Longford Slashers reign as the county senior football champions is over as the stronger Killoe side gained sweet revenge for their disappointing defeat at this same stage last year and were worthy winners of the quarter-final clash at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday evening last.
Showing the significant greater pace throughout a generally poor game, the much younger Emmet Og outfit were superior in most positions on the pitch and could afford the luxury of kicking a total of 15 wides (11 in the first half) in advancing to meet Dromard in the semi-final on Sunday September 7th.
The return of Michael Quinn from his summer stint in New York proved to be a big boost for Killoe and while the wing back was an influential figure in the eventual four points win over the title holders, it must be said that the entire Emmet Og defence worked well as a solid unit.
While Slashers were also guilty of some very poor finishing during the course of the game, shooting a total of nine wides, their forwards found it extremely difficult to find a way through the resolute opposing defence.
That was clearly reflected in the fact that the losers only managed a solitary score from play, a gift goal that was credited to Martin Nevin whose speculative dipping shot ended up in the back of the net with four minutes gone on the changeover.
Nevin’s shot deceived the Killoe keeper Stephen Coy, who was put under pressure by the presence of Mark Smith, and that badly needed score gave Slashers a glimmer of hope as they battled back from being 0-7 to 0-1 behind at the break after looking in serious trouble.
Killoe enjoyed the far greater share of the possession in the first half and while Slashers registered the opening score when Colin Smith converted a free in the 3rd minute, they struggled thereafter.
Wasteful Emmet Og kicked six wides in a row before they finally got their first score in the 12th minute when Mark Hughes shot over the bar but six more points gradually followed as they opened up a comfortable lead with the aid of the wind.
Excellent efforts from play were fired over by Sean McCormack (3), Larry Moran and Michael Quinn (a glorious strike in first half stoppage time), along with a free converted by Denis McGoldrick, whereas Slashers were unable to add to their tally with the best chance falling to Peter Foy but he shot badly wide in the 24th minute.
But at least Denis Connerton’s side showed some courage in their bid to salvage the situation in the second half and after Colin Smith converted a free, the fortunate Martin Nevin goal gave the Slashers supporters something to shout about.
When Smith fired over another free in the 37th minute, the gap was suddenly closed to just a single point (0-7 to 1-3) but Killoe refused to panic and regained their composure with a couple of crucial scores from Denis McGoldrick (free) and Simon Kiernan in quick succession.
Prominent midfielder Kiernan blasted the ball over the bar in the 40th minute and while Colin Smith, with his fourth free, replied moments later that was as good as it got for Slashers who failed to register another score for the remainder of this scrappy encounter.
Killoe were holding a dangerous 0-9 to 1-4 lead before Michael Quinn set up Larry Moran for a cracking point from a tight angle in the 51st minute and the promising young player capped a fine performance when shooting over the bar again in the 57th minute to make the victory safe for Emmet Og.
Make no mistake about it, Tommy McCormack’s side should really have won by a much wider margin but beating Slashers will release a lot of pressure in their quest to regain the coveted Connolly Cup they last won in 2012. Even without Padraig McCormack, Killoe will be extremely hard beaten in the knowledge that they can play a lot better.
After contesting the county final for the past four years, winning the title in 2010, 2011 and 2013, Slashers looked a tired team on Sunday last. While the injury to powerful midfielder Michael Brady was a big blow, the majority of the current squad have a lot of miles on the clock and would appear to have reached the end of the road after all their great achievements in doing the club so proud.
KILLOE EMMET OG: Stephen Coy; Cian Farrelly, Darragh Bennett, Paddy Hughes; Michael Quinn (0-1), Joe McCormack, Denis McGoldrick (0-2, frees); Paddy Thompson, Simon Kiernan (0-1); Ronan McGoldrick, Paddy Kiernan, Larry Moran (0-3); Daniel Mimnagh, Sean McCormack (0-3), Mark Hughes (0-1).
Sub:- Terry McCormack for P Kiernan (57 mins).
LONGFORD SLASHERS: Colm Farrell; Ruairi Barrins, Barry Gilleran, Gareth Ghee; Peter Brady, Dermot Brady, Marc Diffley; Andrew Dalton, David Sheridan; Trevor Clendenning, Niall Mulligan, Martin Nevin (1-0); Mark Smith, Peter Foy, Colin Smith (0-4, all frees).
Subs:- Sean Flynn for T Clendenning (half-time); T Clendenning for M Smith (47 mins); Michael Brady for D Sheridan (57 mins).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).