Stars march on to third semi-final in five years
Kingscourt Stars 0-13
Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni
Kingscourt are through to their third SFC semi-final in five years following this win over Lavey at HQ tonight.
The first half was a cagey, tactical affair. Lavey were set up to counter-attack and Kingscourt, despite having a few recognised line-breakers in the side, were loathe to bring the ball into contact.
The result was that the Stars dominated possession but found it hard to break Lavey down while at the other end, the New Inns men delivered the ball quickly and were economical, with Shane Tierney sharp on the inside.
That said, Kingscourt could have been out of sight before the end of the first quarter as they had what looked a good shout for a penalty waved away when Peter Corrigan went down. A couple of minutes later, Barry Reilly opened the Lavey defence with a sublime pass; Barry Tully bore down on goal but rattled the crossbar and Paddy Meade’s palmed effort on the rebound also struck the bar as Lavey hung on.
As it was, the sides went in level at half-time at 0-6 apiece. Kingscourt had opened an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead with points from Cian Shekleton (free) and two from Joe Dillon (a brilliant 45-metre effort and a mark), with Shane Tierney firing over for the Lavey men.
The impressive Paul Gilchreest found Diarmuid Conaty for a left-footed point but a sweetly-struck Barry Reilly free made it 0-4 to 0-2.
On 13 minutes, Lavey pulled another back when Gilchreest played a great ball to Tierney who won and converted a mark. Then came the double goal chance for the Stars but Lavey weren’t perturbed and after a patient build-up, centre-back Darren Jordan split the posts.
Employing a double sweeper, Lavey were making life difficult for the east Cavan side, whose next point was a terrific effort from the wing by Padraig Faulkner.
Tierney, with a trademark stylish point on the turn, and Barry Reilly (free) traded scores before Lavey had the final say of a close first half when Darragh Tierney knocked over after good work from Jordan.
On the restart, Kingscourt upped the ante and were able to find space, with Corrigan operating effectively as the focal point of the attack. Reilly (40-metre free) and Corrigan (mark) got the scoreboard ticking and although Tierney, in heavy traffic, manufactured an outstanding point, Kingscourt were on top at both ends by now.
Faulkner kicked a fine score, as did Philip Tinnelly after a perfect Reilly pass, and another free for Reilly left four between them entering the last 10 minutes.
Barry Tully clipped over to make it a five-point game and although Lavey pressed, Kingscourt got men back and never looked like coughing up a goal.
Karl Duke raised a white flag from a free but that was cancelled out by another from Reilly, after a foul on Corrigan, to wrap up a five-point win.
Lavey have proven very hard to beat in the championship – this was just their 10th loss in 33 matches – but came up short here. The Stars, meanwhile, tend to come alive when they make the last four and while they will need to improve to regain the Oliver Plunkett Cup, they have a fortnight to prepare for the semi-final and will be expected to be primed for that one.
Kingscourt: James Farrelly, Cathal McKeon, Shane Gray, Killian Farrelly, Shane Duffy, Paddy Meade, Philip Tinnelly (0-1), Padraig Faulkner (0-2), Sean Burke, Barry Tully (0-1), Peter Corrigan (0-1m), John Oates, Cian Shekleton (0-1f), Joe Dillon (0-2, 1m), Barry Reilly (0-5, 4f, 1m)
Subs: Cian McArdle for McKeon (50 mins), Christy McGowan for Shekleton (56), Oisin Cunningham for Tinnelly (59), Jamie Rooney for Dillon (60)
Lavey: Conor Martin, Peter Smith, David Conroy, Philip Smith, Darragh Tierney (0-1), Darren Jordan (0-1), Darragh Conaty, Gerard Smith, Paul Gilchreest, Karl Duke (0-1f), Chris Conroy, Diarmuid Conaty (0-1), Aodhagán Sheridan, Shane Tierney (0-4, 1m), Oisin Tynan
Subs: Emmet Brady for P Smith (41 mins), James McBreen for D Conaty (55), Darren Monahan for P Smith (55)
Ref: Pat Clarke