Magpies in flight

Magpies in flight

6 November 2019

KILCOO secured their place in the Ulster Club Championship semi-finals with a five-point win over Magherafelt’s O’Donovan Rossa at Pairc Esler, but they didn’t get everything their own way.

Mickey Moran’s side will now face Fermanagh’s Derrygonnelly for a place in the final after they beat Trillick on Sunday. 

Clontibret, surprise winners over Crossmaglen Rangers on Saturday night, will take on Donegal’s Naomh Conaill in the other semi-final.

Kilcoo started in a hurry on Sunday and raced into  0-3 to 0-0 lead after five minutes with Aaron Branagan, Ryan McEvoy and Darryl Branagan doing the damage.

The Derry champions took a while to settle, but Emmet McGuckin got them on the board in the 10th minute. This score was followed by points from Cormac Murphy and Conor Kearns as the Rossas drew level by the 16th minute.

Both sides were playing well within themselves, but scoring chances were hard to come by with defenders generally on top.

With 21 minutes gone a Paul Devlin free nudged Kilcoo into a 0-4 to 0-3 lead, but the visitors refused to lie down and McGuckin again levelled matters with four minutes of the half remaining.

Devlin ensured Kilcoo went into the break with a 0-5 to 0-4 lead when he converted his second free in the 28th minute.

Magherafelt drew first blood at the start of the second half, but this was responded to by Anthony Morgan who gave Kilcoo a 0-6 to 0-5 lead with 36 minutes played.

Kilcoo’s ability to recycle possession was starting to take its toll on Magherafelt and with 38 minutes gone Eugene Branagan stretched his side’s lead to two points.

Two points quickly became five in the 39th minute. Kilcoo won the kick out following Eugene Branagan’s point and after a few telling passes, Jerome Johnston finished to the net with an explosive strike.

Jared Monaghan and Conor Laverty exchanged points before Laverty and Eugene Branagan made it a seven-point game, 1-10 to 0-6 with seven minutes of the game remaining.

The Heavron brothers, Shane and Daniel, kept Magherafelt interested with points apiece, but Jerome Johnston quelled any hopes of a late comeback when he registered Kilcoo’s 11th point.

There was a late scare for Kilcoo when Magherafelt did get the ball in the net, but the referee had called play back as he had already had whistled for a free.

McGuckin pointed the set-piece, but it was too little, too late as Kilcoo march on.

Cill Chua: Martin McCourt, Niall Branagan, Aidan Branagan, Niall McEvoy, Anthony Morgan (0-1), Aaron Branagan (0-1), Miceal Rooney, Darryl Branagan (0-1), Ryan McEvoy (0-1), Eugene 

Branagan (0-2), Paul Devlin (0-2f), Ryan Johnston, Dylan Ward, Jerome Johnston (1-1), Conor Laverty (0-2). Subs: J Clarke for R Johnston, S Johnston for Rooney.

Magherafelt: Odhran Lynch, Simon McErlain, Darren O’Neill, Giuseppe Lupari, Conor McCluskey, Fergal Duffin, Conor Kearns (0-2, Jared Monaghan (0-1), Daniel Heavron (0-1), Patrick McLarnon, Shane Heavron (0-1), John Young, Anton McElhone, Cormac Murphy (0-1), Emmet McGuckin (0-3, 2f). Subs: M Lynch for McLarnon, D Martin for McElhone, C Rafferty for Young, J Keenan for Lupari, M Higgins for Heavron.