Spirited Killoe win again to cross the first hurdle in Leinster

Coming so soon after winning the county senior football championship title and all the hectic celebrations in the aftermath of their epic Connolly Cup triumph the previous week, the Killoe players somehow found the energy to produce another spirited performance that saw them score a well deserved win over the Wexford champions St. Anne’s in the Leinster Club first round clash played in difficult wet and windy conditions at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.

But Young Emmets, after holding a commanding 1-6 to 0-3 lead in the early stages of the second half, had to withstand a determined comeback by St. Anne’s who closed the gap with a goal from substitute Francis Simpson in the 40th minute and the same player was involved again soon after when Killoe defender Padraig McCormack suffered the misfortune of deflecting the ball into his own net.

In this same St. Anne’s attack, Killoe keeper Cillian Burns produced a point-blank save to keep out a shot from Simpson in the 44th minute but a gift goal materialised in the tangle to leave the sides all square, 1-7 to 2-4. That was really putting it up to the newly crowned Longford champions but they showed a lot of character in refusing to be rattled and almost immediately regained the lead with a cracking goal from Sean McCormack in the 46th minute.

Wing back Shane Dowd, after surging forward to score a vital point a few minutes earlier, started the wonderful move that yielded the matchwinning score and Michael Quinn, Mark Hughes and Eugene Clarke (providing the final pass) were also involved in creating the chance for McCormack to plant the ball in the corner of the net – much to the sheer delight of the Killoe supporters among the attendance in the region of 700 that braved the adverse weather conditions.

Ironically, that proved to be the last score of the game but it was enough to earn Killoe another home tie in the quarter-final against the Meath champions Navan O’Mahonys on Sunday week, November 11th. Young Emmets are a very fit side with a high work-rate and this was a vital factor in their eventual victory as they dominated the final quarter of the contest and would have won with considerable more comfort had they not squandered a number of decent scoring chances.

While Sean McCormack clocked up 1-3 in playing another notable part in the Killoe success story, the resolute defence were particularly impressive on this occasion and it must be said that Padraig McCormack was a real driving force against the St. Anne’s attack, led by Wexford star Redmond Barry who accounted for his sides four points (three frees).

The outstanding McCormack was the rock on which the visitors perished and Padraig received excellent support from Darragh Bennett in the full-back-line. Ronan Keogh, replacing the injured Daniel Keogh, was also to the fore while at different stages of the game the strong half-back-line of Shane Dowd, Joe McCormack and Michael Quinn really made their presence felt.

When St. Anne’s got their second goal to level matters, All-Star nominee Quinn stepped up another gear to generate a big impact when it mattered most while credit also to promising young midfielder Paddy Thompson for his vital contribution to the cause.

Thompson scored a crucial goal in the closing stages of the first half when Killoe were finding the going tough and after winning the ball in front of the posts after collecting a pass from Sean McCormack, the trigger was pulled by Paddy who fired the ball into the net with a clinical finish in the 26th minute.

That left Young Emmets leading by 1-4 to 0-2 with their points in the first half coming from Sean McCormack (free in the 8th minute), Mark Hughes (racing through to fist the ball over the bar), Denis McGoldrick (on target with a fine strike from a tight angle) and McCormack again – this time from play as he landed a very good long range effort in the 22nd minute.

After St. Anne’s went close to scoring a goal when Liam Og McGovern had a point-blank shot well saved by Cillian Burns with the alert Darragh Bennett clearing the breaking ball off the line, the Wexford champions finally got their opening score when Redmond Barry shot over the bar in the 13th minute.

Michael Quinn was then called upon to avert a dangerous situation in a goalmouth tussle and Red Barry kept St. Anne’s in contention when he converted a couple of frees in the 21st minute and again in stoppage time.

Leading by 1-4 to 0-3 at the break, Killoe made a terrific start to the second half with a point apiece from Sean McCormack (free) and Daniel Mimnagh when a goal was on before Redmond Barry was on target from another free in the 35th minute.

Young Emmets captain Joe McCormack then made a great block in deflecting a goal attempt from Diarmuid O’Keeffe out for a ‘45’ but St. Anne’s eventually found the back of the net in the 40th minute when Francis Simpson flicked a Red Barry centre past the advancing Killoe keeper Cillian Burns.

Ronan Keogh then surged forward to set up fellow defender Shane Dowd for a fine point in the 43rd minute to ease the pressure on Killoe but moments later the so unlucky Padraig McCormack was credited with an own goal that put St. Anne’s back on level terms – only for his brother Sean to rectify the situation soon after with a classy goal that decided the outcome.

KILLOE YOUNG EMMETS: Cillian Burns; Darragh Bennett, Padraig McCormack, Ronan Keogh; Shane Dowd (0-1), Joe McCormack, Michael Quinn; Paddy Thompson (1-0), Simon Kiernan; Denis McGoldrick (0-1), Ronan McGoldrick, Eugene Clarke; Daniel Mimnagh (0-1), Mark Hughes (0-1), Sean McCormack (1-3, two points from frees).

Sub:- Paddy Hughes for D McGoldrick (50 mins).

ST. ANNE’S: Seamus Mythen; Sean Gaule, Tomas Cullen, Padraic O’Keeffe; Jonathan Fogarty, Cian McGovern, Kenny Cloney; David Fogarty, David O’Connor; Fergus Whelan, Pierce White, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Liam Og McGovern, Redmond Barry (0-4, three frees), Mark Furlong.

Subs:- Francis Simpson (1-0) for M Furlong (half-time); Niall Gilbane for F Whelan (40 mins).

Referee: Damien Brazil (Offaly).