GAA Football

Down SFC: Champions Kilcoo just about find a way past Carryduff

The shooting of Jerome Johnston helped Kilcoo find a way past Carryduff in Saturday's Down SFC quarter-final Picture by Cliff Donaldson
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Down Senior Football Championship quarter-finals: Kilcoo 1-18 Carryduff 3-11 (aet); Clonduff 1-15 RGU, Downpatrick 0-12

WHEN Josh Connery buried the ball in the back of the Kilcoo net in second-half injury-time at Páirc Esler, the Magpies' three in-a-row bid was teetering on the brink. When James Guinness repeated the trick for Carryduff in injury-time of extra-time, there just wasn't enough time left to push the reigning champions over the edge.

Instead, it was composure and measured accuracy in front of the posts which proved just about enough to see Kilcoo to a one-point victory over last year's beaten finalists and a semi-final spot.

Kilcoo were imperious in the early stages – Anthony Morgan, Miceal Rooney and Shealan Johnston (0-2) giving them a four-point lead before Pearce McCabe managed a reply for Carryduff in the 11th minute. The gap was still three at the first water break but when Ceilum Doherty goaled for Kilcoo on the resumption, quickly followed up by Eugene Branagan and Ryan Johnston points, the Magpies threatened to run away with it.

Conversions from Joe McFlynn and Ronan Beatty helped to steady the rocking Carryduff ship and at half-time the gap was down to five, 1-7 to 0-5.

Carryduff continued to chip away at the Kilcoo lead after the break and two pointed Guinness frees and one from play off the boot of McFlynn had it a two-point game before Doherty and Shealan Johnston went back to work on the scoreboard.

The game had entered the final 10 minutes of normal time when the pendulum truly began to swing, the first of Guinness' two goals leaving just one between the sides. And although Jerome Johnston and Martin McCourt had again stretched the Magpies' lead, up popped Connery to force injury-time.

The sides swapped points throughout the first 10-minute segment of extra-time, again retiring inseparable at 2-11 to 1-14. Then Kilcoo found that little bit extra, with points from Paul Devlin, Morgan, Jerome Johnston and Dillon Ward giving them a crucial safety net before that last gasp bit of drama via the Guinness goal.

Yesterday afternoon, a slick performance from Clonduff saw them dismiss Downpatrick with relative ease in Newry.

Clonduff were quickest out of the traps and led 0-6 to 0-1 after 15 minutes, with Charlie Carr and Barry O'Hagan among those on target. RGU eventually kicked into gear, however, and they were level on 0-8 apiece at half-time thanks to the accuracy of Jarlath Brannigan and Conor McGrady, among others.

Clonduff opened up a three-point lead soon after the restart and, although Downpatrick did their best to stick the pace, a Ross Carr point and a brilliantly fashioned goal which was finished off by Barry O'Hagan confirmed Clonduff's superiority.

The draw for the semi-finals will be made following tonight's final quarter-final clash between Ballyholland and Glenn (7.15pm).

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GAA Football