Burren and Kilcoo stroll into Down SFC quarter-finals
Round 2A: Mayobridge 0-9 Burren 4-12
BURREN blew Mayobridge away with a rampaging second half performance, which will surely enhance their championship credentials.
Managed by Paddy O’Rourke and Steven McDonnell, Burren completely owned the second half, which was in huge contrast to the opening half where Benny Coutler’s Mayobridge looked the dominant force.
The Bridge went in at half-time a frustrated side as they had played the majority of football but could only draw level with Burren.
As expected it was a physical contest. The Sky Blues seemed to have the measure of their neighbours but their shooting let them down, with five wides in the opening eight minutes.
Caolan Gallagher slipped between two defenders to notch the opening point of the game but it took a Cathal Magee converted free on 10 minutes for the Bridge to double their lead.
The 13th minute was certainly unlucky for Mayobridge keeper CJ Barr as he was caught out by Sean Murdock’s effort which dropped short but neatly into the top right corner of the net.
The Sky Blues quickly restored parity with Gallagher’s second point and player-manager Coulter, who had a great battle with Down’s Gerard McGovern, fired over two stunning points either side of another classy score from Burren’s Donal O’Hare.
Then Burren had another massive stroke of luck when from outside the square Connor Toner’s deflected shot somehow trickled into the Mayobridge net, much to the amazement of the shocked large crowd.
Magee’s second converted free was followed by another two wides from the ’Bridge and Burren punished with a Sean Murdock point after Mark McKay’s brilliant ‘mark’.
Indeed McKay won much of the long kick-outs but Burren still played second fiddle in the opening half and two Magee points levelled the score (Mayobridge 0-8 Burren 2-2) at the break.
Burren looked a much more hungry team in the second half and became the aggressors but also displayed quality in front of the posts with Kevin McKernan (2) and Jamie McGovern slotting over before Ryan Treanor’s goal, which was a scrappy finish after a slick move.
Points from Cathal Foy, Donal O’Hare, Connor Toner and a third from McKernan, pressed home Burren’s authority as with 45 minutes played they led by 10 points and the game as a contest was over.
Mayobridge’s chances dried up as the St Mary’s side controlled the tempo and Bridge keeper Barr had a night to forget when Burren substitute Eamonn Toner’s effort somehow slipped through, with his first touch. Even more bizarre the goal-scorer was black-carded only seconds after.
Magee grabbed Mayobridge’s only score of the second half three minutes from time, while Burren’s Shay McArdle showed his long-range kicking prowess with two fine points, but the game was up long before referee Ciaran Branagan blew the final whistle.
Mayobridge scorers: Cathal Magee (0-5, 0-2 frees), B Coulter (0-2), C Gallagher (0-2)
Burren scorers: C Toner (1-01), S Murdock (1-1), R Treanor (1-0), E Toner (1-0), K McKernan (0-3), D O’Hare (0-2, 0-1 free), C Foy (0-2), S McArdle (0-2, 0-1 45’), J McGovern (0-1)
Round 2A: Kilcoo 2-7 Ballyholland 0-6
KILCOO used all their experience and craft to negotiate their way past 14-man Ballyholland in Pairc Esler.
The six-in-a-row chasing Magpies outscored their opponents 2-5 to 0-3 in an impressive second half, which wasn’t everyone’s cup of team.
Ballyholland Harps led by a point (0-3 to 0-2) at half-time in an enthrallingly captivating first 30 minutes.
It wasn’t so much a game of cat and mouse as a game of mouse and mouse as neither side wanted to press and both were content to camp in their own half.
Ballyholland were worthy of their one-point lead but suffered a massive blow when top scorer Patrick Quinn received a red card on 15 minutes. He had given Stephen Poacher’s side the lead but Paul Devlin’s drop-goal like point levelled the score with 10 minutes played.
Both sides were toying with each other, pushing and probing and Ballyholland’s full-back Ruairi Campbell exploited a gap in the Kilcoo defence and slotted between the posts after a magnificent 40-metre run.
While Quinn’s dismissal was disappointing for Ballyholland, many teams would be glad to have a player of Ronan Murtagh’s calibre to deputise in free-taking and he rolled back the years with a fantastic 35-metre converted free.
Paul Devlin replied with a converted free on 23 minutes, but as the half-time approached there were jeers from the crowd, who didn’t seem to appreciate the tactical battle unfolding.
But within seconds of the restart Conor Laverty drilled over with conviction to level the score. Kilcoo changed tack and pressed Ballyholland.
The Magpies took the lead for the first time on 36 minutes after Darragh O’Hanlon’s fine long-range strike before substitute Martin Devlin quickly tagged on another point.
And with their tails up Kilcoo’s Aaron Branagan made a sweeping run to set up Dylan Ward who palmed into the net and with 40 minutes played the defending champions led 1-5 to 0-3.
Ceilum Doherty stretched Kilcoo’s lead before Ronan Murtagh grabbed Ballyholland’s first point of the half as the game headed towards the last ten minutes. Tiernan Rushe stroked over a beautiful point for Ballyholland before young Doherty replied with a score of equal quality as Kilcoo had done enough to progress. And as if there was any doubt Eugene Branagan popped up with an injury-time goal to kill off the contest.
In Newcastle, Loughlinisland beat Glenn by 1-11 to 0-13 after extra-time.
Ballyholland scorers: R Murtagh (0-2, 0-2 frees), R Campbell (0-1), P Quinn (0-1), T Rushe (0-1)
Kilcoo scorers: D Ward (1-0) P Devlin (0-2, 0-1 free), C Laverty (0-1), D O’Hanlon (0-1), C Doherty (0-2), M Devlin (0-1)
ROUND THREE DRAW
Saval v Bryansford; Ballyholland v Bredagh
Mayobridge v Clonduff; Losers of Downpatrick RGU v CPN v v Loughinisland