Kilsheelan-Kilcash’s performance deserved better than a seventeen points drubbing by Loughmore-Castleiney, 2-17 to 0-6, in the Clean Ireland county senior football championship at Boherlahan on Saturday.
But there was no question about the superiority of the Mid men who clinched their place in the county quarter-final by topping their group courtesy of this win.
As a contest the game was beyond Kilsheelan’s reach at half-time. With the fresh breeze in their favour, Loughmore-Castleiney had pulled 1-11 to 0-3 clear, and there was really no way back for the lads from the South.
Loughmore struck early, Miceal Webster netting after a smart three-man move in the third minute, which punished a badly taken Kilsheelan free. This score was indicative of the game’s pattern. Loughmore were smarter and faster in their play and they carried a firepower their rivals never came near to matching.
Noel McGrath was again calling the shots for Loughmore from midfield and he had plenty willing to make the runs to create the openings. Miceal Webster, John McGrath, Liam McGrath, Evan Sweeney, and David Kennedy all got on the scoresheet in the first half as Kilsheelan struggled to make an impact in front of goal. Kilsheelan were not without their chances but were short of ideas where it mattered most.
With the breeze to help them, Kilsheelan hoped for better things but as it transpired they lost the second half also, 0-3 to 1-6. On top of that, they had goalkeeper John Smyth to thanks for twice denying Tommy Maher likely goals in this period with timely advances.
Loughmore’s victory was never in doubt and sub Sean Scully grabbed their second goal in the 49th minute after Derek Bourke had done the spadework.
The win guarantees Loughmore-Castleiney a quarter-final spot irrespective of how they fare in the Mid championship but it could also benefit some other Mid team in making the closing stages, depending on results.
They had all the answers in this encounter and can look forward to the concluding stages with great confidence particularly when they return to full strength. Apart from those already mentioned, John Ryan had a capital game at wingback with David Kennedy, and Joseph Hennessy also to the fore.
Kilsheelan’s consolation as they finish runners-up in the group is a place in the round before the county quarter-final, so with that, and the south championship, they still have a lot of football ahead of them. This game was gone from them very early on, and the early Loughmore scores certainly sapped their confidence. However, they know they can do much better and the challenge for manager David Power and his charges now is to regroup and focus on their next outing.
Thomas Ryan, Willie Ryan, Patrick Larkin, Eoghain Ryan, James Geraghty, and Michael McHugh worked very hard to stem the tide.
Loughmore-Castleiney – D Brennan L Egan, T Long, J Hennessy; T King, C McGrath, J Ryan; N McGrath(0-3), D Kennedy(0-1); D Bourke, L McGrath(0-3), T Maher(0-1); J McGrath(0-5), M Webster(1-3), E Sweeney (0-1); Sub- S Scully(1-0) for L McGrath;
Kilsheelan-Kilcash – J Smyth; D Corcoran, W Ryan, S Prendergast; K Kirwan, T Ryan(0-1), J Geraghty; A McGuire(0-1), E Ryan; P Larkin, J Ryan(0-1), R Larkin; M McHugh(0-3), P Maher, I Coughlan; Subs- E Sweeney for Kirwan; E Kehoe for Coughlan; N Walsh for R Larkin;
Ref- David Grogan.