Kilcoo dreams are shattered in final

Kilcoo dreams are shattered in final

5 December 2012

KILCOO’S dreams of winning a first ever Ulster Club title turned into a nightmare scenario at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh on Sunday.

Despite a brave Kilcoo second half fightback, Crossmaglen’s title was never in doubt.

The Down champions were given a footballing lesson in the first half and went in at the break, tails down and trailing 2-6 to 0-3.

That changed after the interval when they came from ten points behind to trail by three on a scoreline of 2-7 to 1-7.

But they committee too many players in a bid to draw level and were picked off in the last quarter by a 13-man Crossmaglen.

Crossmaglen added 1-2 to their tally in the last 12 minutes with Kilcoo only able to register two points in that period.

The Armagh outfit started in a hurry and a goal from the penalty spot after just two minutes left the Kilcoo players and supporters shell-shocked.

Worse was to follow. A minute later Stephen Kernan scythed his way through the Kilcoo half back line and passed to brother Aaron, who drilled the ball past a helpless Stephen Kane.

Just for good measure, Tony Kernan tagged on a point to give his side a 2-1 to 0-0 lead after only five minutes.

Paul Devlin gave Kilcoo some respite with a pointed free in the seventh minute, but unanswered points from Stephen Kernan (2), McConville, Kyle Carragher and Aaron Cunningham gave Crossmaglen a 2-6 to 0-1 lead by the 17th minute.

Kilcoo never gave up hope and they kept Crossmaglen scoreless for the remainder of the first half and managed to register points from Darragh O’Hanlon and Paul Devlin to go in at the break 2-6 to 0-3 down.

Aaron Kernan opened the scoring in the first minute of the second half, but Kilcoo started getting at Crossmaglen all over the park and they were suddenly in command.

Donal Kane started the charge with a point from play and his score was followed by points from Darragh O’Hanlon, Paul Devlin and a brilliant goal from Anthony Devlin in the 40th minute that rocked Crossmaglen to the core.

Another Darragh O’Hanlon free left Kilcoo trailing by just three points, 2-7 to 1-7 with 15 minutes remaining and Crossmaglen down to 14 men after Michael McNamee was red carded.

Crossmaglen were staring down the barrel, but their vast experience came to the fore and points from Martin Aherne and McConville steadied the ship.

Despite losing Jamie Clarke in the 55th minute to a red card, Rangers had regained their swagger and a breakaway goal from Brennan put the tin hat on the job.

Still, Kilcoo refused to lie down and late points from Darragh O’Hanlon and Ryan Johnston were no more than they deserved.

Kilcoo: S. Kane, N. Brannigan, D. Kane (0-1), D. Branagan, S. O’Hanlon, A. Branagan, Gerard McEvoy, P. Greenan, A. Devlin (1-0), J. Johnston, P. Devlin (0-3), D. O’Hanlon (0-4), R. Johnston (0-1), C. Laverty, Gary McEvoy. Subs: P. McGreevy for J. Johnston, J. McClean for A. Devlin, S. Devlin for Kane.

Crossmaglen: P. Hearty, P. Hughes, P. Kernan, P. McKeown, A. Kernan (1-1), J. Morgan, M. Aherne (0-1), J. Hanratty, D. McKenna, K. Carragher (0-1), S. Kernan (0-2), T. Kernan (0-1), J. Clarke, A. Cunningham (0-1), O. McConville (1-2). Subs: C. Cumiskey for Carragher, K. Brennan (1-0) for Cunningham, D. O’Callaghan for P. Kernan, R. Finnegan for Hughes.

Crossmaglen 3-9

Kilcoo 1-9