Comfortable win for Carnaross
Carnaross recorded a comprehensive 2-18 to 0-8 victory against a dogged Clonard side at an immaculately presented Kildalkey pitch on Friday night in a welcome return to championship football after a 353 day hiatus writes SHANE MCNIFFE
Clonard began proceedings with a bang knocking over two exquisite long-range efforts as Carnaross struggled to match the intensity of their south Meath opponents.
Frank O’Reilly got Carnaross on the scoreboard with the first of his eight points, but Clonard continued to pile on the pressure and it was level at 0-3 apiece at the first water break.
The Carnaross defence was struggling to contain Niall Smullen who gave an exhibition of football both in open play and from frees.
Frank O'Reilly doubled his total with a free and Niall McDonnell.
The 90-second water break had the desired effect on the Carnaross troops as they took control on the resumption.
First Shane O’Reilly turned on a sixpence to expertly evade the Clonard rearguard and this was followed by Dillon Fox’s long-range curled effort that caused consternation amongst the umpires.
The Carnaross tails were up and a major blow was struck when Frank O'Reilly expertly picked out a surging Cian O’Reilly who calmly finshed the ball to the net.
Clonard weren’t content to roll over and to their credit responded with two points to narrow the margin again.
Frank O'Reilly concluded the first-half tally with a well-executed score from a mark for a 1-7 to 0-5 advantage.
Carnaross resumed smartly and Frank O’Reilly scored from a placed ball, Paddy McDermott kept the scoreboard ticking over as the Carnaross attack found its rhythm.
One of the highlights of the game was the midfield battle between Adam Flanagan and Luke Gillic.
Flanagan lorded the skies for the first-quarter, but as the game progressed, Gillic grew in confidence and together with his midfield partner Cian McGlynn, wrestled control with pure heart and doggedness.
This ensured that plentiful ball was being supplied into danger men Niall McDonnell and Frank O’Reilly who got two quickfire scores, one free and a mark before McDonnell finished the competitiveness of the contest by reacting quickest to hammer the ball into the net.
The half back line of Carpenter, Fleming and Cian O’Reilly made rampaging runs throughout the hour and Cian O’Reilly added to his tally before the tireless Fleming added another while Niall McDonnell had a superb game finishing with 1-4 from play.
This impressive total included two outside-of-the-boot efforts from either side of the goalposts, something he will never tire of reminiscing about.
Clonard never gave up. but luck was not on their side as countless chances were intercepted or spurned and they might have secured a lifeline were it not for the smart double save by Conor Kenny in the 'Ross nets.
Cillian Comaskey split the posts after a mazy run as the game came to a gradual halt and the final two scores of the hour came courtesy of the Bash brothers, Niall and Frank.
Carnaross - Conor Kenny; Ian Donoghue, Tomás Plunkett, Jack Roche; Peter Carpenter, Cian O’Reilly (1-1), Pierce Fleming(0-1); Cian McGlynn, Luke Gillic; Paddy McDermott (0-1), Dillon Fox (0-1), Shane O’Reilly (0-1); Cillian Comaskey (0-1), Frank O’Reilly (0-8), Niall McDonnell (1-4).
PHOTO: courtesy of Clonard GAA Facebook.