AIB Leinster Club SFC: Blessington finish strongly
AIB Leinster Club SFC First Round
Blessington 1-7 St Columba's, Mullinalaghta 1-5
Crucial points from Kevin Quinn saw Blessington overcome a seven point half-time deficit to claim a two point win over the 2018 Leinster Champions Mullinalaghta in their opening game of the 2021 Leinster campaign.
It was the proverbial game of two halves with Blessington immense after the break. Changes made by manager Jonathan Daniels made a huge difference.
Mullinalaghta failed to score in the second half as the Wicklow side upped their performance.
Rian Brady and Aidan McElliigott fired over early points for Mullinalaghta but they were dealt a blow in the ninth minute when McElligott was shown a straight red card.
Despite numerical advantage Blessington found it hard to break through Mullinalaghta's defence as they came back in numbers.
In the 17th minute Mullinalaghta were awarded a penalty after David McGivney was fouled, and Gary Rogers netted.
McGivney, Brady (a terrific score) and John Keegan added points for the Longford side as they extended the lead to eight points in the first minute of stoppage time.
One minute later Blessington finally got off the mark when Conor Kenny hit over a fine effort to leave the half-time score 1-5 to 0-1.
Anthony McLoughlin hit over Blessington's second point in the 31st but they were reduced to 14 men in the 38th when Craig Maguire was sent off.
Suddenly Blessington were a different proposition. An excellent goal from sub Dean Silk-Fetherson cut the gap to one in the 54th minute.
Points from Quinn and David Boothman put the Wicklow side ahead for the first time in the 57th minute. A fine Quinn effort two between the sides in the 59th minute. The Wicklow champions held on for a memorable win.
Blessington: J Sargent; C Kenny (0-1), J Gilligan, C Gallagher; K Hanlon, C Maguire, B Bohan; D Cooney, KJ Rogers; M Shannon, A McLoughlin (0-1), J Cotter; M O'Connor, K Quinn (0-2), S Bohan.
Subs: D Silk-Fetherson (1-0) for B Bohan (30+2), C Geraghty (0-1) for Cooney (ht), D Siney for O'Connor (41), David Boothman 0-2, 2fs) for Rogers (47), E Keogh for Shannon (59).
Mullialaghta: D O'Rourke; S Cadam, P Fox, F Mulligan; D McElligott, S Mulligan, G Rogers (1-0,pen); J Keegan(0-1), D McGivney (0-1); M Cunningham, A McElligott (0-1), J McGivney; J Matthews, R Brady (0-2), C Mackey.
Sub: B Fox for F Mulligan (46).
Referee: S Mulhare (Laois).