Goals in either half from Stephen McHugh and Jason Kelly (penalty) saw Abbeylara overcome Killoe in the Senior ‘B’ Football Championship Final at Devine Park, Edgeworthstown on Friday evening last with three points separating the sides in the finish.
It looked pretty bad for Emmet Og when Abbeylara went nine points ahead in the early stages of the second half but Killoe battled back to close the gap to just two points with ten minutes of the game remaining. But try as they might the gallant losers just couldn’t get any closer as Abbeylara held on to win the title.
The first and only time Killoe were ahead in this entertaining contest was in the second minute when Terry McCormack opened the scoring. Abbeylara then took a grip on the game and two points from Jason Kelly (one free) and one from Kevin Smyth put then ahead by two by the seventh minute.
One minute later they grabbed their first goal through Stephen McHugh and Kieran Mulvihill followed up with a free to extend the lead to six points.
Killoe’s only response was two nice points from Ciaran Donohoe but Mulvihill replied with a fine point for Abbeylara. Eugene Clarke hit back with a well worked point for Killoe.
Emmet Og gave away a number of soft frees which Abbeylara duly punished and Jason Kelly hit over another free in the 20th minute. One minute later Cillian Burns pulled off a save to deny Sean Murphy a goal.
Abbeylara ended the first half well and went in at the break six points in front; 1-8 to 0-5. That lead was extended further with two minutes gone on the changeover when Kevin Smyth was adjudged to have been brought down in the square and Jason Kelly stepped up to blast the penalty past Killoe keeper Burns.
But credit to Killoe who dug in deep and made a real game of it. They hit over five points in a row to cut the gap to four points by the 42nd minute; Ciaran Donohoe with two fine frees while Thomas Reilly, Jamie King and Matt Clarke were also on target.
Emmet Og then had a harsh free given against them one minute later and which was pointed by Kieran Mulvihill. Killoe went in search of a badly needed goal but Abbeylara defended resolutely.
A good point from Jason Kelly put Abbeylara ahead by six in the 45th minute but once again Killoe showed good spirit to fight back. A brace of points apiece from Jamie King and Ciaran Donohoe closed the gap to just two points with 10 minutes to go.
The game was then held up for a few minutes and it knocked Killoe’s momentum and gave Abbeylara some impetus.
Points from Kieran Mulvihill and Jason Kelly (an excellent free) left them in front by four but Killoe replied with a couple of scores from Eugene Clarke to make for a tense finish. And it was Mulvihill who fired over a free in stoppage time to clinch the Abbeylara success.
ABBEYLARA: Gavin Kelly; Anthony McBrien, Cathal Lynch, Michael Battrim; Peter Brady, Barry Smyth, Eamon Gallagher; Derek Smith, Barry McKiernan; Pauric Battrim (0-1), Jason Kelly (1-5, 3 frees, goal from penalty), Stephen McHugh (1-0); Sean Murphy, Kevin Smyth (0-1), Kieran Mulvihill (0-6, 4 frees).
Subs:- Bernard Crawford for E Gallagher (39 mins); James McHugh for M Battrim (57 mins); E Gallagher for B Smyth (black card, 58 mins).
KILLOE EMMET OG: Cillian Burns; Fergal O’Donnell, Emmet Toher, Aidan Brady; Gary Connell, Padraig McCormack, John Lynch; Shane Clarke, Paddy Thompson; Thomas Reilly (0-1), Terry McCormack (0-1), Ciaran Donohoe (0-6, 2 frees); Jamie King (0-3), Eugene Clarke (0-3, 1 free), Matt Clarke (0-2).
Sub:- Ronan Keogh for A Brady (34 mins).
Referee: Michael Farrell (Ballymahon).