SFC Quarter Final: Clonguish v Abbeylara

Clonguish 3-05; Abbeylara 3-04 By Deniese O’Flaherty An excellent point from Paddy Dowd saw Clonguish book their place in the Longford SFC semi-final with a 3-05 to 3-04 win over Abbeylara. Abbey had a chance to earn a draw with the last kick of the game but goalkeeper Damien O’Connor hit a free from 45 metres out wide. Minutes before that he had drawn his side level when his ’45 was flicked to the net by a Clonguish player. Paul Barden was once again in inspirational form for Clonguish, scoring 2-01; his first goal was a stunning strike in the 13th minute. Clonguish were ahead by seven at one stage but credit to Abbey they made a game of it near the end. Both sides finished with 14 men after Conor Shields (Clonguish) and Brian Smyth (Abbeylara) were shown straight red cards in the second half. Clonguish made a great start to the game and in the 5th minute were four ahead with a goal from Ciaran Williams and a well struck ’45 from Barden. Abbey’s first score came in the 9th minute when Fergal Battrim found the back of the net. A free from Robbie Smyth in the 12th minute levelled the game. One minute later Clonguish were back in front thanks to a stunning goal from Barden. Two Conor Berry frees cut the gap to just one point but points from Darren Quinn and Williams gave Clonguish a three point lead at the break. Five minutes into the second half and Clonguish were reduced to 14 men when Conor Shields was shown a straight red. Another Barden goal and a point from Stephen Norton gave the Newtownforbes side a seven point in the 42nd minute. Abbey struggled to make use of their spare man and after 33 minutes without a score Smyth pointed over a free in the 49th minute. Two minutes after Conor Berry goaled to leave three between them. In the 55th minute they were reduced to 14 when Brian Smyth was sent off. Stephen Watters made a good save to deny Berry in the 59th minute but one minute he was beaten by his opposite number O’Connor. It was level going into stoppage time and one minute in Paddy Dowd pointed over an excellent point to edge his side in front. Right at the end Abbey had a chance to level the game but O’Connor free just drifted wide as Clonguish held on for a semi-final meeting with St. Columba’s. Clonguish: Stephen Watters; Brendan Burke, Ronan Sweeney, Ciaran Corcoran; Brendan Devine, Enda Williams, Conor Shields; David Barden, Padraig Cooney; Stephen Norton (0-1), Paul Barden (2-01,’45), Shane O’Brien; Joe O’Brien, Ciaran Williams (1-01), Darren Quinn (0-1) Subs: Paddy Dowd (0-1) for Corcoran (38), Kevin Burke for S O’Brien (58), David Faughnan for K Burke inj (60+2) Abbeylara: Damien O’Connor (1-0); Anthony McBrien, Enda Ledwith, Barry Smyth; Colm P. Smyth, James McEntire, Michael McHugh; Jason Kelly, Fergal Battrim (1-00); Nigel Rabbitt, Robbie Smyth (0-2,1f), Eamonn Gallagher; Shane Mahon, Conor Berry (1-02,1f), Willie Crawford. Subs: Brian Smyth for O’Brien (14), Arthur O’Connor for Rabbitt (52), Sean Murphy for Mahon (57) Referee: Derek Fahy (Ballymore)