Bernard Crawford on the ball for Abbeylara in this tussle with Carrickedmond defender Michael Cahill. Action from the Senior Football Championship first round game last weekend. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Seven points was the difference between the sides in the end in the Senior Football Championship Group 2 game at the Higginstown grounds in Granard on Saturday evening last but for most of the second half there was little between the sides and Carrickedmond had their chances to cut into the slender Abbeylara lead.
Abbeylara . . . 1-10 Carrickedmond . . . 0-6
Carrick were reduced to 14 men in the 46th minute when Rioch Farrell was shown a second yellow card while the Abbeylara goal from Robbie Smyth did not materialise until the 60th minute and he added a point from a free in stoppage time.
With the constant rain during the game the quality was not great and both sides made some errors and took wrong decisions on occasions. It was not pretty but for Abbeylara manager Danny Brady a win is all that matters in the opening championship fixture.
Carrickedmond really put it up to Abbeylara and twice in the first half were in front with Conor Kelly posing problems in the first half. Abbeylara went ahead by two points just before the break and try as they might Carrick were never able to turn that deficit around.
It was the Maurice O’Connor managed Carrickedmond who opened the scoring but Abbeylara replied with points from Conor Berry and Robbie Smyth. Mark McDonnell levelled for Carrickedmond before points were traded between Smyth (free) and John O’Shea.
McDonnell put his side ahead in the 20th minute but Abbeylara were level three minutes later with a fine point from Russell Brady. Another Robbie Smyth free put them in front again in the 27th minute.
Colm P Smyth put Abbeylara ahead by two in the 28th minute and they went in at the break leading by 0-6 to 0-4. One minute into the second half Robbie Smyth was on target again from a free but Carrickedmond cut the gap back to two when goalkeeper David Shannon fired over a ‘45.
Neither side could really dominate possession but Abbeylara got scores when needed. Jason Kelly converted a free in the 41st minute but that was cancelled out by a fine Barry O’Farrell effort one minute later.
Another Kelly free restored Abbeylara’s three point advantage in the 44th minute but Carrickedmond were not finished yet and tried hard to get back into the game. But they were dealt a big blow in the 46th minute when Rioch Farrell was sent-off for a second yellow card offence.
Carrick did their best to get more scores, despite the numerical disadvantage, but some poor finishing allied to a solid Abbeylara defence prevented the south Longford side from registering another score for the remainder of the match.
Abbeylara also created a number of other scoring chances but it was not until near the end that they made the victory secure. Robbie Smyth got the crucial goal in the 60th minute, an excellent finish from the chief marksman, and he then kicked over another free in stoppage time.
ABBEYLARA: Gavin Kelly; Cormac Smyth, James McEntire, Barry Smyth; Cian Brady, Michael McHugh, PJ Masterson; Russell Brady (0-1), Fergal Battrim; Jason Kelly (0-2, frees), Colm P Smyth (0-1), Shane Mahon; Robbie Smyth (1-5, four frees), Conor Berry (0-1), Bernard Crawford.
Subs:- Kieran Mulvihill for S Mahon (33 mins); Mickey O’Connor for B Crawford (40 mins).
CARRICKEDMOND: David Shannon (0-1, ‘45); Enda Farrell, Padraig McGrath, Cathal P Belton; Michael Cahill, Padraig O’Shea, Jonathan Keegan; Sean Kelly (0-1), Barry O’Farrell (0-1); Rioch Farrell, John O’Shea (0-1), Johnny Gerety; Conor Kelly, Mark McDonnell (0-2), Patrick Farrell.
Sub:- Justin McCormack for J Keegan (54 mins).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).