The Sligo Champion - - SPORT - BY EMMA GAL­LAGHER

St Mary’s Stephen Coen in pos­ses­sion as Enda Kivle­han of Coolaney/Mul­linabreena defends dur­ing their Bel­fry Se­nior championship quar­ter fi­nal in Markive­icz Park. Pic: Carl Bren­nan.


ST Mary’s took com­plete con­trol of their Bel­fry Se­nior championship quar­ter fi­nal with Coolaney/ Mul­linabreena in a what was very much a one-sided game in Markievicz Park on Sun­day.

Glenn Young’s St Mary’s showed they are very much con­tenders for this year’s championship with a to­tally com­mand­ing per­for­mance against a strug­gling Coolaney/Mul­linabreena side.

St Mary’s were ram­pant in front of goal, with Rory Guinan, Kyle Caw­ley, Stephen Coen and Mark Bre­heny caus­ing all sorts of trou­ble for the Coolaney/ Mul­linabreena de­fence. St Mary’s cap­tain Ger­ard O’Kelly-Lynch was also impressive, driv­ing many at­tacks which left Coolaney/Mul­linabreena reel­ing.

Lead­ing by five points at the break, An­thony Bren­nan’s side des­per­ately needed a strong start fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion but in­stead St Mary’s crushed any as­pi­ra­tions of a come­back, with two goals in the space of 40 sec­onds spell­ing the end of Coolaney/Mul­linabreena’s run in this year’s championship. A goal from sub­sti­tute Criostóir Davey on 46 min­utes couldn’t bridge the gap as St Mary’s ran out 12 point win­ners in what was a very com­mand­ing per­for­mance from the 2015 cham­pi­ons.

An early St Mary’s at­tack saw Coen’s ef­fort go wide and it was Coolaney/Mul­linabreena who got on the score­board first, through a Shane O’Brien free af­ter Barry Gor­man was fouled in the first minute.

St Mary’s hit their sec­ond wide be­fore Guinan got them off the mark in the third minute and Caw­ley linked up with Coen for their sec­ond, the goal op­por­tu­nity was on with Coen se­lect­ing to take the point.

St Mary’s were win­ning the mid­field bat­tle as the Coolaney/Mul­linabreena kick out was be­ing swept up as St Mary’s started to dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion.

Guinan added two points on the bounce, a free on Coen in the 11th and a fine point from play to put them three in front as St Mary’s could have been fur­ther ahead, hit­ting five wides by the 13th minute.

Their lead in­creased to six points a minute later when mid­fielder Paul Kil­coyne found the net for the game’s first goal, Kil­coyne be­ing fed by the lively Caw­ley to put St Mary’s 1-4 to 0-1 in front.

The hard­work­ing Nathan Mullen was impressive for Coolaney/Mul­linabreena and the half back was through on goal in the 14th minute. A good move in­volv­ing Daniel Davey fed Mullen but his shot was ex­cel­lently saved by Fin­tan Ruddy in the St Mary’s goal. Down the other end it was Eoin McDon­agh in the Coolaney/Mul­linabreena goal who had to pull off a fine save to deny Caw­ley, his shot go­ing over the bar. Coolaney/Mul­linabreena needed to score and this ar­rived through a well-taken Kieran Fi­nan free on 17 min­utes but it was can­celled out by a Bre­heny free a minute later.

Barry Gor­man was threat­en­ing the St Mary’s goal mouth and his at­tempt was fisted out of dan­ger by Ruddy. Stephen Con­nolly found Daniel Davey who pointed a fine score from play which put six be­tween the sides with five min­utes to go to the break. Cap­tain Ray­mond Con­nolly added an­other, Mullen in­volved in the build up as Coolaney/Mul­linabreena looked more set­tled. An­other Bre­heny free was fol­lowed by an ex­cel­lent score by Mullen to make it 1-7 to 0-5 in favour of St Mary’s at half time. If Coolaney/ Mul­linabreena got a dream start to the sec­ond half, the Markievicz Park spec­ta­tors were in for a game but two min­utes af­ter the re­sump­tion it was all over as a con­test. Coen, who was be­ing well marked by Enda Kivle­han, was through early on and saw his chance hit off the post be­fore St Mary’s pounced again through the bril­liant Caw­ley. O’Kelly-Lynch dis­patched to him and Caw­ley hit the net on 31 min­utes to put them into a com­fort­able 2-7 to 0-5 lead.

Coolaney/Mul­linabreena’s hearts sank less than 40 sec­onds later when St Mary’s hit their third goal, they won pos­ses­sion with Coen and Guinan link­ing up with Christo­pher Kelly who smashed the net.

With a lead of 3-7 to 0-5, there was no look­ing back for St Mary’s and Johnny Mar­tyn could have got a fourth but opted to take the point. Coen, Bre­heny and sub­sti­tute Mark McGoldrick kept tap­ping over the scores. Criostóir Davey’s made an im­pact when he was in­tro­duced car­ry­ing an in­jury but the goal was too lit­tle too late as St Mary’s ad­vance to meet Eastern Harps in the semi-fi­nal.

ST MARY’S: F Ruddy, K Coen, L Ni­chol­son, J Mar­tyn (0-1), C Kelly (1-0), B McGarry, G O’Kelly-Lynch, N McManus, P Kil­coyne (1-0), D Kil­gal­lon, M Bre­heny (0-4, 3f), K Caw­ley (1-1), S Coen (0-3), R Guinan (0-4, 2f), C O’Grady. Subs: N Rooney for Kil­gal­lon (36), C Bre­heny for Mar­tyn (40), M McGoldrick (0-2) for Guinan (43), C Darcy for O’Kelly-Lynch (b/c 44), N McDer­mott for Kelly (53), A Lynch for Kil­coyne (b/c 55),

COOLANEY/MUL­LINABREENA: E McDon­agh, S Bar­rett, C Gor­man (0-1), P Gor­man, E Kivle­han, A Cole­man, N Mullen (0-1), B Gor­man, R Con­nolly (0-3, 2f), D McCor­mack, S O’Brien (0-1,1f), S Con­nolly, S Gor­man, D Davey (0-2), K Fi­nan (0-1, 1f). Subs: G Feely for P Gor­man (h/t), C Davey (1-0) for S Gor­man (45), N Con­nolly for S Con­nolly (53), K Doddy for Mullen (inj 58). REF­EREE: B Judge.

Prior to throw-in a minute’s si­lence was ob­served for Mairead Davey and Noirín Caw­ley.

Enda Kivle­han of Coolaney/Mul­linabreena wins pos­ses­sion as St Mary’s Kyle Caw­ley chal­lenges dur­ing the Belry Se­nior championship in Markievicz Park on Sun­day. Pics: Carl Bren­nan.

Coolaney/Mul­linabreena’s De­clan McCor­mack and Sean Gor­man at­tempt to stop Ger­ard O’Kelly-Lynch dur­ing the Bel­fry Se­nior championship quar­ter fi­nal in Markievicz Park on Sun­day.

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