Goals win matches and never was it more true than in Munday’s Field, Ballyshannon on Tuesday when Coláiste Cholmcille survived a great second half comeback from Coláiste na Carraige.
Colaiste Cholmcille . . 5-8
Coláiste na Carraige . . 2-12
The Carrick boys were out of the contest at half-time, trailing by 2-7 to 0-4, and Neilly Byrne and Noel Ward took them all the way to the dressing rooms. Pat Walsh had to go looking for them as the Ballyshannon boys stayed on the field.
But whatever was said worked as Colaiste na Carraige were a different side in the second half and rattled off three points in as many minutes, two from the impeccable Aaron Doherty and the opening point from Oran Doogan after just 20 seconds of the new half.
Doherty added a free on 39 minutes to reduce the leeway to five points, but the Ballyshannon boys eventually got going and after a great burst from Jason Granaghan, Nathan Boyle fired home the third goal.
But the spirit that exists in Colaiste na Carraige was then shown. They were thrown a lifeline when the normally excellent Sean Taylor allowed an Aaron Doherty free from 35m through his hands for a goal and Doherty added three points from play, one better then the other, to cut the deficit to just two points (3-7 to 1-11) with 14 minutes still to play.
But again Colaiste Cholmcille struck for goal, this time Shane McGrath doing the approach work and big Oisin Rooney powered home.
With ten minutes left, the fat was in the fire again as Shane Gillespie worked his way to the endline and crossed and Brian O’Donnell was quickest to react and drive home to leave just two points between them once more (4-7 to 2-11).
But the killer fifth goal on 54 minutes sucked any remaining life out of Colaiste na Carraige. Rooney and McGrath were involved before Michael McKenna got in behind the defence to fire home.
Shane Gillespie had Colaiste na Carraige’s last point on 60 minutes while Nathan Boyle had the final point, the Ballyshannon’s side only minor of the second half.
Colaiste Cholmcille had it mostly their own way in the opening half. They had three points on the board after six minutes, Nathan Boyle with a ‘45’, Shane McGrath (free) and Oisin Rooney.
Lanty Molloy hit back with a point and he won a free for Aaron Doherty to point before one of the turning points of the game came on 10 minutes.
Oisin Rooney was going for goal but his shot was blocked by Colm Garvey. Pat Walsh pulled it back for a penalty, which at first looked harsh, but he explained at half-time that it was for a pull on Rooney and not the block.
From the spot Nathan Boyle found the corner and although Aaron Doherty had a free for the Carrick boys, it was mostly one-way traffic.
Shane McGrath added two quick points before Gareth Sheerin (in for the black carded Conal Sweeny), crossed and Oisin Rooney set up Michael McKenna to find the net for the second goal.
Before half-time Nathan Boyle and Sheerin added points for the home side with Aaron Doherty getting the only reply for Colaiste na Carraige from a free.
Overall, it was a fair result but the Carrick boys will reflect on their lethargy in the opening half. The Ballyshannon boys also have plenty to work on going forward, especially the room they allowed Aaron Doherty at times.
Colaiste Cholmcille have two games left (against Rosses and Abbey VS), but having already drawn with Glenties, they are in a strong position to advance to the Co. semi-final.
Colaiste na Carraige have yet to meet St. Columba’s, Glenties, and will probably need to win that game to advance. A win for Glenties would put them in the running. All the remaining games have to be completed by the end of next week