Shillelagh hold out
Cullen thwarts Kilbride surge after a stop-start affair
SHILLELAGH picked up the points in the opening round of Group 3 in the Boom Platform Junior ‘ A’ Football Championship in a sundrenched Baltinglass on Friday evening last.
Each side traded a number of bad wides before Eoin Keogh pointed for Kilbride in the ninth minute for the opening score of the game.
Brendan Behan got Shillelagh off the mark in the 14th minute with a point after a great pass in from Cathal Murphy to level things up.
Shillelagh were applying a lot of pressure on the Kilbride defence but could not convert their frees into scores as they increased their wide stats.
It was scrappy throughout the game with the referee applying the rules to the letter of the law. Each side collected a couple of yellow cards for persistant fouling to close out the opening quarter.
Centre-back Martin Donohoe pointed a free in the 20th minute for only the third score of the game.Shillelagh had a goal chance put Pat Donohoe cleared the ball to safety.
The next period was littered with frees and chances going abbeging from both sides.
Kilbride lost a player to a black card and Niall Keogh was introduced as a replacement.
In the 28th minute, the industrious Brendan Behan burst through the heart of the Kilbride defence and unleashed a bullet which cannoned back out off Simon Creighton’s crossbar, however the alert Cathal Murphy was on hand to finish the rebound to the net for the only major of the match.
Again both sides traded a couple of wide’s to close out a low scoring first half with Shillelagh leading 1-02 to 0-02 for Kilbride.
Both sets of supporters were hoping for better fare in the second half and Kilbride midfielder Dennis Carrigan tapped over a point for on the restart before Niall Keogh levelled proceedings with another in the 36th minute.
Both sets of forwards were winning lots of ball but were not converting them into scores.
Stephen Byrne pointed a free to put Shillelagh ahead moments later but Kilbride then suffered a blow when they lost Hughie Walsh to a second yellow and Cathal Murphy tagged on another pointed free as Shillelagh found momentum.
Stephen Byrne broke through two heavy tackles and pointed an inspirational point for Shillelagh before Martin Donohoe settled things down with another pointed free for Kilbride going into the final 10 minutes of the game to leave three points in it.
Each side traded points going into the final five minutes before Declan Nolan pointed and then man of the match Brendan Behan landed the score of the match with a monster from 56 metres out on the sideline for Shillelagh’s final score of the game in the 59th minute.
However, Shillelagh lost David Cullen to a second yellow in the 62nd minute.
Kilbride literally threw the kitchen sink at Shillelagh in additional time with Dennis Carrigan drawing a sensational double save from Laurie Cullen, who firstly dived down to his right and parried the ball back out and then from Carrigan’s follow up, somehow diverted the ball over the bar with his feet for the final score of the match in the 65th minute.
Unfortunately, there were more cards and wides than scores in the match.
The cards came as a result of persistant fouling and not from malice and the obvious message from the stats is that both teams need to seriously tidy up on their tackling.
Shillelagh will be delighted with their win while Kilbride will need to regroup for the next round.
Scorers - Shillelagh: Cathal Murphy 1-02 (1f), Brendan Behan 0-02, Stephen Byrne 0-02 (1f), Declan Nolan 0-01, Daire Foley 0-01.
Kilbride: Martin Donohoe 0-03 (3f), Finn Craul 0-01, Denis Corri- gan 0-01, Eoin Keogh 0-01, Niall Keogh 0-01. SHILLELAGH: Laurie Cullen; Daniel Behan, Sean Carroll, Enda Foley; Ger O’Brien, Daire Foley, Jim O’Brien; Brendan Behan, Paddy Hennessey; Declan Nolan, Stephen Byrne, Rob Elliot; Cathal Murphy, Noel Murphy, Francis Simpson. Subs: Owen Byrne, David Cullen. KILBRIDE: Simon Creighton; Diarmuid Haughian, Pat Donohoe, Conor Dillon; Richard Ward, Martin Donohoe, Niall Donohoe; Finn Craul, Denis Corrigan; Mic Ruttle, Hugh Walsh, Keith Mor; Liam McGee, Niall Toolis, Eoin Keogh.Subs: Andy O Brien, Niall Keogh.
REFEREE: Stephen Fagan (Baltinglass)
Finn Craul of Kilbride is tracked by Brendan Behan of Shillelagh.
Declan Nolan of Shillelagh can feel Neil Donohue of Kilbride breathing down his neck.