Kilcoo go the extra mile to deny valiant Warrenpoint

Kilcoo showed all their trademark tenacity that won them an All-Ireland last year to fight their way to a fourth consecutive Down SFC title at Páirc Esler.

arrenpoint, chasing a first county SFC since 1953, pushed the champions all the way to score the last four points of normal time to take the game to extra time.

Apparently annoyed at having let a winning position slip in the final 10 minutes of normal time, Kilcoo emerged from the dressing rooms determined to finish the job. They fired over four unanswered points in the first six minutes of overtime.

Yet Warrenpoint – who were the last team to beat Kilcoo over an hour of football in the early rounds of the 2020 Down campaign – still had plenty to offer and rallied for the second time.

Finding themselves in a similar position at the end of normal time, they clawed their way back into it thanks to the misplaced balls of Alan Davidson, who finished with 0-7.

They scored four of the remaining five points in extra time, but it wasn’t quite enough to beat the champions, who lifted a 10th Down title in 11 years.

Kilcoo just don’t seem to know how to lose in the Down championship as Clonduff looked to have them beaten in the semi-final and here in Newry St Peter’s Warrenpoint stretched and tested them too.

Ryan Johnston’s goal early on after 22 minutes was the biggest difference on a day where little separated these teams.

A long ball into new Downs inter-county manager Conor Laverty with his back to goal was quickly relieved with a deft pass typical of a crafty player with a deep box of tricks.

Johnston still had plenty to do but showed composure to round a stretched defense and blast the ball into the net.

Kilcoo led 1-6 to 0-6 at the break but lacked penetration in the second half with some aimless passing and a lack of pressing play.

Niall McGovern, Paddy Murdock and Davidson’s frees and ’45’ kept Warrenpoint in touch but despite leveling in the 59th minute through Davidson, 0-11 to 1-8, there were no scores in four minutes of stoppage time and added time saw more and more out. likely.

Kilcoo started extra time with four quickfire points from play from Devlin, Ryan Johnston, Tiernan Fettis and Eugene Branagan and while Warrenpoint remained in the hunt, the champions had the experience to hang on and set themselves up for another Ulster Club Championship campaign.

Scorers – Kilcoo: P Devlin 0-4 (3f), R Johnston 1-1; M Rooney 0-3; C Doherty 0-2; S Johnston, T Fettis, E Branagan 0-1 each. Warrenpoint: A Davidson 0-7 (6f, 1’45’); N McGovern, D McAleenan 0-2 each; R McCormick, P Murdock, J Grant, J Howlett 0-1 each.

Kilcoo: N Kane; N Branagan, R McEvoy, A Branagan; Anthony Morgan, D Branagan, M Rooney; Aaron Morgan, D Ward; C Doherty, R Johnston; C Laverty, J Johnston, P Devlin. Subs: T Fettes for N Branagan (47), E Branagan for J Johnston (53), S Og McCusker for Laverty (59), J Johnston for R Johnston (69), M Hynes for Rooney (70). Johnston (79) .

Warrenpoint: C Darcy, P Sweeney, J Boyle, R McGivern; R Boyle, C McCartan, D McAleenan; R McCormick, J Grant; N McCartan, A Davidson, E Byrne; N McGovern, P Murdock, S O’Hare. Subs: A Darcy for N McCartan (41), A Magee for O’Hare (46), R McGarry for E Byrne (47), J Lynch for McAleenan (55), C Madden for McGovern (60), S O’Hare for P Sweeney (63), J Howlett for Murdock (67), E Carr for McGivern (75).

Ref – D O’Hare (Burren)

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