For the 13 Colmanstown players who laboured with such honesty and intensity for 90 minutes in this Western Hygiene Supplies First Division Game at Fahy’s Field on Sunday, Emlyn Coyne’s injury time equaliser for Mervue must really have hurt. For the duration of a game that never rose to any great heights, the visitors were the better side and as the clock ran down it looked like Kevin Barrett’s cultured finish was going to give them a much needed break in their quest to get away from the lower regions of the table.
However a late set-piece was to provide a lifeline for the city side as the point was an undeserved reward for the Division’s second placed side. “We got out of jail in that one,” was the none too surprising ascessment of manager Paugie Kilgannon afterwards as his side clung on to their title ambitions. Mervue have enjoyed a good league campaign to date, but for whatever reason Sunday was not one of their better days. From the early exchanges, they were playing second fiddle to Colmanstown as the more enthuastic work ethic of the visitors kept them in the ascendancy.
It was one of those days when the Mervue back four was the only sector that emerged with their reputations enhanced. Dara Devlin and Robert Connolly were outstanding as they gave very little latitude to the front two of Ray Moran and Colin O’Grady, while 17 year-old Colin Lynskey proved he was a chip off the old block under the watchful eye of father Gerry at right full.
Left back Mark Conneely was in trouble in the latter stages. In midfield Ian Snee has excelled all season, but this was not one of his better outings. There was little sign of the energy sapping runs and the astute passing that are normally his trademark, while alongside him veteran Gary wasn’t so lucky as Barry Doennellan gave him a pretty torrid opening half, but an accidential knee into the ribs in the second half saw him depart the fray. Out wide Sumit Chawla seldom offered an option as the game seemed to just pass him by, while on the left goalscorer Coyne worked hard and got a fitting reward with the late equaliser.
Up front Anthony Quinn was having his first outing as he returned to his boyhood club following ventures to Bohs and West Utd and it was not an occasion that will leave a lasting impression for, alongside Adam Samosionek, they struggled to make any sort of impact. Mind you in their defence was the disappointing service and support offered, but in general they were well marshalled by Ollie Crowe and Andy Concannon. In contrast, Colmanstown just seemed to hit the ground running with the majority of the threat coming from wide men Barrett and Donnellan. In the opening quarter, twice the latter skinned Conneely, but poor execution of delivery was to thwart them of goal scoring opportunities.
On 24 minutes Colin O’Grady was just wide with a left foot toe poke, while moments later a timely interception by Devlin denied O’Grady getting a clear sight of goal following a Donnellan delivery. Now it wasn’t a day when either goalkeeper was over extended, but Dara Geraghty had to get down sharply to his left to keep out a Concannon free kick from just outside the area on 27 minutes. Moran and Donnellan were the providers as Barrett displayed some neat footwork in a confined space to get in an underhit shot that was easily dealt with by the custodian and before the break Damien Concannon got on the end of a Gary O’Grady delivery, but couldnt direct his shot on target.
In contrast Mervue failed to test Joe Flannery at all in the opening half as the majority of attacks were repelled by a solid visiting rearguard. Set pieces provided the home side’s only chances of note for on 13 minutes Coyne flicked a Snee cornerwell wide,while shortly afterwards Snee was wild and off target with a 25 yardd free kick. On a crisp and cold morning the temperatures were raised somewhat with a splendid Colmanstown goal early in the second-half. Donnellan started the move in his own half and released Moran down the right.
His inside pass picked out young Richie Lally and with the home defence stretched his subtle touch set up Barrett just outside the area. The finish was exquisite as he curled a right footed bender beyond the reach of the advancing Geraghty to give the visitors some reward. The goal seemed to effect the visitors more than the home side for instead of pushing foward in order to kill off the opposition, they operated the standard process of dropping deep. Darren Finn and Lally had worked so hard to keep the momentum going foward, but there was little they could do as the mindset changed. As a result, Mervue began to create a little more, without ever been over threatening. Snee had a shot blocked in a crowded area, while a Coyne cross whizzed by the face of goal. Coyne and Chawla then got in each others’way as they tried to get on the end of a Quinn delivery.
Their first shot on goal arrived on 67 minutes when Snee connected with a John Rice cross, but Flannery was equel to the task with a fine save. As the clock drifted into injury time, the home side forced their second corner in succession and the splendid touch of Chawla found a willing friend in Coyne and he was foot perfect as he deflected the delivery through the crowd and secured a 1-1 draw that they scarcely deserved.
Colmanstown Utd: Flannery, G O’Grady, Duane, Lally, Crowe, A Concannon, Finn, Barrett, Moran, C O’Grady, Donnellan. Reserves: Hardiman for C O’Grady (39mins), D Concannon for Lally (60mins). Mervue Utd: Geraghty, Lynskey, Conneely, Connolly, Devlin, O’Connor Snee, Coyne, Chawla, Quinn, Samosionek. Reserves: Rice for Samosionek (61mins), Dooley for O’Connor (71mins). Referee: Patsy Forde.
Mike Rafferty, Connacht Tribune