Clonguish and Mullinalaghta finish all square

A well-taken point from Kevin Mulligan earned Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s a deserved draw against Clonguish (minus the services of Paul Barden and Enda Williams) in the All County Football League Division 1 clash at Allen Park on Sunday last.

Playing in just his second match since he returned from his travels, Mulligan found the target with an excellent score right on the stroke of normal time. St. Columba’s had a chance to claim the win deep into injury-time but James McGivney was unlucky to see his free curl the wrong side of the post.

It was a very evenly matched contest with very little between the sides who will meet again in the opening round of the Senior Championship. On the balance of play St. Columba’s just edged it but they were guilty on a few occasions of squandering some good scoring chances.

In a tight first-half the sides were level on four occasions. It was St. Columba’s who opened the scoring. A long ball out of defence from Donal McElligott found JJ Matthews and he pointed in the 5th minute but Paddy Dowd replied for Clonguish one minute later. James McGivney put the visitors back in front before Dowd turned provider for Kevin Burke to level matters in the 8th minute.

St. Columba’s were back in front in the 10th minute courtesy of a Gary Rogers score but once again Clonguish levelled; this time Stephen Watters pointing.

Shane Mulligan had a great chance to put Mullinalaghta back in front in the 18th minute but he fisted his effort wide of the goals. A free from Paddy Dowd put Clonguish ahead for the first time in the game one minute later but an excellent score from Donal McElligott levelled matters for the fourth time in the 21st minute.

Derek Duggan had a goal chance for Clonguish in the 28th minute but St. Columba’s keeper Patrick Rogers did very well to deny the full-forward. One minute later Clonguish went in front again. Stephen Watters played the ball off to Darren Quinn who had made a fantastic burst up the field and he pointed. Derek Duggan put two between the sides two minutes into injury-time but right on the stroke of half-time Kevin Mulligan pointed a free after JJ Matthews was fouled to leave just the minimum of margins separating the sides at the break.

Three minutes into the second half and the sides were all square again when Gary Rogers landed a nice point for St. Columba’s. Clonguish replied with two points in quick succession from Stephen McLoughlin and Darren Quinn.

But then St. Columba’s began to get on top and two fine points from JJ Matthews levelled the game. After John Keegan put Mullinalaghta ahead in the 44th minute Clonguish replied with Paddy Dowd converting a free; their first point in 10 minutes of play.

St. Columba’s went down the other end and a free from James McGivney edged them in front in the 49th minute and they were unlucky not to add to their tally two minutes later. Shane Mulligan played a lovely ball into JJ Matthews but the nifty forward was denied a goal by an excellent save from veteran goalkeeper Martin McHugh.

In the 51st minute another free from Paddy Dowd brought the sides level before St. Columba’s had another goal chance but James McGivney’s low shot was stopped by Clonguish defender Brendan Burke. The game then swung in the home side’s favour in the 58th minute when David Barden was fouled and Paddy Dowd pointed the resulting free.

St. Columba’s substitute Simon Cadam was unlucky to see his effort go wide one minute later as the Mullinalaghta side worked hard to try and get an equaliser. Their perseverance paid off two minutes later when Kevin Mulligan fired over a point.

Deep into additional time St. Columba’s had chances to snatch the win. In the 62nd minute Paddy Dowd was back defending to stop Simon Cadam’s effort and in the 64th minute they had a great opportunity to claim a last gasp victory but James McGivney saw his free from about 30 metres out just go agonisingly wide.

CLONGUISH: Martin McHugh; Brendan Burke, Anthony Watters, Brendan Devine; Darren Quinn (0-2), David Barden, Padraig Cooney; Stephen Watters (0-1), David Faughnan; Stephen McLoughlin (0-1), Paddy Dowd (0-5, four frees), Kevin Burke (0-1), Stephen Norton, Derek Duggan (0-1), Colin Clarke.

Subs:- Padraig Corcoran for C Clarke (10 mins); Eoin O’Kane for P Corcoran (40 mins); Ciaran Corcoran for E O’Kane (59 mins); Daniel Keenan for K Burke (60 mins).

MULLINALAGHTA ST. COLUMBA’S: Patrick Rogers; Bernard Donohoe, Francis Mulligan, Conan Brady; James Rogers, Donal McElligott (0-1), Shane Mulligan; Ruairi McElligott, John Keegan (0-1); Conor McElligott, JJ Matthews (0-3), Mel Dermody, James McGivney (0-2, one free), Gary Rogers (0-2), Kevin Mulligan (0-2, one free).

Subs:- David Donohoe for C McElligott (16 mins); Simon Cadam for M Dermody (38 mins); Seamus Corcoran for B Donohoe 52mins.

Referee: Hugh O’Kane (Longford Slashers).