Killybegs had Kilcar rattled and briefly smelt an upset until Stephen McBrearty’s 42nd minute goal made sure that the champions avoiding slipping on day one of their title defence.
Killybegs 0-11 Kilcar 2-9
by Charlie Collins at Eamonn Byrne Memorial Park
That fate drew them to Fintra, the closest possible venue bar a home game in Towney, to meet their fierce old rivals was just one of the quirks the sport throws up from time to time.
And Killybegs will feel they were well poised when they led 0-7 to 1-3 at half-time and saw Ryan Cunningham extend that margin early in the second half.
With Patrick McBrearty and Ryan McHugh having watching briefs for Kilcar, the champions were wary heading to Fintra.
Killybegs had Rory Gallagher’s wisdom imparted in recent weeks and the recently-crowned Division 3 winners put it up to their neighbours for the duration. Kilcar, though, managed to emerge and the goals, from Andrew McClean and McBrearty, meant everything on a day when the teams scored eleven times each.
Kilcar flew from the traps and Eoin McHugh – just back from a summer in Boston – set up McClean for the opening goal in the fourth minute.
McHugh himself had a goal chance in the 11th minute, but was denied by Kevin Martin.
In a lively opening, Killybegs hit back with Jack McSharry, Cunningham and Eoghan Ban Gallagher – who had been an injury doubt in the build-up – scoring.
John Ban Gallagher had a big goal chance for Killybegs in the 20th minute, but a wonderful Pauric Carr block kept him at bay.
Three Hugh McFadden points head Killybegs in front and they began to think about the possibilities when Cunningham opened the second-half scoring.
By then, however, Eoghan Ban Gallagher had been withdrawn – removed through the injury at half-time – and the twine began to unravel for the Fishermen.
The game was put beyond there reach 12 minutes into the second half when Kilcar landed a magical second goal.
Killybegs were caught coming out of defence with the ball. Kilcar reaped the greatest dividend they could as McBrearty, from 20 metres, cracked a superb goal past Kevin Martin.
Veteran Michael Hegarty had only just put Kilcar back ahead after McClean levelled.
McBrearty’s goal was the sting from Kilcar and Matthew McClean tucked over to put five between the teams.
Ryan Cunningham’s brace in the closing stages did pull Killybegs to within a goal, but they couldn’t get any closer and Andrew McClean notched the final point of the game.
Killybegs: Kevin Martin; Jack Behan, Ciaran Connaghan, Ryan Carr; David McGuinness (0-1), Eoghan Ban Gallagher (0-1), Jack McSharry (0-1); Hugh McFadden (0-3f), Evan Broderick (0-1); Christopher Murrin, Daniel Breslin, John Ban Gallagher; Michael Gallagher, Paul Cunningham, Ryan Cunningham (0-4). Subs: Chris Cunningham for E.Gallagher (half-time), Michael Statham for J.Gallagher (55), Brendan McGuire for Breslin (58).
Kilcar: Eamonn McGinley; Barry McGinley, Conor McShane, Pauric Carr; Andrew McClean (1-3), Michael Hegarty (0-1), Brian O’Donnell; Mark McHugh (0-1f), Ciaran McGinley; Mark Sweeney, Conor Doherty (0-1), Matthew McClean (0-1); Stephen McBrearty (1-0), Aodhán McGinley (0-1f), Eoin McHugh. Subs: Daragh O’Donnell for Doherty (48), Barry Shovlin for O’Donnell (48).
Referee: James Connors (St Eunan’s).Tags: