Killoe Og made up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final by claiming the Minor Football Championship title for the first time since 2009 with two points to spare over neighbouring rivals St. Vincent’s in the county final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
It was an evenly contested game and St. Vincent’s could have snatched a dramatic winner one minute from time but Paul Donnelly’s fisted effort from a Gary Connell free just went agonisingly wide.
The Drumlish/Ballinamuck side (minus the services of Dean Cosgrave because of his soccer commitments with Longford Town) had the better of the early chances in but failed to convert possession into scores. Within the opening minute they created their first scoring chance; Ronan Corr’s high effort was helped a little by the strong wind, it came off the post and was then pushed out for a ’45 by Killoe keeper Shane Fitzpatrick.
Four minutes later they had another chance. Paul Hughes played the ball into Mark Breslin but his low shot was deflected out for another ‘45. Seconds later Emmet Noonan kicked the ball short into the opposing keeper’s hands.
It was Killoe who opened the scoring in the 6th minute; a free from Larry Moran. Paddy Kiernan had a chance one minutes later but his effort was well blocked down by Nigel Kiernan. In the 9th minute Moran forced St. Vincent’s keeper Michael Heslin into making a save with his feet.
Four minutes later Moran was on target again getting his and his side’s second point. Cian Farrelly added another point in the 15th minute to put Killoe ahead by three.
St. Vincent’s squandered more scoring chances shortly after that as they tried to register their first score of the game. Killoe made no mistake in getting another point in the 24th minute; Seamus McCormack pointing a free.
In the 26th minute St. Vincent’s finally got off the mark when a ’45 from Paul Hughes was flicked to the net by Paul Donnelly. And right on the stroke of half-time St. Vincent’s drew level when Martin Cassidy’s free was tipped over the bar by Killoe keeper Shane Fitzpatrick.
Killoe started the second half well. Within the first minute Ciaran Donohoe had an effort but the ball was caught by Michael Heslin in the St. Vincent’s goals. In the 33rd minute they went back in front when Larry Moran got his third point of the game.
Three minutes later another free from the boot of Seamus McCormack edged Killoe ahead by two as they tried to assert their superiority. But they had a let-off in the 39th minute when Cassidy’s effort came off the post.
Killoe replied with a point from Ciaran Donohoe to put a goal between the sides. In the 44th minute the lead was four points when Brian Finnerty got his name on the scoresheet with a well-taken score. It was all Killoe at this stage as St. Vincent’s just couldn’t find a way of getting back into the game.
In the 49th minute the Drumlish/Ballinamuck side finally registered their first score of the second half; Gary Connell with a free that curled over the bar after Emmet Noonan was fouled.
Minutes later the deficit was cut to just two points when Martin Cassidy was fouled and Connell stepped up to fire over his second free.
One minute from normal time St. Vincent’s had a chance to go in front for the first time in the game. A free from Gary Connell was floated in and Paul Donnelly got a fist to the ball but his goal attempt just went inches wide.
In additional time St. Vincent’s went for goal again but Gary Connell’s low drive was blocked down by the Killoe defence and they were able to clear the danger. Killoe had a chance to grab a point right at the end after man-of-the-match Shane Clarke was fouled but Seamus McCormack hit his effort wide. It didn’t matter because just seconds later referee Michael O’Brien blew the full-time whistle and Killoe deservedly regained the Harte Cup.
KILLOE OG: Shane Fitzpatrick; Ryan Moffet, Damien Bennett, Darragh Gilna; John Lynch, Shane Clarke, Shane Tully; Paddy Kiernan, Cian Farrelly (0-1); Larry Moran (0-3, one free), Brian Finnerty (0-1), Seamus McCormack (0-2, frees); Stephen Duke, Liam Hughes, Ciaran Donohoe (0-1).
Sub:- Jamie King for S Duke (41mins).
ST. VINCENT’S: Michael Heslin; Ruairi Carthy, Daniel Gorman, Gavin Quinn; Nigel Kiernan, Mike Kiernan, Paul Hughes; Gary Connell (0-2, frees), Mark Breslin; Anthony Kane, Emmet Noonan, Neil Connolly; Martin Cassidy (0-1), Paul Donnelly (1-0), Ronan Corr.
Subs:- Scott Howe for N Connolly (42 mins); Jason Nertney for A Kane (56 mins).
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Longford Slashers).