Barry McKeon was the hero for Colmcille firing over the winning point deep into stoppage time to set up a semi-final clash with reigning champions Longford Slashers this Sunday.
It was duly fitting that the county minor would get the vital point because he was in inspirational form throughout, scoring ten of Colmcile’s 13 points. As well as his shooting accuracy, his general play was exceptional.
Saturday’s replay was always going to be tight and it was no surprise that it went down to the wire. It was a thoroughly entertaining game with some superb scores and play from both sides.
The highlight was the shoot-out between both number 13s - McKeon for Colmcille and Sean McCormack for Emmet Óg. The two forwards played pivotal roles for their sides. McCormack scored six points and was instrumental in the only goal of the game which was scored by his younger brother Padraig while the nifty McKeon was outstanding.
Unlike the drawn game the week before Emmet Óg were quick off the mark and barely one minute had elapsed when they registered the first point of the game; McCormack collected the ball and laid it off to Mark Hughes who played it back to the county player and he fired over.
It took McKeon three minutes to open his account; turning his marker to point over. Hughes grabbed Emmet Óg’s second point in the fifth minute as they started to take control of the game. Three minutes later and the Killoe side extended their lead to four points when Padraig McCormack found the back of the net after some nice play involving his brother Sean and Hughes.
For all their possession Emmet Óg failed to add further scores and two frees from the boot of McKeon in the space of two minutes cut the deficit to just two points in the 15th minute. The youngster thought he’d added another score to his tally in the 18th minute but his free was signalled wide; even though it looked over. Emmet Óg broke down the field and a fantastic score from McCormack put a goal between the sides. Minutes later their four point advantage was restored with another excellent point from McCormack, who was the playmaker for his side.
Credit to Colmcille they kept plugging away and in a five minute spell before the break they got back on level terms with four unanswered points from the boot of McKeon.
Colmcille were lucky not to have been reduced to 14 men one minute into the second half when Enda Farrell was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Simon Kiernan. The Colmcille midfielder received a yellow card.
A free from McCormack (his first of the game) a few minutes later edged his side in front but Colmcille responded with a free from McKeon and the sides were level again.
Emmet Óg could’ve grabbed their second goal of the game in 37th minute; Shane Dowd played the ball into McCormack who passed to Denis McGoldrick but Colmcille keeper Mark Kiernan made an excellent save. A curling free from the sideline from McCormack gave Mickey Quinn’s side the lead again minutes later.
Just like the first half the Killoe men were on top but Colmcille stayed with them. McKeon levelled matters for the fourth time in the 43rd minute with another fine score. It was his and his side’s ninth point of the game. Two minutes later and the north Longford side went ahead for the first time when Declan Reilly pointed over a free after Padraig Murtagh was fouled.
In the 50th minute Colmcille went two points ahead and suddenly the game had swung in their favour and Emmet Óg were now having to chase the game. It was a complete reversal of the first game. David Kiernan cut the gap to just one point in the 55th minute but a fine score from Paul McKeon one minute later restored Colmcille’s two point lead.
It was back to a one point game in the 57th minute when Padraig McCormack fired over an excellent point. One minute from the end of normal time Denis McGoldrick had a chance to draw his side level but his effort from a tight angle went wide.
In the 60th minute Sean McCormack grabbed the equaliser and with three minutes of stoppage time to play the game was nicely poised. With over two minutes of the time allotted played McKeon popped up to claim a dramatic win for Colmcille.
Colmcille: Mark Kiernan, Ollie McGivney, Noel Farrell, Ciaran Brady, Padraig Murtagh, Gary Murtagh, Francis Kavanagh, Enda Farrell, JP Reilly, Paul McKeon (0-1), Niall Brady, Tommy Doyle (0-1), Barry McKeon (0-10,4f), Declan Farrell, Declan Reilly (0-1, 1f).
Subs: Colin Kiernan for N Brady (60 mins).
Emmet Óg: Stephen Coy, Michael Connell, Colm Devaney, David Kiernan (0-1), Darragh Bennett, Padraig McCormack (1-1), Shane Dowd, Simon Kiernan, Joe McCormack, Denis McGoldrick, Ronan Keogh, Ronan McGoldrick, Sean McCormack (0-6, 2f), Thomas Reilly, Mark Hughes (0-1)
Subs: Eugene Clarke for S Kiernan (46 mins), Ger Carberry for Keogh (51 mins), John Kiernan for R McGoldrick (54 mins).
Referee: Stephen Tierney (Mostrim).