Donard off the mark with win over Stratford-Grangecon
DONARD-THE GLEN STR’FORD/G’CON 3-11 1-9
DONARD-THE GLEN picked up their first points in the Darcy Sand Intermediate Football Championship in a glorious Dunlavin on Friday evening last.
Tadgh Fennin’s outfit were put to the pin of thier collar early on by a sensational start by a dynamic Stratford-Grangecon. Goals swung the pendulum back in favour of the Glen men at crucial stages in a highly competitive game.
Pat Lambe’s side got off to a flying start and led by four points to no score after four minutes from a lethal Colin Byrne trio of white flags along with a mighty score from Matt Manley as Mark Landon and Mikey Mangan dominated the early exchanges in the midfield sector before Donard knew where they were.
John Hanbidge fed the on-running Brian Lennon who fisted the size 5 diagonally across the large parallelogram where full-forward Colin Healy was on hand to flick the ball to the back of Paddy Cronin’s net for an instant reply to put the Glen men back in the hunt.
Liam Monaghan and Colin Byrne traded points in an absorbing opening quarter of end to end football as both sides went toe to toe.
Alan Daly tagged on a brace of points as Donard rose up a gear. Some tenacious tackling by brothers Eoin and Joe O’Neill were keeping out their opponents.
Liam Mullen increased the lead with a point before Paddy Cronin brilliantly stopped a goal-bound shot by Mullen moments later.
The evergreen Kieran Byrne bombed over a point to cut the deficit to the minimum with seven minutes to play.
Donard-The Glen picked up a brace of yellow cards in quick succession.
Conor Healy’s yellow was quickly followed by one to Liam Mullen which could easily have been a different colour after a monster tackle floored the Stratford goalkeeper as he was soloing out the field.
A Kieran Byrne free levelled the battle going into the closing stages.
A strong finish to the half yielded two goals for Donard, Alan Daly scored an outrageous major as he fired home from the tightest of angles on 30 minutes, which was followed by another as Colin Osborne shot for a point was partially blocked and rebounded into the dangerzone where Liam Mullen fisted the ball home, a sickener for Stratford at this crucial stage.
Shane Byrne closed out the scoring with a point as the half-time whistle sounded with the score reading 3-4 to 0-8.
Kieran Byrne reduced the gap with a pointed free on the restart. Donard landed three bad wides before Larry Daly and corner-back Oisin Adler each pointed.
A Mark Murphy wonder goal put the Stratford-Grangecon side back in contention from the next attack. This would turn out to be their last score as drama soon followed for Stratford when they were reduced to 14 after losing centre back Eoin O’Neill on a straight red in the 43rd minute.
Liam Mullen and Alan Daly tagged on a brace of points as they finished the stronger. Conor Healy and a brace of points by Liam Monaghan gave Donard a badly needed victory. Their chances of progressing are balanced on a knife-edge, while Stratford-Grangecon will have to regroup quickly to get points on board.
Scorers - Donard-The Glen: Alan Daly 1-3 (1f), Liam Mullen 1-2 (1f), Conor Healy 1-1, Liam Monaghan 0-3, Larry Daly 0-1, Oisin Adler 0-1.
Stratford-Grangecon: Kieran Byrne 0-4 (1f), Colin Byrne 0-4, Mark Murphy 1-0, Shane Byrne 0-1.