Northern Ireland news

Croke heartbreak for Kilcoo as Co Down club beat in Championship final

Corofin's Ian Burke in action with Kilcoo's Aaron Branagan in yesterday's AIB All Ireland Club Football final at Croke Park. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Paul Ainsworth

Hopes were dashed in Co Down yesterday as Kilcoo GAC failed to prevent Galway side Corofin from lifting the All-Ireland Senior Club Football trophy for a historic third year in a row.

Hundreds of Kilcoo fans cheered on their beloved side, nicknamed The Magpies, as they led their opponents to a 0-7 to 0-7 draw at yesterday's AIB Championship final and forced the match into extra-time.

However, Kilcoo's dreams of hoisting the Andy Merrigan Cup for the first time in the club's 113-year history fell apart when Corofin upped the ante in the added minutes, with a goal by Conor Cunningham proving to be the nail in the coffin for the Co Down side.

The final whistle was blown and an extra-time scoreboard showed 1-12 to 0-7.

Following the loss, a Kilcoo GAC spokesman described the team's rivals as "superb", and congratulated them on their historic win, adding: "Hard luck to our warriors, you battled gamely and it just wasn't to be in extra time. We are so proud of you all."

The club and their fans' heartbreak was heightened due to Kilcoo leading the scoring at half-time, 0-3 to 0-2. The side had prevented Corofin from scoring for the first 25 minutes of the game, which dampened the Galway mens' spirits considering it took just 33 seconds to score in their semi-final clash against Nemo Rangers.

However, things went downhill in extra-time, with Kilcoo losing Daryl Brannigan to a red card decision before Cunningham's goal sealed the Galway side's third victory in as many years.

Despite the loss, fans praised Kilcoo's performance and achievement of reaching the final.

Among them was Aileen Marie Devlin, who tweeted: "A huge congratulations to the players and management of Kilcoo; you gave so many families an unforgettable day out - I'll remember celebrating that full time score with my Daddy the rest of my life - Cill Chua Abú!"

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