Stars hold on for second narrow win

Senior Football Championship

Kingscourt Stars 1-11

Killygarry 0-13

Once again Killygarry are beaten by a single point in this year’s senior championship, this time at the hands of a Kingscourt side that did enough - and no more - to deserve the win.

The Stars produced their best football in the opening seven minutes when they hit 1-3 without reply. Killygarry’s slow start was followed by their best spell as they landed five in a row in 13 minutes but could never get level.

Joe Dillon opened the scoring when he was given way too much time and space on the ball 30 metres from goal. Peter Corrigan then set up Philip Tinnelly for the first of his three points, an impressive haul while marking Oisin Brady.

Barry Reilly sailed over a ’45 on the fourth minute as Kingscourt looked to be playing at a different level to Killygarry.

With Killygarry sleeping, Dillon was awake to Cathal McKeon’s run in behind the Killygarry defence and he kicked the quick free perfectly to McKeon’s chest. The first to read the danger was Killygarry keeper Patrick Galligan who quickly rushed McKeon and saved the shot but the rebound hit off the retreating Fergal Clarke before crossing the line, giving Kingscourt a six-point lead.

Full-back Conor Connolly finally got Killygarry off the mark with a well-taken point from the right corner-forward position. Oisin Brady hit the first of his six frees after Conor Smith was fouled to close the gap to four.

Killygarry, trying to send high ball to the Kingscourt square, made it a three-point game when Jack Mooney picked up the break from one such attack and tapped over from close range. With Killygarry now in full flow, Brady drove at the Stars defence, passing three defenders before fisting over the bar.

After the water break, Smith was again fouled for Brady to convert and Killygarry found themselves just one behind. Needing to turn the momentum, Kingscourt sent a direct pass to Dillon who collected the mark and sent over for their first score in 14 minutes.

Barry Reilly had a chance to extend the Kingscourt lead to three but his free came back off the post - but fell kindly into Dillon’s hands for a tap over. Darragh Kennedy, trying to break through the mass of Kingscourt bodies back defending, was fouled and Brady again kicked the resulting free.

On the 26th minute Tinnelly played a one-two with Peter Corrigan to lose the Killygarry defenders and at speed split the posts for the second time leaving three points between the sides at half-time.

Jack Mooney showed great agility and speed for the opening score of the second half as he danced around Barry Reilly before sending over on his left foot. Two minutes later, the gap was back to a single point as Conor Smith converted a ’45.

Like a switch that Kingscourt could turn off and on, Peter Corrigan kicked into Cian Shekleton for an attacking mark. Killygarry sub Darragh Gannon looked to have given Killygarry the lead as he pulled the trigger in front of the Kingscourt goal but Tinnelly dived full length to deny the goal.

Odhran Cunningham, on one of his many runs from corner-back, won a free for Reilly to send over on the sixth minute, restoring Kingscourt’s three-point lead. A super point from near the sideline on the 20-metre line by Mark McDermott pulled one back for Killygarry but Reilly’s 47-metre free cancelled it out soon after.

Shekleton sent over a free before the water break after Cian McArdle was fouled picking up the ball, meaning Killygarry trailed by four. Soon after the water break, Oisin Brady brought it back to three after Jack Mooney was fouled followed by a black card to go with an earlier yellow for Barry Reilly, leaving the Stars with a man less for the remaining six minutes.

Gannon and Brady raised white flags before injury-time as Kingscourt brought everyone behind the ball to hold on to their lead. On a break-out, attack McArdle again won a free and with Shekleton and Reilly off the field, Tinnelly stepped up and made no mistake in doubling Kingscourt’s lead.

Killygarry continued to battle to the end, bringing on Ben Mooney for Cian Reilly who looked to have picked up an injury and Oisin Brady’s seventh point of the game from a 20-metre free left just one between the sides with four minutes injury time played.

Killygarry were afforded one last chance and won a free 40 meters from goal on the right side. Martin Reilly’s absence was notable as Oisin Brady took the free on his weaker left foot but forced it across the goal and wide before the final whistle sounded.

Kingscourt Stars: James Farrelly, Cathal McKeon (1-0), Shane Gray, Odhran Cunningham, Shane Duffy, Philip Tinnelly (0-3, 1f), John Oates, Padraig Faulkner, Sean Burke, Barry Tully, Peter Corrigan, Paddy Meade, Cian Shekleton (0-2, 1m, 1f), Joe Dillon (0-3, 1m), Barry Reilly (0-3, 2f, 45)

Subs: Cian McArdle for Burke, Oísin Cunningham for McKeon, Jamie Rooney for Shekleton

Killygarry: Patrick Galligan, Cian Reilly, Conor Connolly (0-1), Anslem Lovett, Daryll McKenna, Conor Bates, Darragh Kennedy, Mattie McKenna, Fergal Clarke, Mark McDermott (0-1), Ryan Brady, Oisin Brady (0-7, 6f), Jack Mooney (0-2), Conor Smith (0-1, 45), Enda Gallen

Subs: Darragh Gannon (0-1) for Gallen, Ross Sheridan for R Brady, Daniel Walsh for Clarke, David Talbot for Kennedy, Ben Mooney for Reilly.