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Kilcoo hold onto title as late show brings down Burren

By Gareth McCullogh

Kilcoo 0-9 Burren 0-7: Kilcoo retained their Down Senior Championship title with a two-point win over much-fancied Burren in Newry yesterday with Paul Devlin's stoppage time double proving to be the difference between the sides.

In truth, it was a dour encounter with plenty of basic errors, but that mattered little to the Magpies as they lifted the Frank O'Hare Cup at Pairc Esler again.

In what was a dull opening period where both sides cancelled each other out, it was Burren who went in front in the fourth minutes when James McGovern swung over a superb point.

Kilcoo levelled from a Paul Devlin free four minutes later and then another four minutes elapsed before Down star Donal O'Hare edged Burren in front with a close range free.

However, considering the heavy scoring both sides had produced en route to the final, the first half was a bit of a let down with very little cohesive football on show for the 6,000-plus crowd at Pairc Esler. Jamie McGovern put Burren two to the good from 21 metres a minute after the quarter hour before the game began to come to life ten minutes later.

Kilcoo's Darragh O'Hanlon surged through from the half forward line to rifle a shot in on goal that beat Burren keeper Cathal Murdock but came back off the base of the left hand post. Ryan Johnston collected the rebound to slot the ball over the bar.

Conor Laverty then spun his marker after collecting an Anthony Devlin pass to tie the match with three minutes to go until half-time. Paul Devlin then gave the Magpies a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead when he converted a close range free after Dan McCartan had hauled down Laverty.

The second period didn't exactly set the pulses racing either but it was Kilcoo who extended their lead to two when Devlin converted a '45 seven minutes after the restart but Burren hit three unanswered points to edge in front by the 47th minute.

Donal O'Hare was accurate with a free before Conal McGovern palmed over the bar on 45 minutes and then Kevin McKernan fisted over two minutes later after Conor Toner's powerful run forward form midfield.

Conor Laverty hooked over the bar after picking up an Anthony Devlin lay off with eight minutes to go but it was Burren who got their noses in front once more with two minutes remaining when Jamie McGovern fisted over his second point of the day.

However, with three minutes of stoppage time shown, Jim McCorry's men knew they still had time to recover and recover they did. After Dan McCartan had been sent off for two yellow cards in the final minute of normal time, Darragh O'Hanlon blasted over a superb 50-metre free in the first minute of added time.

They were then presented with their opportunity to take the prize when Anton McArdle fouled Jerome Johnston 30 metres out and Paul Devlin kept cool under pressure to convert the resultant free before the same player scored from play with almost the last kick of the game to seal the win.

Kilcoo: S Kane; N Branagan, N McEvoy, D Branagan; D O'Hanlon (0-1), S O'Hanlon, Gerard McEvoy; P Greenan, A Branagan; P Devlin (0-5, 3f, 1'45), A Devlin, R Johnston (0-1); J Johnston, C Laverty (0-2, Gary McEvoy. Subs used: F McGreevy for Gary McEvoy (52mins), A Branagan for R Johnston (60mins)

Burren: C Murdock; D McCartan, E McCartan, G McCartan; Jamie McGovern (0-2), K McKernan (0-1), R McGovern; C Toner, A McArdle; James McGovern (0-1), S Murdock, C McGovern (0-1); D O'Hare (0-2, both frees), E Toner, S McArdle. Subs used: G McGovern for E McCartan (59mins)

Referee: Gavin Corrigan.

* Michael Murphy fired Glenswilly to their second Donegal SFC title in three years yesterday in Ballybofey.

Less than 24 hours after captaining Ireland in the International Rules Test in Cavan, Murphy delivered a five-star performance as a power-packed second-half display saw Glenswilly defeat Killybegs 3-19 to 2-06.

Belfast Telegraph


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