Naomh Malachi produced a battling second half performance to claim the two points on offer in their third league game of the year against Stabannon Parnells. Trailing by two points at the interval, the introduction of substitute Jack Kirwan was the catalyst for the comeback that owed much to a goal from Colin Rooney.
The opening quarter of the game saw the sides share six points with Emmet Mullen, Shane Rogers and Colin Rooney getting on the score sheet for the home side, while Colm Giggins, Niall Closkey and Daniel Bannon opened their accounts for the men in green and gold. The visitors hit the front when Mals’ midfielder, Pierce Caherty, picked up an injury in an aerial duel, only for play to continue where Paul Egan capitalised on a static defence to blast past the hapless Mark Meegan. Soon after David Closkey added another point as the mid Louth outfit grew in ascendency. However, a surging run and trademark point from Ronan Greene and a second free kick from Rooney left the home side just two points in arrears at the interval.
Half-Time: Naomh Malachi 0-5 Stabannon Parnells 1-4
Upon the resumption, Jamie Kelly slotted over his first point of the contest and although Aonghus Giggins responded, the home side would enjoy a purple patch. Jack Kirwan was very much to the fore, opening his account in the 35th minute, and this was followed by Rogers and a third free kick from Rooney. A fantastic, long-range point from Kirwan edged the Mals further ahead only for Colm Giggins to peg them back with a fine individual score, his sides first for 17 minutes. The decisive score of the contest would follow when a Rogers effort fell short and in the ping pong that ensued, Rooney latched onto a loose ball to blast home. A free kick from Bannon was cancelled out by a fortuitous effort from Kirwan and although Bannon finished with two late scores, the home side held on for a vital two points.
Full-Time: Naomh Malachi 1-11 Stabannon Parnells 1-9
Referee: Kevin Brady
Naomh Malachi: Mark Meegan; David Begley, David Rogers, Stephen Burns; Peter McShane, Ronan Greene (0-1), Donal Begley; Padraig Moley, Pierce Caherty; Emmet Mullen (0-1), Ronan McElroy, Noel Donaldson; Colin Rooney (1-3 3f), Shane Rogers (0-2), Jamie Kelly (0-1).
Subs: Jack Kirwan (0-3) for Caherty, Ciaran Hughes for Mullen.
Stabannon Parnells: Anthony Byrne; Alan Lynch, Wayne Lynch, Cathal Halpenny; Kenneth Lynch, Niall Closkey (0-1), Shane Sweeney; Aonghus Giggins (0-1 1f), Martin King; Colm Giggins (0-2), Thomas McBride, Daniel Bannon (0-4 2f); David Closkey (0-1), Liam Giggins, Paul Egan (1-0).