Kenagh showed a lot of character in staging a late comeback to snatch the Reserve Football League Division 3 title away from Shroid Slashers in a most entertaining final played at Moran Park, Carrickedmond on Friday evening last.
After letting a commanding seven-point lead slip from their grasp and who then fell behind in allowing Shroid take control with the advantage of the stiff wind, Kenagh looked in deep trouble but were thrown a lifeline when Mark Nolan fired home a cracking goal in the 55th minute.
That left the sides all square (2-9 to 1-12) and moments later Shroid were dealt another blow when their most dangerous forward Keil Dempsey – after scoring a total of six points (five from play) - was sent-off after receiving a second yellow card.
Kenagh then regained the lead with a tremendous point from impressive attacker Kyle Fitzmaurice after making another of his penetrating runs that continually caused a lot of problems for the opposition throughout the game.
It was Fitzmaurice who also created the opening for the crucial Mark Nolan goal and the force was now firmly with Kenagh with Joe McGann bursting his way through to smack the ball over the bar in the 58th minute.
Apart from a Seanie Stakelum wide, Shroid were unable to engineer the opportunity to avoid the disappointment of defeat and their slim hopes were eventually dashed when Darren Farrell (set up by Kyle Fitzmaurice) flicked the ball to the back of the net in the third minute of stoppage time.
After having a couple of goal attempts blocked down in the first half, it was corner-forward Farrell who eventually hit the target with a cracking strike in the 25th minute and that opening goal left Kenagh in a commanding 1-8 to 0-5 lead at the break with their points coming from Kyle Fitzmaurice (2, one free), Padraic Connolly (2, one free), Sean Canavan (2), James Rowan and Michael McCormack.
Keil Dempsey (3) and David Mulligan (2) got the first half scores for Shroid who led by 0-4 to 0-1 with just six minutes gone in the game but faded right out of contention thereafter. A well struck Mark Nolan point with a couple of minutes gone on the changeover increased the Kenagh lead (1-9 to 0-5) but Shroid then came storming back with the significant wind now in their favour.
Three points in a row through Aaron Flaherty, Karl Taylor and Keil Dempsey was followed by a flicked goal from Taylor who connected with a centre from Dempsey in the 41st minute. Almost immediately the excellent Dempsey fired over the equalising score and three more Shroid points between the 49th and 53rd minutes left them leading by 1-12 to 1-9.
The prominent Karl Taylor was on target twice from play while Keil Dempsey converted a free and Shroid (coached by Killashee clubman Tony McKiernan) were now looking the likely winners but Kenagh enjoyed a new lease of life in the closing stages of the game to score 2-2 without reply to achieve success under the guidance of their new manager John Tiernan from the St. Brigid’s club in Kiltoom.
KENAGH: Gary Kenny; Mark Mulvihill, Graham Forbes; Ian Farrell, Joe McGann (0-1), Stephen Gill; Mark Nolan (1-1), James Rowan (0-1); Michael McCormack (0-1), Padraic Connolly (0-2, one free), Sean Canavan (0-2); Darren Farrell (2-0), Kyle Fitzmaurice (0-3, one free).
Subs:- Ian McEntee for M McCormack (injured, 28 mins); Niall Doherty for I Farrell (40 mins); M McCormack for M Mulvihill (42 mins); Peter O’Boyle for I McEntee (62 mins).
SHROID SLASHERS: Padraic Ryan; Dermot Harte, Ciaran Fahy; Alex Boulis, Ciaran Trappe, Derek Trappe; Ollie Nulty, Seanie Stakelum; Daniel Daly, David Mulligan (0-2), Aaron Flaherty (0-1); Keil Dempsey (0-6, one free), Karl Taylor (1-3).
Subs:- Christian Dann for D Daly (37 mins); Paddy Yorke for A Boulis (62 mins).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).