Aaron Glennon, St Malachy's, is held up by Ciaran Kelly, Maryland, in Saturday's IFC game in The Downs.

Gavigan's scoring exploits ensure St Malachy's win

St Malachy's 0-11, Maryland 0-6

In the end the margin was a rather flattering five points, but St Malachy’s always looked likely winners of this Intermediate Football Championship encounter at The Downs on Saturday evening.

Played in poor conditions, the game was moved from the main pitch to the new sand-based surface which ensured the fixture wasn’t lost. St Malachy’s had the breeze at their backs and opened up a  six-point lead in the first half before going on to lead by 0-7 to 0-2 at the break.

They were fortunate not to lose Aonghus Clarke to a black card when he fouled Kieran Martin, the referee opting for a yellow card on the intervention of the linesman. When Maryland’s Bryan O’Donohoe was black-carded in the second half, the other linesman was unfairly targeted.

On the field of play, Maryland pressed hard and had the gap reduced to just two points by the 54th minute, but that was as close as they got. They can thank ‘keeper, Eoin Moran for making a terrific save to deny Morgan Gavigan a goal in the final minute and he earlier made a fine save with the boot to keep out Darren Ruane’s low drive.

On the basis of chances created, St Malachy’s were very worthy winners here, but they were content to sit back and left David Lynch to cover Callum McCormack in defence rather than pushing on in the second half. However, manager Kenny McKinley will be thoroughly satisfied to have gained another victory and it ensures they will qualify for the quarter-final.

Cian Gavigan was the hero of this St Malachy’s victory with seven points and a lot of the scores were excellently created and executed. In truth they had three goal chances, the first for Johnny Bermingham who got inside on the overlap in the sixth minute and blasted a shot over the crossbar.

After Cian Gavigan’s two opening scores (one from a ‘45’), Darren Ruane also kicked a fine point and Peter Murphy did likewise when Shane Corcoran’s pass created the opportunity. Kieran Martin’s free from the hands (45 metres) was all Maryland could muster in reply.

After Donal Hogan almost plundered a goal, Cian Gavigan kicked a brace to make it 0-7 to 0-1 after 24 minutes: a well worked score for William Reynolds saw Maryland notch their second point, but they were well adrift.


Into the second half and the Drumraney side showed their mettle, outscoring St Malachy’s by 0-4 to 0-1 in a 23-minute spell to make it 0-8 to 0-6. Callum McCormack was an obvious threat and could well have netted in the 42nd minute when Donal Hogan's delightful delivery put him through. His shot clipped the inside of the post as it flashed over, though.

It was he and Kieran Martin who led the scoring threat, but only a fine save with the boot by Eoin Moran kept Darren Ruane out. A St Malachy’s goal then would surely have killed this tie off, but as it was, Maryland sensed an opportunity and grew into the contest.

When Keith Malynn’s long-range shot from around 60 metres hopped over the crossbar, it was 0-8 to 0-6 and Maryland, playing with 14 men following Bryan O’Donohoe’s black card, were coping admirably.

That proved taxing in the heavy conditions but St Malachy’s also had another gear and they showed that when Morgan Gavigan skipped clear and fired over. It came in added time after Eoin Moran had produced an even more impressive save to deny Morgan Gavigan a goal.

Cian Gavigan wrapped up a fine display with the final two points of the match: he got the first after fielding a cross-field ball and slotting over, while the second came in the fifth minute of added time.

Both sides finished with 14 men: centre back Peter Murphy picked up a black card for St Malachy’s, while Maryland’s Ciaran Kelly was shown a straight red card.

Scorers - St Malachy’s: C Gavigan 0-7 (2 from ‘45s’), J Bermingham, P Murphy, D Ruane and M Gavigan 0-1 each. Maryland: K Martin (frees) and C McCormack 0-2 each, W Reynolds and K Malynn 0-1 each.

St Malachy’s: Alan Mangan; Eoin Kiernan, Aaron Glennon, Naoise McKenna; Shane Clavin, Peter Murphy, Aonghus Clarke; David Lynch, Johnny Bermingham; Morgan Gavigan, Shane Corcoran, Cian Gavigan; Jack Gallagher, Niall O’Brien, Darren Ruane. Subs: Conor Murphy for Gallagher (50), Neal Kirby for Ruane (54), Odhrán Gavigan for Glennon (60).

Maryland: Eoin Moran; Conor Farrell, Darren Malynn, James Ganly; Ronan Aspell, Bryan O’Donohoe, Liam Moran; Donal Hogan, Fintan McCormack; William Reynolds, Christy Hermbusche, Keith Malynn; Kieran Martin, Ciaran Kelly, Callum McCormack. Subs: Callum Nugent for McCormack (39), Cian Rainey for Aspell (50).

Ref: Sean Carroll (The Downs).

In a nutshell

Man of the match

Cian Gavigan (St Malachy’s): The talented wing forward notched seven points in a fine display for the Castletown Geoghegan side.

Score of the match

William Reynolds and Conor Farrell were involved initially before Donal Hogan’s wonderful delivery gave Callum McCormack a sniff of goal on 42 minutes and the former Westmeath star fired over under strong pressure.

What it means

St Malachy’s are on eight points and assured of a place in the quarter-finals. Maryland, on four points, will now battle for second.