After scoring a most emphatic 3-14 to 0-8 win over Colmcille in the Leader Cup quarter-final earlier in the week, the busy schedule for Killoe Young Emmets continued against Clonguish in miserable wet conditions at Allen Park on Sunday last and the county champions came out on top to reach the senior league title decider.
Longford Slashers or Dromard (who meet in the second semi-final at Fay Park this Wednesday night) will provide the opposition in the Leader Cup Final on Sunday December 16th and Killoe are looking good to complete the senior double even if they did struggle somewhat to overcome the challenge of Clonguish.
Starting without Michael Quinn and Daniel Mimnagh from the team that lined-out against Portlaoise in the Leinster Club semi-final the previous week, Young Emmets were still too strong against a depleted Clonguish outfit who were missing three of their key players – the injured Barden brothers Paul and David along with Enda Williams who is currently out of the country.
Killoe were guilty of wasting quite a few chances in the first half and had to be content with a slender 0-4 to 0-2 lead at half-time with their points coming from Denis McGoldrick, Sean McCormack (2) and Paddy Kiernan, the latter landing an excellent effort just before the break.
Ronan McGoldrick was denied a goal in the early stages of the game after the Clonguish keeper Stephen Watters produced a fine point-blank save while the home side had another lucky escape in the 16th minute when Brendan Burke did well to block down a well struck shot from Eugene Clarke that was heading for the back of the net.
Both the Clonguish scores in the first half came from frees converted by Paddy Dowd while Kevin Burke was unfortunate not to get a goal when he hit the crossbar in the 8th minute.
Killoe enjoyed a promising spell in the early stages of the second half to extend their advantage with further points from Denis McGoldrick, Ronan McGoldrick and Mark Hughes while Sean McCormack went close to scoring a goal when his shot was well saved by Stephen Watters.
But netminder Watters, already on a yellow card, was sent-off for dissent in the 37th minute as Clonguish were reduced to 14 players and after Sean McCormack converted a free Killoe put the issue well and truly beyond all doubt with a goal from defender Ronan Keogh who hit the target with a speculative shot in the 45th minute.
Clonguish managed to close the gap with a brace of Paddy Dowd points in quick succession, from a ‘45’ and an excellent long range strike in the 47th minute, and very little happened during the remainder of this scrappy encounter that was spoiled by the extremely difficult conditions.
The sides shared another two points, both from frees converted by Sean McCormack and Joe O’Brien, and Killoe must be fancied to win the Leader Cup they last captured in 2010 when they beat Slashers in the final.
KILLOE: Cillian Burns; Darragh Bennett, Padraig McCormack, Daniel Keogh; Shane Dowd, Joe McCormack, Ronan Keogh (1-0); Paddy Thompson, Simon Kiernan; Paddy Kiernan (0-1), Ronan McGoldrick (0-1), Eugene Clarke; Denis McGoldrick (0-2), Sean McCormack (0-4, two frees), Mark Hughes (0-1).
Subs:- Michael Quinn for S Dowd (37 mins); Cian Farrelly for D Bennett (44 mins); John Kiernan for R McGoldrick (55 mins); D Bennett for J McCormack (55 mins).
CLONGUISH: Stephen Watters; Anthony Watters, Brendan Burke, Paul Barden (Junior); Darren Quinn, John O’Brien, Brendan Devine; David Faughnan, Padraig Cooney; Stephen Norton, Kevin Burke, Joe O’Brien (0-1, free); Colin Clarke, Paddy Dowd (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ‘45’), Eoin Keane.
Subs:- Mikie McGuinness for P Barden Jnr (37 mins); Colin Reynolds for C Clarke (55 mins).
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Granard St. Mary’s).