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Kilcoo's scoring power key against St Finbarr's as 3 red cards shown in All-Ireland semi-final

Portlaoise was the venue for today’s game.

Kilcoo (Down) 1-18

St Finbarr’s (Cork) 1-13

(After extra-time)

TWO YEARS AFTER they suffered extra-time heartbreak at the All-Ireland final stage, Kilcoo will get a chance to make amends in the Croke Park arena.

shealin-johnston-and-jamie-burns Shealin Johnston and Jamie Burns. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

They secured their passage in style in extra-time in Portlaoise this evening but were pushed to that additional phase by a resilient and determined St Finbarr’s challenge. The outstanding free-taking of Steven Sherlock, he hit 0-10 overall, kept St Finbarr’s in the hunt for long stages but Kilcoo hit 1-13 from play and had nine different scorers in a more rounded offering.

Mickey Moran’s side powered clear to win by five under the floodlights at the Laois venue, the St Finbarr’s challenge unravelling as Jamie Burns and Michael Shields were shown red cards towards the end of the action. 

Normal time concluded in a blaze of drama. The game was just drifting past the 60th minute mark when Paul Devlin thumped over a terrific point to edge Kilcoo ahead, Steven Sherlock kept calm two minutes later under immense pressure to float over a free from the ground that tied the game.

Then Devlin looked to have the chance to win it when presented with a free but before he could attempt the shot, Kilcoo substitute Aidan Branagan was involved in an off-the-ball incident with St Finbarr’s replacement Adam Lyne, who ended up on the ground. Branagan was shown a red card by referee Brendan Cawley, the free was overturned anad after a scramble for possession from the throw ball, full-time was blasted after a feisty encounter.

conor-laverty-and-billy-hennessy Kilcoo's Conor Laverty and St Finbarr's Billy Hennessy. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The opening half was bookended by two goals, Kilcoo firing home early on but unable to use it as a platform to gain a significant scoreboard advantage, St Finbarr’s striking late before half-time to give themselves an injection of positivity at the midway mark.

Ryan Johnston struck 1-1 in the opening five minutes, the goal a clinical strike for the Down champions after he was fed in space by Paul Devlin. But Kilcoo only scored two points for the remainder of the half, one of those a Devlin free, as they were halted by a combination of wayward shooting and a tenacious St Finbarr’s rearguard where Sam Ryan and Billy Hennessy stood out.

ryan-johnston-scores-a-goal Ryan Johnston scores Kilcoo's first-half goal. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

St Finbarr’s were rocked by that Johnston goal, only notching two points themselves in the first quarter, but worked their way into contention with a powerful phase of play. Their work rate exploded in attack as they turned over Kilcoo deep in their own defence. Stephen Sherlock slotted over three first-half frees before himself and Eoin Comyns caught Kilcoo in possession as they moved out of defence, supplying Eoin McGreevy for a tidy left-foot finish to the net.

Sherlock opened the second-half scoring as he clipped over another free but Kilcoo then hit their stride with four points on the bounce, the influence of Daryl and Eugene Branagan becoming more pronounced.  

The Down side hit the front three times during the second but the margin was never greater than a point and on every occasion Sherlock nailed a free to drag St Finbarr’s level, the last of those in the 62nd minute was a splendid effort.

In extra-time Kilcoo made their mark as they strung together some impressive moves that yielded fine points. Goalkeeper Niall Kane drilled over a couple of placed balls, while Anthony Morgan, Miceál Rooney, Paul Devlin and Ceilum O’Doherty all contributed quality scores.

St Finbarr’s tried to chip away through Sherlock frees and an impressive effort from distance by Colm Barrett but the game had dragged away from them by the end as Kilcoo looked towards Croke Park.

Scorers for Kilcoo: Paul Devlin 0-5 (0-2f), Ryan Johnston 1-1, Niall Kane 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), Daryl Branagan, Ceilum Docherty 0-2 each, Aaron Branagan, Micéal Rooney, Anthony Morgan, Eugene Branagan, Shealin Johnston 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: Steven Sherlock 0-10 (0-10f), Eoin McGreevy 1-1 (0-1 mark), Cillian Myers-Murray 0-1, Colm Barrett 0-1.

Kilcoo

1. Niall Kane

2. Niall Branagan, 3. Ryan McEvoy, 4. Aidan Branagan

5. Mícheál Rooney, 20. Daryl Branagan, 7. Eugene Branagan

8. Dylan Ward, 9. Aaron Morgan

15. Paul Devlin, 12. Shealin Johnston, 10. Ceilum Doherty

14. Ryan Johnston, 13. Conor Laverty, 11. Jerome Johnston

Subs

6. Anthony Morgan for Laverty (44)

17. Aidan Branagan for Aaron Morgan (56)

22. Justin Clark (start of extra-time)

13. Laverty for Ryan Johnston (69)

19. MacDarragh Hynes for Eugene Branagan (70)

18. Tiernan Fettes for Rooney (70)

St Finbarr’s

1. John Kerins

2. Sam Ryan, 6. Billy Hennessy, 7. Alan O’Connor

5. Colin Lyons, 3. Jamie Burns, 4. Colm Scully,

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8. Ian Maguire (captain), 9. Eoin Comyns

10. Denis O’Brien, 12. Brian Hayes, 24. Eoin McGreevey

11. Steven Sherlock, 15. Conor McCrickard, 23. Cillian Myers-Murray

Subs

13. Colm Barrett for O’Brien (41)

26. Enda Dennehy for Myers-Murray (41)

14. Michael Shields for McGreevy (49)

21. Adam Lyne for McCrickard (58)

27. Luke Hannigan for Comyns (62)

28. Cian Walsh for Hayes (inj) (69)

17. Bill O’Connell for Scully (69)

McGreevy for O’Connor (75)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

BTL 5

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from O'Moore Park, Portlaoise

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