Kilcoo earn victory the hard way in extra-time

Kilcoo earn victory the hard way in extra-time

16 August 2017

KILCOO went into this first round tie against Clonduff as big favourites to progress, but in the end it took extra-time and some good fortune to see them over the line by the minimum. 

A large crowd was in attendance at Pairc Esler on Sunday night to see a repeat of last year’s county final and this time the exchanges were much closer from start to finish. 

Clonduff will be disappointed they didn’t win the game and over the 80 plus minutes they were the better team. They set up with 13 men behind the ball and frustrated the Magpies from early on.

Kilcoo, on the other hand, were a side devoid of ideas and tactically naive. But they still showed that fighting spirit to somehow get over the line.

Dual player Rian Branagan opened the scoring in the first minute with Ryan Johnston levelling matters three minutes later. Aaron Morgan and Conor Og O’Hagan then traded scores before Ceilum Doherty gave Kilcoo a one point lead in the eighth minute, opting for a point when a goal was on. 

Clonduff were starting to grow in confidence with a Stephen McConville free and a fine Shane Ward point from play easing them back into the lead with 20 minutes played. 

Stephen Kane in the Kilcoo goal made a brilliant save to deny Conor Og O’Hagan either side of two Darragh O’Hanlon points leading up to the interval while Shea Murnin cleared off the line at the other end to deny the Magpies a certain goal. 

Conor Laverty and Darren O’Hagan both got on the scoresheet during the closing stages of the half as did Paul Devlin from a 45, right on the stroke of Brendan Rice’s half-time whistle as Kilcoo led 0-7 to 0-5.

Clonduff came out of the traps best in the second period and were rewarded with a goal on the 35th minute. Conor Og O’Hagan rounded two defenders to place substitute Conor Murray in on goal and he palmed home with aplomb. 

Stephen McConville added a free before Kilcoo finally got on the score board in the 42nd minute via midfielder Felim McGreevy.

Kilcoo were expected to soon stage a come back, but it was Clonduff who drove on and prior to the 50th minute mark had a three point lead, thanks to two more McConville efforts and they looked good for victory. 

But this was to be their last score of normal time as they sat back and tried to defend the lead. Kilcoo were patient and never panicked and after O’Hanlon and Devlin scores it was that man Conor Laverty who stood up and levelled matters with time almost up to force extra-time. 

The sides couldn’t be separated in the opening half of extra-time scoring twice apiece, Kilcoo with two fine Paul Devlin scores while Clonduff responded each time with a majestic point from Aidan Carr and one from James Killen. 

The second period saw mistakes aplenty with both sides tiring and with a minute to play Kilcoo snatched victory with James McClean pointing from 40 yards after his reintroduction.

It was cruel on Clonduff, but with the back door in place they will be a team to be feared in this year’s championship. Kilcoo were very disappointing and only Stephen Kane, Conor Laverty and Paul Devlin played anywhere near to potential. 

Clonduff put up a massive effort and on the night had top exponents in Paul Lively, Darren O’Hagan, Aidan Carr, Rian Branagan, Stephen McConville and Conor Og O’Hagan. 

Kilcoo: Stephen Kane, Niall Branagan, Darragh O’Hanlon (0-3), Aaron Branagan, Aidan Fulcher, Darryl Branagan, Paul Devlin (0-4), Felim McGreevy (0-1), Aaron Morgan (0-1), Dylan Ward, Conor Laverty (0-2), Ceilum Doherty (0-1), Jerome Johnston, Ryan Johnston (0-1), James McClean. Subs: Martin Devlin, Donal Kane, Eugene Branagan, James McClean (0-1), JJ McLaughlin, Gary McEvoy. 

Clonduff: Paul Gribben, Paul Lively, Shea Murnin, Ruairi Lively, Jayme Gribben, Darren O’Hagan (0-1), Charlie Carr, Aidan Carr (0-1), John Brown, Conor Og O’Hagan (0-1), Rian Branagan (0-1), Stephen McConville (0-4), Shane McGreevy, Shane Ward (0-1), Liam McGreevy. Subs: Conor Murray (1-0), James Killen (0-1), Gary McDonald, Finbar McConnville, Conor Og OHagan, Lorcan Branagan. 

Referee: Brendan Rice (CPN).