Killoe come out on top to capture another league title
After already winning the Leader Cup and Division 1 senior league titles this season, Killoe achieved another success when they got the better of neighbouring rivals Fr. Manning Gaels in the floodlit Division 3 League Final at the Monaduff grounds on Wednesday night of last week thanks to late points from John Kiernan and Sean Maguire.
But the Young Emmets had to battle extremely hard to come out on top after letting a commanding seven-point lead slip from their grasp. With only a few minutes remaining in the first half, Fr. Manning Gaels trailed by 1-5 to 0-1 and appeared to have little chance of getting back into contention.
Backboned by prominent county minors Padraig McCormack, Darragh Bennett, Ronan Keogh and Mark Hughes allied to the vast experience of Ciaran Keogh who was making a big impact at centrefield, Killoe were in cruise control but the Drumlish/Ballinamuck outfit were thrown a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.
After points were exchanged between Emmet Collum and Tommy Reilly (who fired the ball over the bar when a Killoe goal was there for the taking) the quick thinking David Cassidy planted a close range free into the back of the net and all of a sudden the Gaels were in a better position going into the second half.
The visitors were 1-6 to 1-2 ahead and after Darragh Bennett had a decent goal attempt blocked down with six minutes gone on the changeover, the Gaels then proceeded to enjoy their best spell of the game which yielded 1-3 without reply.
After David Cassidy converted a free to close the gap, the home side made the most of a lucky break to grab the equalising goal in the 43rd minute. A shot from Emmet Collum hit the upright and the rebound broke kindly for Martin Mulleady who made no mistake in shooting to the net from point-blank range.
Soon after Petie Collum landed a well struck long range point to put the Gaels in front and the advantage was extended moments later when Michael Mulleady shot over the bar. That was really putting the pressure on Killoe, who now trailed by 2-5 to 1-6, but they gradually regained the upper hand to emerge victorious.
The Young Emmets opening score of the second half materialised in the 52nd minute when defender Paddy Hughes surged forward to fire over a fine point and sixty seconds later Fr. Manning Gaels were reduced to 14 players when Martin Mulleady lost his cool after receiving a yellow card and was subsequently sent-off for dissent.
That proved to be a severe setback so late in the game and the Gaels failed to register another score whereas Killoe added three more points to their tally, the first from a Mark Hughes free in the 54th minute which levelled matters and a draw was looking the likely outcome until Ronan Keogh set up John Kiernan for the lead point in the 60th minute.
Moments later, Sean Maguire shot over the bar to make the victory secure and the Young Emmets full-forward played particularly well in ending up with 1-3 to his credit. Padraig McCormack and Darragh Bennett linked up to create the cracking goal in the 19th minute of the first half, at which stage Killoe led by 1-4 to 0-1 following a brace of points apiece from Maguire and Mark Hughes (two frees).
Goal chances fell to John Fitzpatrick (Gaels) and John Kiernan but their close range shots were well saved by the respective keepers Stephen Coy and Kenneth Leonard, with Kiernan missing another good chance for Killoe in the 20th minute, while the solitary score for the home side was registered by Michael Mulleady in the early stages of the game.
The Fr. Manning Gaels cause was certainly not helped by the absence of their midfielders David Hannify and Kevin Whelan but with a number of very experienced players on the team the gallant losers showed a lot of character in a determined bid to take the title, only to be pipped at the post in a tight finish.
KILLOE: Stephen Coy; Andrew Gilna, Colm Devaney, Emmet Toher; Paddy Doherty, Sean Brady, Ronan Keogh; Ciaran Keogh, Val Delaney; Darragh Bennett (0-1), Padraig McCormack, Tommy Reilly (0-1); Mark Hughes (0-3, all frees), Sean Maguire (1-3), John Kiernan (0-1).
Subs:- Paddy Hughes (0-1) for A Gilna (injured, 13 minutes); Matt Clarke for T Reilly (38 mins).
FR. MANNING GAELS: Kenneth Leonard; Ciaran Cooney, Cian Brady, Sean Diffley; Michael Kane, Gary Brady, Pete McWade; David Collum, John Fitzpatrick; Emmet Collum (0-1), Padraic Davis, Petie Collum (0-1); Martin Mulleady (1-0), David Cassidy (1-1, frees), Michael Mulleady (0-2).
Referee: Aidan Dowler (Moydow Harpers).