A prosperous spell mid-way through the first half inspired Kilcock to championship glory in Conneff Park, Clane last Saturday afternoon, writes John Ryan.
Senior Reserve B Football Championship Final
St Kevin’s: 1-8
Having been rocked by the concession of a 14th minute goal, Kilcock responded in emphatic form, plundering 1-6 without reply over the course of the ensuing twelve minutes to power an unassailable eight points clear.
While the clock still favoured Kevin’s, they however never seemed likely to mount a significant comeback such was the gulf between the sides on the balance of play.
The Staplestown outfit trailed by seven points at half-time and although they went on to win the second period by 0-6 to 0-3 – keeping the eventual winners scoreless from the 46th minute – the damage was long done by a Kilcock side who were always in full control of their own destiny.
After a cagey opening ten minutes, from which Kilcock engineered a 0-3 to 0-1 lead courtesy of points from Jonathon McGrath (two frees) and Eoin Flanagan, the game suddenly sprung into life.
It was Kilcock though who brought most of the quality to the table, their pace and movement unhinging St Kevin’s defence at will, whilst they also enjoyed a monopoly on possession.
Still, Kevin’s checked their opponents in their stride when Ciaran McMahon, having won possession deep inside his own half, bombed forward and after fending off a number of challengers along the way, his 20 metre shot – intended for a point no doubt – looped over the flailing arm of ‘keeper, Dave Ryan and to the net.
That though was the first and last time that Kevin’s would have their noses in front, for as Kilcock poured confidently forward at every given opportunity, points followed from the boots of Cian Mulhall, Conor Sheridan, John Forde, Declan Gavin, McGrath and Philip Rowland, with a Forde goal – punishing a defensive slip from Kevin O’Brien – sandwiched in between in the 17th minute.
1-9 to 1-3 in front with four minutes of the first half still to play, Kilcock already had one hand on the cup, yet it was Kevin’s who enjoyed the better of the closing exchanges, but they only had a 29th minute Brian Fitzharris point - Kevin’s first score in 15 minutes – to show for their efforts before the break.
Understandably Kilcock struggled to replicate their first half showing following the restart, with the stop-start contest stifling Kilcock’s fluency somewhat, something that clearly suited Kevin’s.
To their credit Kevin’s brought added urgency to the game but they badly lacked enough class to supplement that of Johnny Fitzharris and Alan Mitchell.
The sides both pointed twice during the third quarter, with Fitzharris and former count man Adrian McAndrew (free) doing the honours for Kevin’s, while Gavin pointed twice for Kilcock.
Both sides emptied their substitute’s bench which only slowed the game down further, but while Kilcock continued to probe without much reward – they kicked 12 wides overall – it was Kevin’s who, in badly need of a goal or two, found their range with a little more ease, Darren Fox, Fitzharris (two frees) and Mitchell (free) with what transpired to be nothing more than consolation scores.
Kilcock: John Forde 1-1, Declan Gavin 0-3, Jonathon McGrath 0-3 (2f), Conor Sheridan 0-2, Eoin Flanagan 0-1, Cian Mulhall 0-1, Philip Rowland 0-1.
St Kevin’s: Johnny Fitzharris 0-4 (2f), Ciaran McMahon 1-0, Adrian McAndrew 0-1 (1f), Darrem Fox 0-1, Alan Mitchell 0-1 (1f), Brian Fitzharris 0-1.
Dave Ryan; Fergal O’Brien, Brendan Macken, David Shourthouse; Conor Sheridan, Eoin Flanagan, Kevin O’Hara; Dave McTiernan, Ciaran Murray; Jonathon McGrath, Declan Gavin, Craig Mooney; Cian Mulhall, Philip Rowland, John Forde. Subs: Darren Byrne for Mulhall (33 mins); James Grogan for Murray (48 mins); David Keogh for Rowland (53 mins); Dermot Finn for McGrath (60 mins).
Peter Casey; Kevin O’Brien, Cathal Cronin, Mark Mitchell; Jack Kenny, Pat Cox, Luke Reilly; Eoin Lenihan, Ciaran McMahon; Johnny Fitzharris, Adrian McAndrew, Darren Fox; Brian Fitzharris, Alan Mitchell, Jamie Kenna. Subs: Eric Keating for Mark Mitchell (19 mins); John Casey for Kenna (39 mins); Eamon Cox for Kenny (42 mins); Robert Beirne for O’Brien (48 mins); Gary Tennison for Lenihan (53 mins).