Gaeil Colmcille blood substitute Ryan Farnham rifled a match-winning goal to the net as last year's beaten SFC semi-finalists got their 2017 campaign off to a winning start with a 1-11 to 0-11 victory against 14-man Wolfe Tones at Athboy tonight.
Played in front of a big crowd, many of them complaining about the €10 admission fee, there was only one point of discussion at half-time and that was the 24th minute dismissal of Wolfe Tones goalkeeper Trevor Browne, apparently for dissent towards an umpire who signalled referee David Gough.
Tones sent Conor Brennan on as a replacement and withdrew Shane Glynn, but from a position of trailing by 0-2 to 0-5 when the red card was flashed, they finished the half with a flourish and were ahead by 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval.
The half-time whistle was greeted with relief by the Gaeil Colmcille players who were fairly wasteful in the opneing 30 minutes as they squandered a couple of goal chances and also tallied some poor wides – not that there is ever a good wide!
The pace of Seamus Mattimoe posed problems for the Tones and he claimed three points with Brian Hanlon completing the tally while four (two frees) points from Cian Ward and one each by Dan O'Neill and Niall Reilly had the Tones ticking over nicely.
Five times in the second-half the sides were level as the pace of the game quickened and the players coped well with the slippery conditions.
Tones adapted well to the numerical deficit and were ahead by the minimum on two occasions as Tomas O'Reilly (three), Cian Ward and substitute Fiachra Ward split the posts.
Gaeil Colmcille threatened plenty, but didn't deliver often enough and had points on the board from Hanlon and Oisin Reilly (two each), Mattimoe and Martin Barrett as the clocked ticked towards 60 minutes and a draw seemed likely.
Then Farnham got his chance, he made the most of it as he raced through and blasted to the net.
It was harsh on the Tones, but you need 15 men on the pitch and that ultimately that was the difference.
Wolfe Tones - Trevor Browne; Niall O'Reilly (0-1), Eoghan Harrington, Shane Glynn; Niall McLoughlin, Dan O'Neill, (0-1), Conor Sheppard; Stephen Corrigan, Mark Coleman; Eanna Harrington, Stephen Sheppard, Eanna O'Kelly-Lynch; Padraig Diamond, Tomas O'Reilly (0-3 one freee)), Cian Ward (0-5 two frees, one '45'). Subs - Conor Brennan for Glynn 24 mins, Fiachra Ward (0-1) for Sheppard 45 mins, Sheppard for C Sheppard 59m
Gaeil Colmcille - Justin Carry-Lynch; Cormac Ferguson, Barry Smith, Johnny Quigley; Christopher Riordan, Barry Tormay, James Reilly; Liam Ferguson, Michael a Foley; Seamus Mattimoe (0-4), Sean Curran, Fionn Reilly; Oisin Reilly (0-2), Brian Hanlon (0-4 one free), Martin Barrett (0-1 free). Subs – Ryan Farnham (1-0) for O Reilly 59 mins (blood sub).
Referee - David Gough (Slane).
In the other game tonight Donaghmore Ashbourne defaeted Rathkenny by 2-13 to 1-13