Paul Barden was back in action for Clonguish after a few weeks injury absence and was particularly influential in the eventual emphatic win over Colmcille in the Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening last.
Recovering from a broken jaw, Paul created the crucial goal when his perfect pass was finished to the net by David Faughnan in the 25th minute and Clonguish ended up leading by 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.
Colmcille were looking good when they raced into a comfortable 0-6 to 0-2 advantage after 22 minutes with their scores coming from Anthony Gormley, Barry McKeon (two frees), Cathal Reilly and a brace from Paul McKeon, the second of which was a cracking strike after a great catch.
That was really putting it up to Clonguish with Joe O’Brien accounting for their early scores (play and free) in the 6th and 11th minutes while Faughnan went close to getting a goal but the danger was cleared.
Mickey Graham’s side were struggling and had to wait until the 23rd minute for their next score when Kevin Burke set up Joe O’Brien who shot over the bar.
Moments later Colmcille were unlucky not to get another point when a John Paul Reilly effort came back off the upright and they were then hit by a significant blow when David Faughnan scored the only goal.
Two points followed from Ciaran Williams and Kevin Burke as Clonguish, against the run of play, were ahead at half-time and were fortunate when Cathal McCabe had a goal attempt blocked when he should have taken his point in the 28th minute.
There were also costly wides from the McKeon brothers but Colmcille made a strong start to the second half with a point apiece from Cathal Reilly and defender Noel Farrell to get back on level terms.
But when David Barden finally began to make a big impact at centrefield, Clonguish stepped up another couple of gears to fire over seven points in a row in producing probably the best football in this year’s championship.
Prominent wing back Conor Shields started the ball rolling and further points came from David Faughnan and the industrious Kevin Burke before the impressive Joe O’Brien clocked up another three scores (one free).
Paul Barden then got his name on the scoresheet in the 46th minute to leave Clonguish in a commanding 1-12 to 0-8 lead and the best Colmcille could do was one more point from Cathal Reilly in the 49th minute.
Reilly blasted the ball over the bar when a badly needed goal was there for the taking but Clonguish, with Paddy Dowd really making his presence felt in the second half, regained the upper hand to run out surprisingly easy winners in the finish.
The deadly accurate Joe O’Brien, who is enjoying a great championship campaign this season, kicked over three more points (one free) to bring his total to a tremendous 0-9, and corner-back Brendan Burke joined the attack to land the final score of the game in stoppage time.
On the evidence of their excellent second half display, Clonguish will be confident of reaching the county senior football final for the first time since 2011 when they take on Abbeylara on Saturday evening week, September 12th.
CLONGUISH: Mikie McGuinness; Brendan Burke (0-1), Ronan Sweeney, Brendan Devine; Darragh McLoughlin, Anthony Watters, Conor Shields (0-1); David Barden, Peter Hanley; Paddy Dowd, Paul Barden (0-1), Kevin Burke (0-2); Ciaran Williams (0-1), David Faughnan (1-1), Joe O’Brien (0-9, three frees).
Subs:- Stephen Norton for D McLoughlin (half-time); Shane O’Brien for D Faughnan (60 mins).
COLMCILLE: Mark Kiernan; Gerry Mulligan, Ciaran Brady, Enda Macken; Francis Kavanagh, Noel Farrell (0-1), Padraig Murtagh; Declan Reilly, John Paul Reilly; Anthony Gormley (0-1), Cathal Reilly (0-3), Vinny Hourican; Paul McKeon (0-2), Barry McKeon (0-2, frees), Cathal McCabe.
Subs:- Fergal Sheridan for A Gormley (half-time); Cormac Hughes for F Kavanagh (41 mins); Ruairi Harkin for P Murtagh (45 mins); Gary Murtagh for C Brady (black card, 49 mins); Darren Mulligan for JP Reilly (57 mins); Shane Grey for G Murtagh (black card, 58 mins).
Referee: Derek Fahy