John Kiernan (0-1), Sean McCormack (0-6, four frees), Michael Quinn.

Sub:- Paddy Hughes for E Clarke (46 mins).

MULLINALAGHTA: Luke Meehan; Bernard Donohoe, Thomas McCabe, Francis Mulligan; Simon Cadam, James McGivney, Shane Mulligan; Ruairi McElligott, John Keegan; Conor McElligott, JJ Matthews, Mel Dermody; Eric Sullivan, Gary Rogers (0-1), Kevin Mulligan (0-6, four frees).

Subs:- David McGivney (1-0) for M Dermody (13 mins); Rian Brady (0-1) for E Sullivan (42 mins); Aidan McElligott for F Mulligan (46 mins); Aaron Earley for J McGivney (57 mins).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).