Laverty warning as Magpies plunder fourth title in-a-row
Morgan Fuel Down Senior Football Championship final:
Eoghan Rua, Kilcoo 3-10 St Malachy’s, Castlewellan 0-11
KILCOO’S inspirational front man Conor Laverty warned that his side are going nowhere after the Magpies won their fourth Down Senior Club Championship title in-a-row on Sunday.
Their three goals didn’t fairly reflect just how dominant Kilcoo were over Castlewellan and at no stage did the result look in doubt. After the match Kilcoo’s Laverty suggested his side were written off.
“For those of you who keep knocking the team, questioning our players and questioning our management team, my answer is we are going nowhere,” said Laverty.
“We could not have asked for a better manager in Paul McIver."
As expected the Kilcoo boss was pleased but said he wasn’t even looking at the Ulster Championship yet, and he was delighted to have guided his side to their Down Senior Club Championship in a row.
“I am delighted. It wasn’t the best performance in the world but goals win matches. Lucky enough we got three and I am a happy man,” said McIver.
“The goals really helped us as we were creating chances and not taking them. I prefer to see the scoreboard ticking over. In terms of the championship, it was really difficult to win and that is what makes it even sweeter, we played all the big teams in Down to get to the final but Castlewellan deserve credit and on any day anything can happen.”
Kilcoo were not quite firing on all cylinders but were firmly in control in the opening half of what was cagey enough encounter. Two goals in the opening half put the defending champions on the front foot, whereas Castlewellan struggled to execute their own gameplan.
Ryan Johnston opened the scoring on five minutes after an insightful pass from his brother Jerome. Two minutes later the sides were level with Castlewellan’s Daniel Morgan tapping over and the big Aidan Burns gave the Town the lead with a converted free.
Anthony Devlin replaced Conor Laverty as a blood-sub but subsequently received a black-card, which resulted in Kilcoo being forced to use a subsitution to re-introduce Laverty.
Burns sent over a beautiful tight angled point from the corner opposite of the main stand to give Castlewellan a two-point lead.
Paul Devlin squandered three frees, which on others days he would convert with ease, but Kilcoo didn’t display any signs of panic and, on 18 minutes, Castlewellan’s defence was caught napping and
Ryan Johnston took his free quickly, passing to his brother Jerome, who blasted into the net from close range. Only four minutes later, man-of-the-match Paul Greenan fisted Kilcoo’s second goal after Laverty’s tight angled shot hung in the air and Greenan beat a hesitant Michael Cunningham to the ball.
It was that type of conviction which epitomised Kilcoo’s display and they looked as hungry as ever. Paul Devlin and Jerome Johnston grabbed points, while Daniel Morgan replied for the Town to give the Magpies a convincing 2-3 to 0-4 lead at the break.
Laverty fisted two points in as many minutes of the restart with Castlewellan’s Rory Burns replying in between.
Aidan Burns kept Castlewellan’s faint hopes alive with a brace of points but Paul Devlin struck his second point and Ryan Johnston put the game to bed on 45 minutes with a stunning goal. Running at pace he collected an incisive pass from his brother, but while not in fully in control of the ball, he managed to turn at an angle and kick low into the net.
Aaron Morgan, Dylan Ward and Jerome Johnston added to Kilcoo’s tally, while Donal McKibbon, Daniel Morgan and Fintan McGreevy found the target for Castlewellan but the day belonged to the Magpies.
Castlewellan: M Cunningham; A Brogan, R McArdle, B Travers; D Morgan (0-4, 0-2 frees), K Duffin, C Flanagan; R Burns (0-1), Conall Corrigan; L McKibben, D Gilmore, D McKibben (0-1); A Burns (0-4, 0-3 frees), S Doran, Cahal Crilly; Subs: Caolan Corrigan for Brogan (44), L Toner for Conall Corrigan (47), F McGreevy (0-1) for R Burns (44) S Hardy for Flanagan (50), D McGrady for Gilmore (52), Conal Crilly for Dornan (56); Yellow cards: Duffin (15), D McKibbon (59)
Kilcoo: S Kane; N Brannigan, Aidan Brannigan, D Brannigan; Aaron Brannigan, D O’Hanlon, A Fulcher; P Greenan (1-0), D McEvoy; A Morgan (0-1), R Johnston (1-2), P Devlin (0-2); M Devlin, C Laverty (0-2), J Johnston (1-2, 0-1 free); Subs: D Ward (0-1) for M Devlin (39), P McGreevy for D McEvoy (44), Gary McEvoy for P Devlin (48), J McClean for Fulcher (49), Gerald McEvoy for Morgan (28); Blood sub: A Devlin for C Laverty (12-16 mins); Black card: A Devlin (16) replaced by Laverty; Yellow cards: P Devlin (29), D O’Hanlon (59).
Referee: R Barry (Tullylish)