A strong second half display helped John Mitchels stop the rot in League Division 3 on Tuesday night – as they saw off Naomh Malachi 2-13 to 1-08 in Ballybailie.
The Mitchels had lost four straight league games before last night’s encounter with their fellow third tier strugglers – three of them by 11 points or more. This victory, their second of the league season, sees the Ardee men move about Naomh Malachi in the table.
Half forwards Conor Reilly and Robbie Coyle scored 1-03 each en route a much needed win for the Mitchels. It was Coyle’s first half strike that edged his side in front at the break.
Conor Reilly notched the first score of the game before Collie Rooney’s equaliser. Coyle got off the mark before the men from Hackballscross scored three unanswered points from Donal Begley, Rooney and then Padraig Moloy.
Kevin Gallagher’s free kick and Reilly’s second effort of the day produced parity before Emmet Mullen restored the Mals’ lead. Rooney scored his third point just prior to the half time whistle – but by then the Mitchels had established a two point lead.
That was courtesy of Coyle. His stunning strike left stopper Niall Bird well beaten. Midfielder Aaron Keely restored the two point lead after the break – shortly before Aaron Kane was black carded for pulling down Jamie Kelly in front of goal.
Ronan Greene beat David Anderson with his penalty to edge the visitors in front 1-05 to 1-06. However, the Mitchels seemed emboldened by the decision – and sprung into life. James Clarke impressed in midfield while Emmett Farrell and Mitchell Keenan provided a platform for the home forwards to put the game to bed.
Stephen Coyle pointed while Conor Reilly beat Bird and found the net. He spilt the posts shortly after and Brendan McDonnell got forward to score too. Sub Neil Reilly, on for Kane, connected well for a superb score from range.
Naomh Malachi hit back through Rooney’s free but the Mitchels were in the ascendency as the game wore on. Up by four points at that stage, Barry Kirk, Robbie Coyle (0-02) and McDonnell added further scores.
The win lifts the Mitchels up two places from 11th to 10th. In a congested division, they now sit just two points off sixth placed St Brides – and Stabannon Parnells, who they face on Saturday.
JOHN MITCHELS: David Anderson, Ryan Carroll, Emmet Farrell, Aaron Kane, Brendan McDonnell (0-02), Mitchell Keenan, Anthony Coyle, James Clarke, Aaron Keely (0-01), Kevin Gallagher (0-01), Conor Reilly (1-03), Stephen Coyle (0-01), Alan Mackin, Robbie Coyle (1-03), Barry Kirk (0-01).
Sub: Neill Reilly (0-01) for Kane
NAOMH MALACHI: Niall Bird, David Begley, David Rogers, Sean Gogarty, Ciaran Hughes, Ronan Greene (1-00), Donal Begley (0-01), Ronan McElroy, Pierce Caherty, Jamie Kelly, Collie Rooney (0-04), Emmet Mullen (0-01), Tiernan Gonnelly, Shane Rogers (0-01), Padraig Moley (0-01).
Sub: Francis McArdle for Caherty