Seamus McClean’s Coolkenno are fairly flying in Division 2
Two from two as Coolkenno beat Billies in the Gap
For both these sides, this was their second outing in the SFL Division 2. Both had made a successful start, with Ballymanus picking up the points against Dunlavin while Coolkenno overcame Laragh.
Conditions were grand for football in Askinagap, with a dry, firm sod and not a drop of rain fell for the entire game.
Ballymanus got off to the better start and went ahead for a brief period in the opening minute. However, from the time that Conor Doyle got the visitors first score (a goal after four minutes), they were never led again and were two goals to the good at half-time.
Ballymanus were unable to reduce that gap in the second half and Coolkenno ran out comfortable winners by seven points.
Craig Farrar opened the scoring for the home side in the first minute. However, the visitors began to organise themselves and played a lot of patient football back in their own half of the field.
When they attacked, their half-backs came forward too and the Ballymanus defence began to come under pressure. In addition, the Coolkenno full-forward line looked dangerous from early on and Eamon Rossiter set up Conor Doyle for the visitors’ first goal after four minutes.
Rossiter set up Pauric Murray for another two quick points and when he got one himself, it left Coolkenno ahead by 1-3 to 0-1 after seven minutes. A great point off his left boot from Adam Byrne was the only Ballymanus response.
They had placed Conor Byrne at full-forward from the beginning but were having great difficulty finding him in scoring positions. Conor Doyle added a fine point for the visitors when he got on the end of a long delivery from outfield to fist the ball over in flight.
The score stood at 1-4 to 0-2 at the quarter hour stage and Ballymanus were struggling to stay in the game. Ewan McRea got their third point, but Pauric Murray balanced that with a pointed free.
Conor Doyle was set up for another point by Robert Keogh, who was getting forward frequently to help out in attack.
Goalkeeper Brendan Doyle came to the rescue for Ballymanus when he saved brilliantly from Pauric Murray, who had been set up by a good cross-field kick from Eamon Rossiter, knocked down into the path of the incoming Murray by Conor Doyle.
Ballymanus responded with a Sean Harmon point to leave the score at 1-6 to 0-4 as half-time approached. Adam Byrne pointed a Ballymanus free but the homesters had another narrow escape just before the break.
A short kick out went astray and ended with Eamon Rossiter overcooking an attempted lob of the keeper. Nevertheless, he got the point and when Conor Doyle followed with a point from a mark, it left the visitors leading by two clear goals at the halfway stage.
John Gregan got the opening point of the second half for Coolkenno after two minutes. Ballymanus were trying hard to get back into the game and Kieran Whelan opened their account with a pointed free, which had been moved forward for dissent.
Conor Byrne had moved back outfield, but Coolkenno appeared content to play a containment game for much of the second half, keeping possession in the middle third for long periods.
A brief flare up midway through the half led to red card dismissals for Sean Harmon and Cathal Rossiter. A goal from centre-forward Paul Murphy settled any hope of a Ballymanus comeback.
Tom Parker, Colin Coogan, Craig Farrar and Kieran Whelan (from a free) brought the Ballymanus final tally to 0-10 while the busy Eamon Rossiter kept the visitors ticking over with two points from play in the final ten minutes.
Conor Doyle did have a brief chance of a goal, but Brendan Doyle averted the danger. The final score stood at 2-11 to 0-10 in favour of Coolkenno.
Coolkenno: Colin Murphy; Cathal Rossiter, Ben Jackman, William Doyle; Sean Curran, Jim Cushe, Robert Keogh; Niall Bailey, John Gregan (0-1); Eoghan Dolan, Paul Murphy (1-0), Dan O’Neill; Padraig Murray (0-3, 1f), Conor Doyle (1-3), Eamon Rossiter (0-4). Subs: Rory Coleman, Niall Maxwell and Donal Doyle.
Ballymanus: Brendan Doyle; Caolin Goetelan, Darragh Byrne, Aidan Byrne; Sean Harmon (0-1), Liam Byrne, Ewan McRea (0-1); Sean Coogan, Padraig Byrne; Adam Byrne (0-2, 1f), Roan Lynch, Craig Farrar (0-2); Kieran Whelan (0-2, 2f), Conor Byrne, Colin Coogan (0-1). Subs: Tom Parker (0-1), Dylan Lynch, David Viera and Killian Farrar.
Referee: Eddie Leonard (St. Patrick’s)