Dromard stifle Connolly's for a place in 2007 Senior County Final

November 7, 2018

Dromard booked their spot in the Connolly cup decider for the second time in three years after overcoming one of their toughest hurdles to date against spirited Connollys. With a large attendance at Pearse Park, both sets of players took time to settle but no one could doubt the determination and want of either side.

Francis McGee, John Sheridan, Padraig Jones and Peter Masterson were all prominent for the North Longford outfit while Adrian Dalton, Martin Brady and Brendan Treacy battled throughout for the gallant losers.

2005 champions Dromard, who have Armagh legend Kieran McGeeney in an advisory role at the club, went into the game as favourites following their recent fine run of form. Dromard made one change from the team that outclassed Killoe, miracle man and inspirational leader Cathal Conefrey making his return to football after a four month lay off after a torn cruciate ligament that usually take up to twelve months to heal.

Connollys on the other hand have won many supporters this year with the heart and character they have shown throughout the championship. The victory over Ballymahon has been the highlight of the year with awesome battling qualities bringing the Balinalee men through.

With neither side settling early on it came as no surprise that the strong crowd had to endure a twelve-minute wait for the first score. Connollys produced that first effort after twelve minutes, Paddy O’Neill duly pointing from close range after a foul on Shane Carrigy. Connollys could have then had the first goal of the game after sixteen minutes only for Niall Vance to superbly block down a certain Paddy O’Neill goal effort.   

Connollys had several chances to up their tally but failed to do so and kicked six poor first half wides before Francis McGee landed Dromard’s first point of the half after twenty five minutes, deadly accurate McGee tapping over a close range free. And Dromard took the lead for the first time in the twenty-eighth minute, Jamesie Martin kicking a free after he himself was dragged to the ground.

However, Connollys ensured they went into the half time break on level terms when Martin Brady landed a wonderfully struck forty-five yard free. That was to be the last play of a dull and drab first half, the sides going into the break at 0-2 apiece.

Drab and dull wasn’t to be the case for the second half though, with Connollys lightening up the Park with a goal inside twenty-five seconds. Straight from the throw in Adrian Dalton found Mark Diffley who in turn did excellently well to find the on rushing Martin Brady who bundled the ball into the back of the net after a slight fumble. Nevertheless Brady hit the back of the net to put Connollys in control once again.

Adrian Dalton managed to get his first score of the game after four minutes of second half action, the highly impressive running midfielder sticking an exceptional free to make it a four point game with the second half in its youth. And Connollys were on a roll at this stage when Shane Carrigy decided to get in on the scoring with a fine point after great team play.

With Connollys threatening to run away with the game Dromard needed a leader to step up and that leader came in the shape of Mr. Dependable Francis McGee who popped up to slot over a magnificently executed individual point for his sides first point after seven minutes.

Two minutes later Dromard reduced the gap to four when Peter Masterson, who moved to midfield for the second half to great effect, split the posts with a well struck point following one of his trademark surging runs. Momentum was definitely with Dromard now and McGee had his second point in two minutes, this time cutting inside the Connollys defence and slotting over, leaving three players in his wake for what was the score of the game.

McGee was certainly coming to the fore during the second half and had his fourth point of the affair after fifteen minutes, the kicking ace finishing a great move that involved Padraig Jones and John Sheridan. McGee then managed to kick his fourth point on the trot one minute later when he sent a thirty-five yard free right between the posts to level things up once more.

Dromard were inevitably going to take the lead and did so with seven minutes remaining, Cian Mimnagh slipped in to notch his first score of the game but a vital one no doubt. Substitute Graham Owns made a welcome impact during his entrance and capped off a spirited performance with a well taken point to open the lead to two points with just five minutes remaining.  

Connollys to their credit kept battling away and reduced the deficit to just a single score when Martin Brady kicked fine long range point. Connollys then had the chance to level the game one-minute into injury time when they got a thirty-five yard free. However, Adrian Dalton devastatingly pulled his kick wide which signalled the end the brave Connollys championship for another year but they have certainly played a major part in this terms battle for supremacy.

As for Dromard, they had to battle all the way to victory when maybe a draw would have been a fair result in this game of two halves. And with Cathal Conefrey making his comeback and Francis McGee on top form things are certainly looking up after that dreadful start to the year.

And just a note for the final proceeding. Dromard have appeared in three county final and brought the Connolly home on those three occasions, omens look good but can they maintain their 100% record. Of course only time will tell us that answer but an intriguing derby affair awaits all patrons.

DROMARD: Damien Sheridan, David Pettit, Padraig Jones, Niall Vance; Kevin Donohoe, Peter Masterson, John Sheridan; Noel Reynolds, Enda McEntire, Donal Sheridan, James Martin (0-1), Cian Mimnagh (0-1), Donie Conefrey, Francis McGee (0-6, two frees), Cathal Conefrey.

SUBS USED:- Peadar Faughnan; Paul McEntire; Graham Owns (0-1); Padraig Martin.

SEAN CONNOLLY’S: James McKenna; Andy McNamee, Paddy McDonnell, Brendan Treacy; Paddy O’Neill (0-1, free), Michael McGlynn, Eamon McEvoy; Adrian Dalton (0-1, free), Ciaran MacEoin; Padraig Brady, Shane Carrigy (0-1), Trevor Murtagh; Martin Brady (1-2, one free), Mark Diffley, Eugene Murtagh.

SUB USED:- Enda Dalton.

REFEREE: Aidan Dowler (Moydow Harpers).