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Now Kilcoo get Down to assault on the Ulster crown


Champs: Kilcoo's Sean O'Hanlon and Aidan Branagan lift the trophy

Champs: Kilcoo's Sean O'Hanlon and Aidan Branagan lift the trophy

©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritcha

Champs: Kilcoo's Sean O'Hanlon and Aidan Branagan lift the trophy

The good times just keep rolling for Kilcoo.

A third consecutive Down senior championship football crown was duly collected yesterday in what was nothing more than another straightforward day at the office for Jim McCorry's all-conquering side.

And current form, allied to recent pedigree, would suggest that the Mourne kingpins have never been better placed to make a strong pitch for the Ulster club crown.

"To win a hat-trick of titles is a great achievement and while Kilcoo may be viewed as a small club, it is massive in terms of heart and commitment. These players thoroughly deserve all the success they have achieved," declared McCorry.

Kilcoo's build-ups, support play and finishing were right out of the top drawer and long before the finish the destination of the trophy had been firmly decided.

A crisp hat-trick of points set the tone for Kilcoo's spirited first-half display and when Donal O'Hare and Gerard McEvoy traded scores, the reigning champions still looked set to unleash even greater attacking venom.

But in a blistering four-minute spell Burren wrested back the initiative, Shay McArdle signalling their riposte, before danger man O'Hare applied a clinical finish to a sweeping four-man move by drilling the ball to the Kilcoo net in the 18th.

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It was a dramatic turnaround but three minutes later Kilcoo underlined their resilience when Ryan Johnston's thunderbolt from 30 metres deceived Burren custodian Cathal Murdock and ended up in the roof of the net.

And when Johnston's brother Ryan tagged on a point for good measure, Kilcoo appeared to have fully regained their poise.

But Burren's economical, quick-passing style was to reap further benefits before the break with, first, the accurate O'Hare and then Eamon Toner pilfering points before Jerome Johnston ensured that Kilcoo enjoyed a modicum of comfort at half-time, his 30th minute point giving them a 1-6 to 1-5 lead.

In a stunning onslaught on the resumption, though, Kilcoo hit 1-4 without reply, Ryan Johnston's goal easing them well clear.

When man of the match Conor Laverty and substitute Donal Kane pounced for further goals, Eamon Toner's goal for Burren was relegated to the status of a consolation score.

Kilcoo finished on a high, their position of eminence within Down further cemented in what is proving a glorious era for the club.

Kilcoo: S Kane; N Branagan, M Devlin, D Branagan 0-1; D O'Hanlon, N McEvoy, G McEvoy 0-1; P Greenan, A Branagan; R Johnston 2-0, C Laverty 1-1, P Devlin 0-5 (2f); J Johnston 0-3, A Morgan, F McGreevy. Subs: J McClean 0-1 for N Branagan (Black card 42 mins), D Kane 1-0 for McGreevy (46), S O'Hanlon for Morgan (58), D McEvoy for Greenan (58), A Devlin for J Johnston (59). Yellow cards: D Branagan (34), Laverty (40), McClean (60).

Black card: N Branagan (42)

Burren: C Murdock; J McGovern, G McGovern, B Murphy; D Rooney, K McKernan, Ciaran McGovern; C Toner, Conaill McGovern 0-1; P Murdock, C Foy, S McArdle 0-1; S Murdock, E Toner 1-1, D O'Hare 1-3 (3f). Subs: D McEntee 0-1 for Foy (38 mins), B McKenna for P Murdock (46), R McGovern for Murphy (50).

Referee: Kieran Trainor (Longstone).

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