Athlone Community College came into this Leinster Colleges A quarter final as hot favourites but St Mary’s of Edenderry, with a strong Kildare contingent, the All Ireland champions were well aware of the scale of the challenge that faced them at St Lomans GAA grounds last Thursday afternoon, writes Kevin Egan.
Leinster Colleges Senior A Football Championship quarter final
St Mary’s, Edenderry: 1-8
Athlone Community College: 0-8
However despite lining out with only six of last year’s All Ireland winning XV, St Marys proved that they are a leading contender for Leinster glory again this year with a solid defensive display on the astroturf surface in Mullingar.
A strong breeze blew down towards the road end of the ground and St Mary’s had to face into that wind in the first half, but they made light of that handicap in the early stages, scoring through Ódhran Lawton and Peter Kennedy. An Eoin McCormack ’45 got ACC off the mark in the seventh minute and they played some excellent football up until the quarter hour mark, accumulating an 0-4 to 0-2 lead.
St Mary’s got back on top for the second quarter of the game and this period was to prove crucial. Daniel Pyke was fouled after fielding a long ball and while it looked to most observers as if the Balyna player was in the area when he was brought down, referee Conor Dourneen awarded a 14m free, which was converted.
A period of defensive play followed before Cein McMonagle put the champions in a great position with a 24th minute goal.
Despite McMonagle’s strong performance at full forward, St Mary’s struggled to fully exploit the wind in the second half and after the sides exchanged points in the first ten minutes, ACC began to get on top with around the middle of the field and they finally drew level in the 55th minute.
St Mary’s manager Emmet McDonnell was forced to bring on Ruairí McNamee, who was clearly hampered by a knee injury, but the young Rhode player was critical in pushing his team over the line. He scored one left footed point and set up another for McMonagle in the closing stages to secure the victory, sandwiched either side of another McMonagle free kick that he himself earned with a strong run down the left wing.
St Mary’s Edenderry, C McMonagle 1-4 (0-3f), O Lawton 0-1, P Connelly 0-1, S Doran 0-1, R McNamee 0-1
Athlone Community College: E McCormack 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 ’45), R Daly 0-2 (0-1f), K Bannon 0-1, E Fallon 0-1,
ST MARYS EDENDERRY:
Cormac Hurley; Adam Mahon, Michael Kearney, Darren Leech; Sam Doran, Seán Moriarty, Dara Kennedy; Ryan Caffrey, Luke Flynn; Mikey Cleere, Cein McMonagle, Peter Connelly; Ian McKeon, Ódhran Lawton, Daniel Pyke. Subs: Glen Doran for Kennedy, Jack Morrin for Lawton, Ruairí McNamee for Connelly.