Kil­mac up and run­ning at expense of An­nacurra

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN

KIL­MACANOGUE got their Darcy Sand In­ter­me­di­ate Football Cham­pi­onship cam­paign off to a won­der­ful start when they de­feated An­nacurra in Aughrim on Satur­day evening last.

The early stages of this game were played in a steady driz­zle, leaving the play­ing sur­face slippery and lead­ing to oc­ca­sional han­dling er­rors and mis­takes.

An­nacurra, just down from Se­nior ranks, would have jus­ti­fi­able as­pi­ra­tion to make a quick re­turn back up the ranks. Like­wise, Kil­mac can hob­ble the best and on a good day can look to be a team of great talent.

How­ever, in this most dif­fi­cult of cham­pi­onships, it is es­sen­tial to put to­gether con­sis­tent dis­plays and both sides dis­ap­pointed in this re­gard last Satur­day.

The Sug­ar­loaf men hit the ground run­ning straight from the throw in. Niall Mel­don and Robert Co­nan had the bet­ter of ex­changes in the mid­field area and with the O’Cal­laghan broth­ers, Si­mon Doyle and An­drew Mol­loy mov­ing the ball at pace and sup­port­ing each other; the flow of the game was to­wards the An­nacurra goal in the first quar­ter.

The Derry men strug­gled to es­tab­lish any sort of rhythm to their play. Their last line of de­fence was be­ing put un­der extreme pres­sure where Sam O’Cal­laghan was ben­e­fit­ing from a plen­ti­ful sup­ply of ball. He opened the scor­ing with a pointed free and Niall Mel­don made it two points a minute later.

In the eighth minute Kil­mac scored their first goal. A long ball in from Mel­don bounced over the out­com­ing Sam O’Cal­laghan and Shane O’Neill and found the in-run­ning Kevin Red­den who slid the ball past Michael Doyle from close in.

Sam O’Cal­laghan pointed four frees in a row from vary­ing dis­tances to put Kil­mac on a score of 1-5 at the quar­ter hour stage.

By now An­nacurra were beginning to get some foothold in the game and their tra­di­tional cham­pi­onship fight­ing spirit was beginning to awaken.

Mick O’Brien was push­ing for­ward from mid­field with Alan Byrne com­ing more into play in the mid­dle third also. The half backs Dean Barnes, Martin O’Brien and Paul McDon­ald were get­ting for­ward to put pres­sure on the Kil­mac de­fence and the mo­men­tum of the game be­gan to change.

Frank Clune opened their scor­ing from a free after 14 min­utes. The same player went short with a ‘45’ two min­utes later, took a re­turn pass and kicked point num­ber two.

On 20 min­utes, the An­nacurra de­fence, now push­ing up­field, got caught with a sucker punch of a goal. Sam O’Cal­laghan found him­self inside the last line of de­fence and beat Michael Doyle from close in.

Kil­mac did not score in the fi­nal ten min­utes of the half and only scored three more points in the en­tire re­main­der of the game.

Alan Byrne got a third point for the Derry men and Clive Ho­ran com­pleted their first-half ac­count with a point be­fore the break. Kil­mac had an eight-point lead at 2-6 to 0-4.

An­nacurra got an­other point on the board straight from the sec­ond half throw in. Michael O’Brien gained pos­ses­sion and landed a long kick into Frank Clune. The corner-for­ward caught, turned and kicked a fine point.

Josh O’Cal­laghan re­sponded for Kil­mac but An­nacurra were now get­ting go­ing and the Sug­ar­loaf de­fence needed to be on full alert.

Luck­ily for them the An­nacurra at­tack wasted a few chances be­fore Frank Clune pointed again in the tenth minute. Once again there was a Kil­mac re­sponse, this time with a point from a Sam O’Cal­laghan free.

An­nacurra brought Michael Healy, Robert Fitzger­ald, El­liot Robin­son and Shane O’Ke­effe into the fray and the in­jec­tion of fresh legs in­creased the pres­sure on Kil­mac. How­ever, around 20 min­utes into the half an in­ci­dent fol­low­ing the award­ing of a free to An­nacurra led to the dis­missal of Mick O’Brien, the An­nacurra mid­fielder, and An­drew Mol­loy of Kil­macanogue.

The un­for­tu­nate Paul McDon­ald of An­nacurra fol­lowed them a minute later fol­low­ing an off the ball clash. Three play­ers off within a minute would give a to­tally false im­pres­sion to a game which was con­tested in a sport­ing man­ner through­out.

An­nacurra con­tin­ued to press and Ian McDon­ald was wide of the post with a ground shot which had goal writ­ten all over it. Glenn Austin pointed, and Ian McDon­ald added an­other from a free as the game went into the time added pe­riod. Luke O’Cal­laghan got the fi­nal point for Kil­mac in the third minute of time added.

Fi­nally, Glenn Austin got the goal that An­nacurra needed much ear­lier and it left the fi­nal score at 2-9 to 1-8 in favour of Kil­macanogue.

An­nacurra had come back well from the 20th minute of the game on­wards, but Kil­mac’s light­ning start was suf­fi­cient to see them se­cure a de­served vic­tory.

Michael Healy is chal­lenged by Luke O’Cal­laghan of Kil­macanogue.

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