GAA Football

Coach Darren O'Hanlon: Killeavy can go far

Shaun Mahoney

KILLEAVY’S reward for reaching their first semi-final in 15 years is a showdown with defending champions Crossmaglen Rangers.

Killeavy reached the first Armagh Senior Club Championship semi-final after putting a disappointing Armagh Harps (0-17 to 0-09) to the sword on Sunday.

Killeavy last won the Senior Championship in 1948 but have been building towards occasions like reaching the last four since Stevie McDonnell captained the side to the Intermediate in 2012.

There’ll be a bit of shadow boxing expected when the two teams face each other in the All-County League on Sunday, August 24, before the Championship semi-final, which is due to take place between August 28-30.

Assistant manager Darren O’Hanlon, who helps team bosses Paul McArdle and Neil Coulter, insisted that Sunday’s win over the City Slickers was no fluke and that there is more to come from his side.

“It was a good win for us, said O’Hanlon, speaking after the game.

“We worked hard as a team. It took our bench again to take us over the line. People will say we came into this game as underdogs but as you can see in the game, we showed again that we’re a team here and we’re going to go far.”

Harps amassed a tally of 13 wides whereas Killeavy were much more clinical with Ronan McGuiness, Caolan McConville, Miceal McNamee, Conor O’Neill and substitute Oisin King all kicking over points and the Killeavy coach praised his sides’ composure in front of the posts.

“It just goes to show you have to take your chances when you get them,” O’Hanlon said.

“Every team has a purple patch and they had theirs too.  We had a big injury there with Ciaran [O’Hanlon] going off but it’s not about one player it’s a team effort and that’s what it took, as those subs that came on to get us over the line.”

And the coach has a point because when Killeavy’s talisman Ciaran O’Hanlon was forced off after playing only 12 minutes his replacement Daniel Nugent slotted into the team effortlessly, and O’Hanlon is no ordinary player.

Then Nugent got injured and Niall Magennis came off the bench to score two points.

King was only on the pitch a couple of minutes and he also grabbed a brace of points to kill the Harps off.

Jamie Cosgrove, Kyle Mallon, Cathair McKinney and David Markey are top defenders, earmarked for a bright footballing future when representing St Paul’s Bessbrook in the MacRory Cup, these men helped Killeavy get back to becoming an established senior team.

Goalkeeper Shea Magill is one of the best shot-stoppers in the county and his accurate kick-outs gave the south Armagh side a great platform to attack in Sunday’s win.

Of course, Killeavy hope that Ciaran O’Hanlon isn’t on the treatment table for too long. His brother Darren hasn’t ruled out having him back for the semi-finals in just less than a fortnight away and it’s a game the coach is looking forward to.

“We’ll assess Ciaran’s injury during the week but hopefully he’ll be alright,” said O’Hanlon.

“I think it’s the first time in 15 years since we got to the semi-final, so we’ll just take it as it comes.”

Maghery who last won the Senior crown in 2016 face Pearse Og who ended Crossmaglen’s 14 county titles in a row dream back in 2003.

Maghery needed extra-time to see off Lurgan’s Clann Eireann, whereas the young Pearse Og team held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out against Madden at the weekend.

Dates and venues are not confirmed but games will take place between August 28-30.





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GAA Football