AIB Leinster Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Final
Rhode (Offaly) 0-07 Mullinalaghta St Columba’s (Longford) 1-06
By Kevin Dillon
Longford champions Mullinalaghta are through to a Leinster Senior Club Football Championship Semi-Final after eliminating Offaly champions Rhode in a tense encounter at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park on Sunday.
In a game that only produced fourteen scores, the Longford side managed to hold their nerve and see off the Offaly kingpins, and are now just one game away from becoming the first ever Longford side to qualify for a Leinster senior club championship final.
The game was slow to get going, but Jayson Matthews hit the target after seven minutes to put Mullinalaghta in front. After fifteen minutes Rian Brady pointed a free to extend that lead to two.
Rhode were hit with a hammer blow when former Offaly star Brian Darby was then given a straight red card for a challenge on James McGivney after eighteen minutes. That seemed to push Rhode on even more, and two points from Darren Garry and Niall McNamee brought the scores back level.
Rhode took the lead with two minutes to go until half-time, but Rian Brady managed to level proceedings just before the break, leaving the two sides even at the break, 0-03 to 0-03.
A Niall McNamee free early in the second-half put Rhode in front, and Rhode were disallowed a goal from Anton Sullivan for a square-ball after thrity-eight minutes. From the kick-out, Mullinalaghta made it up the field quickly, and Jayson Matthews drove a shot to the back of the net past Ken Garry in the Rhode goal.
Points from Anton Sullivan for Rhode and Gary Rogers for Mullinalaghta kept the margin at two, before Niall McNamee pointed a free after 47 minutes to cut the deficit to one.
With ten minutes to go, John Keegan pointed for Mullinalaghta to extend the gap to two, and with a minute of normal time remaining, wing-back Donal McElligott came up the field and scored a point to put Mullinalaghta three up.
But there was six minutes of additional time, and crucially, Rhode’s key man Niall McNamee was forced off the field through injury. Ruairi McNamee pointed a free to cut the gap to two, but Mullinalaghta’s defence stayed strong in the final few minutes to seal the win.
Mullinalaghta St Columba’s
Patrick Rogers, Simon Cadam, Patrick Fox, Francis Mulligan, Donal McElligott (0-01), Shane Mulligan, Conan Brady, David McGivney, John Keegan (0-01), Gary Rogers (0-01), James McGivney, Aidan McElligott, Jayson Matthews (1-01), Rian Brady (0-02, 0-01 f), Brendan Fox
SUBS – Michael Cunningham for D McElligott (TEMP) (34-38 mins), Micheal Cunningham for Brendan Fox (40 mins), Conor McElligott for J Matthews (63 mins)
Ken Garry, Eoin Rigney, Jake Kavanagh, James McPadden, Darren Garry (0-01), Brian Darby, Niall Darby, Alan McNamee, Conor McNamee, Paul McPadden (0-01), Paraic Sullivan, Dylan Kavanagh, Ruairi McNamee (0-01 f), Anton Sullivan (0-01), Niall McNamee (0-03 f)
SUBS – Shane Lowry for Paraic Sullivan (56 mins), Mark Rigney for A Sullivan (63 mins), Gareth McNamee for N McNamee (64 mins)
Referee – Cormac Reilly (Meath)