Efficient Emyvale win but aim to improve
Emyvale 1-6 Killeeshil 0-6: The Ulster junior club prize has been safely deposited in the Emyvale trophy cabinet but manager Declan Brennan nonetheless retains a residue of frustration, anger even, from one of the greatest occasions in their history.
And as he switches his focus to the forthcoming All-Ireland series, the forthright Brennan believes his side can learn an invaluable lesson from their efficient taming of a courageous but profligate Killeeshil side in a provincial decider that was high on endeavour but lacking in finesse.
"We did not play that well but overall when you count all the decisions that went against us you would have to say that we got the rough end of the stick," declared Brennan.
"Had we been beaten, we would have been very disappointed with the referee. A lot of pulling and dragging went on during the game and that disappointed me."
Brennan is convinced, though, that his side can learn from this.
"There was a serious work-rate throughout the side as we were pushed to the pin of our collar," he added.
By half-time, Emyvale's industry, pace and no-frills approach had helped take them into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead, corner forward Daniel McMahon highlighting a gigantic contribution by fisting home a 24th minute goal which he garnished with two points while Gary Reilly, Kevin Hughes and Shane Mallon kept Killeeshil in touch.
Yet when skipper Patrick McMullan and Mallon provided further points after the break, chinks began to appear in the Emyvale armour. But their penchant taking the most direct route to the posts never deserted them.
David McAllister's 48th minute point gave them a breathing space and when substitute Daithi Colton split the posts with a fine effort the last vestiges of Killeeshil's resistance had been crushed – something that their manager Seamus McCallan conceded afterwards.
"We knew that the risk attached with pushing up was to leave space at the back and we ultimately paid a penalty for this."
Emyvale: G McCaffrey; S McMeel, J Flannery, C Connelly; K McQuaid, J Bellew, M Brown; C Hughes, M Flannery; D McAllister (0-1), R McAnespie, D Bellew; D McMahon (1-3, 0-2f), M McAree (0-1), G McQuiad. Subs: D Colton (0-1) for G McQuiad (40 mins), P McCarron for McMeel (54), G McKernan for McAree (60).
Killeeshil: C Reilly; N Breen, B O'Neill, B Mulgrew; C O'Neill, R O'Neill, C Monaghan; K Hughes (0-1), P McMullan (0-1, '45'); D Small, J McMullan, G Reilly (0-1); S Mallon (0-3, 0-2f) , C Small, R McCann. Subs: A McKenna for Mulgrew (24 mins), C Devlin for D Small (half-time), C McElvogue for McCann (47), C Donnelly for Monaghan (52).
Referee: Shaun McLaughlin (Donegal).