After the disappointment of last week both Mountmellick Utd and Killavilla looked to kick start their new season when they met on Sunday afternoon at Conor Davis Park but in the end both had to make do with a point apiece. The hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and probably deserved more but Killavilla’s defence was outstanding and they picked up their first point of the 2012/13 campaign after last week’s defeat by Monksland.
Mountmellick were 1-0 up last week when their game against St Peter’s was abandoned due to heavy rain but they were on the wrong end of an early game this time around when Killavilla’s Pauric Phelan rose highest to nod home a sweet header from John Cordial’s floated free kick after just eight minutes.
Their response to that early set back was impressive as they controlled the remainder of the first half without ever really troubling Killavilla keeper Jason Ryan. Mark Grennan’s low shot was deflected inches wide of the left hand post before Ronan McCormack saw two half chances come his way without conversion. One came from a superb crossfield pass from Robbie Hibbitts that McCormack fired just over, and he came even closer on the half hour mark when he turned four defenders inside out with some wonderful trickery on the edge of the six yard box before blasting narrowly over the bar from close range.
Killavilla remained dangerous on the break and could have nicked a second before the break when David McNamara fed Craig Phelan but the winger poked his shot just wide of the post. That would have been very harsh on the hosts and they continued in the ascendancy after the restart.
Pauric Phelan denied Colm Coss with a superb last ditch block two minutes into the second period and that set the tone for the entire second half. Mountmellick battered their opponents who somehow kept the hosts scoreless for the majority of the half. Coss looked to have nabbed the equaliser when he nodded Robbie Hibbitt’s corner into the top corner but linesman Adrian Martin and referee Eddie O’Riordan both adjudged that the ball hadn’t crossed the line and it looked like it was going to be one of those days for Mountmellick.
New manager Ray Farrell must have been a nervous spectator but he needn’t have been too worried because his side’s pressure finally told with twelve minutes to go. Again it was key man Robbie Hibbitts who created the chance and this time it fell to Darragh Hanlon who rose brilliantly at the back stick to place a header back across goal and into the roof of Jason Ryan’s net.
Mountmellick poured forward for a winner in the knowledge that they can ill afford to drop home points if they are to realise their potential and challenge the likes of Willow Park and Mullingar at the top of the Senior table, but having taken so long to get one goal there was little chance of breaking a solid Killavilla side down again and a share of the spoils was the best they could manage.
Mountmellick Utd: Matsy Forde, Mark Parkinson, Jason Fitzgibbon, Niall Westman, Mark Goodwin, Mark Grennan, Niall Donoher, Colm Coss, Darragh Hanlon, Ronan McCormack, Robbie Hibbitts. Subs: Johnny Hyland for Westman (41mins, inj), Lee Collins for Donoher (52mins), Cathal Cleary for Grennan (74mins)
Killavilla: Jason Ryan, Pauric Phelan, Jason Fitzpatrick, Ray McNicholls, Roddy Tehean, Craig Phelan, Paul Franks, John Cordial, Gary Gleeson, Shane Moloney, David McNamara. Subs: Ian McCarthy for Moloney (50mins), Martin Harty for McNamara (71mins).
Referee: Eddie O’Riordan