Group 3 table toppers Killoe all but secured their passage to the quarter-finals of the Senior Football Championship when they turned on the power in the second half to crush the challenge of Granard at McGee Park in Colmcille on Saturday evening last.
Despite a sluggish start which saw the Young Emmets on level terms at the break, 0-6 to 1-3, it was all one way traffic thereafter as Granard failed to register a single point until the first minute of stoppage time.
Having got their Connolly Cup quest off to the best possible start thanks to a three point win over Mostrim in the opening round, Killoe knew a second victory would effectively guarantee a quarter-final spot at the culmination of the group stages of this year’s championship.
And judging by the opening 15 minutes, that outcome looked very much on the cards as points from Mark Hughes, the impressive Padraig McCormack and Sean McCormack opened up a three point lead.
Two frees from the boot of Paul Smyth and a Mark Hughes free kept Killoe two points ahead as the contest neared half-time. But as is so often the case in games that are slow to spring to life, it was a slice of good fortune which raised a cheer amongst a decidedly muted crowd.
The only surprise was that the break fell the way of St. Mary’s as Bernard Clyne pounced on a loose ball to shoot past the despairing Stephen Coy, despite the Killoe goalkeeper managing to get a hand on the strike from the Granard forward.
Another Smyth free along with scores from Killoe duo Padraig McCormack and Denis McGoldrick ensured both sides had plenty to ponder during the interval with the match all square.
Whatever words were exchanged in the Killoe dressingroom appeared to work a treat as forwards Sean McCormack Mark Hughes began to exert their dominance.
Granard, on the other hand, looked a mere shadow of the side who had kept their much fancied opponents very much in check in the first half as they struggled to put two or even three meaningful passes together.
John Kiernan got Killoe off to a flyer four minutes into the second half, turning sharply to shoot over the bar after collecting a quickly taken free from Darragh Bennett. That effort was swiftly followed by scores from Denis McGoldrick, Ronan McGoldrick and Sean McCormack to leave Killoe 0-10 to 1-3 ahead entering the final quarter of the contest.
In desperate need of a response, St. Mary’s saw their hopes of pulling off a shock lapse two minutes later when Darragh Bennett fisted home a goal for Killoe after capitalising on a mix up in the Granard defence.
Two further stylishly finished points from Mark Hughes and another Padraig McCormack effort added gloss to what was a polished second half Killoe performance.
Not to be outdone, Ronan McGoldrick grabbed Killoe’s second goal three minutes from the end to put the seal on a comfortable, if unspectacular performance as they now look ahead to a clash with neighbours Sean Connolly’s in their final group match.
For Granard, the spectre of relegation looms large, meaning next week’s meeting with Mostrim is now a must win encounter for St. Mary’s in their bid to preserve their senior championship status.
KILLOE: Stephen Coy; Michael Connell, Daniel Keogh, Ronan Keogh; Shane Dowd, Padraig McCormack (0-3), Francis Brady; Simon Kiernan, Darragh Bennett (1-0); Denis McGoldrick (0-2, frees), Sean McCormack (0-2), Thomas Reilly; John Kiernan (0-1), Mark Hughes (0-4, one free), Ronan McGoldrick (1-1).
Subs:- Paddy Hughes for S Kiernan (19 mins); Terry McCormack for D McGoldrick (54 mins); Colm Devaney for S McCormack (54 mins).
GRANARD: Eoin Mallon; Jodie Connolly, Brian Sheridan, Paddy McGivney; Kevin McGauran, Thomas Gallagher, Sean Duggan; Charlie Martin, Darren Gallagher; Paul Smyth (0-3, all frees), James Cassidy (0-1), Derek Sheridan; Bernard Clyne (1-0), Fergus Kelly, Ian Small.
Subs:- Glen Kelly for F Kelly (30 mins), Michael Murray for D Gallagher (60 mins).
Referee: Aidan Dowler