Killoe are enjoying the most successful season in their proud history and it got even better at Emmet Park on Friday night last as their exceptionally strong U-21 team (backboned by several members of their senior squad) crushed the challenge of neighbouring rivals Fr. Manning Gaels in a completely one-sided ‘A’ Championship decider.
Having won the toss for home advantage for the floodlit final, Young Emmets wasted little time in asserting their superiority and from the moment Daniel Mimnagh fired home the first goal with just six minutes gone on the clock the writing was on the wall for the Drumlish/Ballinamuck outfit who proved no match for their powerful opponents.
Further goals followed from Shane Clarke (20 mins) and Mark Quinn (27 mins) as rampant Killoe built up a staggering 3-9 to 0-2 lead at the break after producing an awesome first half performance and particularly impressive in the demolition job was full-forward Mark Hughes who set up most of the scores with his clever distribution of the ball.
While Hughes (with 1-4 to his credit) was a deserving winner of the man-of-the-match award (collecting the prestigious trophy in memory of the late Fr. Manning Gaels footballer Jimmy Tully), resolute defenders Darragh Bennett and Cian Farrelly, towering midfielder Simon Kiernan and lively wing forward Shane Clarke (clocking up 1-4 from play) also figured most prominently for Killoe who were winning the U-21 ‘A’ Championship title for the second year in a row.
Spare a thought for the gallant Gaels who crashed to a third successive final defeat in this grade but there was nothing they could do to stop a club with a very bright future who are rapidly developing into a dominant force and will obviously take some stopping at senior level in the years to come.
County senior Padraig McCormack was influential at centre-half-forward in producing his usual hard working display as Killoe (managed by PJ Gilna) retained the U-21 title with considerable ease and most of the damage was inflicted in the first half.
As already mentioned the goals were scored by Daniel Mimnagh, Shane Clarke and Mark Quinn with the playmaker Mark Hughes involved in all three crucial scores while the nine points were fired over by Darragh Bennett, Daniel Mimnagh, Clarke (3), Hughes (3 frees) and wing back Ronan Keogh, the latter shooting over the bar when a goal was on.
Fr. Manning Gaels were completely shattered and had to wait until the 14th minute for their opening score when midfielder Sean Whelan landed a long range effort and moments later James Noonan converted a free.
Killoe extended their advantage with a point apiece from Darragh Bennett and Shane Clarke in the early stages of the second half and then sat back on the cushion of their massive 3-11 to 0-2 lead.
Thus the Gaels proceeded to enjoy their best spell of the game which yielded five points through James Noonan (two frees), Martin Cassidy (2) and defender Pete Columb between the 35th and 46th minutes with Cassidy in a good position to score a consolation goal when he shot his second point from play.
Killoe’s solitary reply during this period was a point from Mark Quinn but the reigning champions gradually awoke from their brief slumber and fired home a fourth goal in the 48th minute when Mark Hughes made no mistake in finding the back of the net from close range after receiving the ball from Padraig McCormack.
And just for good measure Young Emmets added another four points to their most emphatic tally during the remainder of the game – a brace of scores in quick succession from David Mimnagh while Mark Hughes (free) and Mark Quinn were also on target to complete the rout.
KILLOE YOUNG EMMETS: Michael Brady; Franklin O’Reilly, Daniel Keogh, Cian Farrelly; Padraig O’Reilly, Darragh Bennett (0-2), Ronan Keogh (0-1); Paddy Thompson, Simon Kiernan; Shane Clarke (1-4), Padraig McCormack, Mark Quinn (1-2); Daniel Mimnagh (1-1), Mark Hughes (1-4, all points from frees), David Mimnagh (0-2).
Subs:- Paddy Kiernan for F O’Reilly (injured, 21 mins); Gary Connell for S Kiernan (51 mins).
FR. MANNING GAELS: Paddy Columb; James O’Neill, Dylan Quinn, Pete Columb (0-1); Emmet Noonan, Brian Columb, Darren Quinn; Diarmuid Cooney, Sean Whelan (0-1); Gary Connell, Mark Prunty, Darren Farrelly; Podge Gill, James Noonan (0-3, all frees), Martin Cassidy (0-2).
Subs:- Dean Cosgrave for G Connell (first half); Robbie Reehill for M Prunty (first half); Conor Heslin for S Whelan (36 mins); Derek McCormack for Darren Quinn (44 mins).
Referee: Tony Gaffney (Mostrim).