O’Hanlon’s late free earns battling Kilcoo another chance against Ulster kingpins Crossmaglen
Nothing between the Armagh and Down champions after extra-time following a hard-hitting Ulster clash
Kilcoo 2-9 Crossmaglen Rangers 1-12
A 55-metre free converted by Darragh O’Hanlon snatched a draw for Kilcoo at the end of extra-time in yesterday’s Ulster club SFC tie in Páirc Esler.
The Armagh and Down champions could not be separated after 80 bad-tempered minutes, which featured a number of scuffles both on the pitch and in the stand. The replay will take place next Sunday.
Crossmaglen started without Aaron Kernan – whom it emerged has an Achilles heel injury which will rule him out for two months.
Kilcoo made most of the running in normal time but still needed that monster free from O’Hanlon in the 81st minute to snatch an equaliser.
“The last free, I don’t know why it was brought up,” said Joe Kernan. “Our player had his back to the ball walking away and he moved it up.
“Some of the refereeing decisions were very poor today, but we get on with it and the next day we will be ready for battle again.”
Kilcoo led by 1-3 to no score after 16 minutes, Ryan Johnson palming the ball into the net after 11 minutes. The Down champions outmuscled Cross, who were very slow to get up to the pitch of the game.
Tony Kernan, who had a superb game, got the opening score for the four-in-a-row chasing Ulster champions in the 21st minute with a free. His brother Stephen hit a crucial point from play to reduce the deficit to 1-3 to 0-3 at half-time.
Cross had a good spell in the third quarter, with Kilcoo failing to score for 27 minutes either side of half-time. Cross narrowed the gap to a single point, but two points from Paul Devlin put Kilcoo back on top.
Kilcoo were still four points ahead with five minutes remaining before Stephen Kernan capitalised on a defensive blunder to score a vital goal for Cross in the 56th minute.
A point from a narrow angle from Martin Aherne forced extra-time as the sides finished level on 1-7 apiece. Crossmaglen took the lead for the first time in the game through a free from Tony Kernan seven minutes into extra-time.
Almost immediately, Kilcoo reasserted their dominance when Paul Greenan beat Paul Hearty to a high ball and fisted it to the net.
Kyle Brennan responded brilliantly to being taken off in normal time, and came back on in extra-time to score two points, as Cross shrugged off the blow of conceding the goal.
The sides were still deadlocked at half-time in extra-time, with the scoreline 1-10 to 2-7. But Johnny Hanratty and Tony Kernan put Cross ahead again and it looked like they had weathered the storm.
Paul Greenan hit the side-netting with an easy goal chance for Kilcoo but they still converted two late frees, including the monster effort from O’Hanlon to set up a replay, most likely at the Athletic Grounds.
KILCOO: S Kane; N Branagan, N McEvoy, D Branagan; D O’Hanlon (0-4, 3f), S O’Hanlon, Ger McEvoy (0-1); P Greenan (1-0), Aidan Branagan; P Devlin (0-3, 1f), A Devlin, R Johnston (1-1); J Johnston, C Laverty, Gary McEvoy. Subs: F McGreevy for J Johnston (24), Aaron Branagan for A Devlin (39), J McClean for McGreevy (39), Sean Devlin for Gary McEvoy (52). Extra-time subs: Seamus Devlin for Aaron Branagan (70), M Devlin for R Johnston (76), N Morgan for M Devlin (80)
CROSSMAGLEN RANGERS: P Hearty; P Hughes, P McKeown, S Finnegan; M Aherne (0-1), G Carragher, D O’Callaghan; J Hanratty (0-1), S Kernan (1-1); P Og Grant, T Kernan (0-6, 6f), M McNamee; K Brennan, K Carragher, C Cumiskey (0-1) Subs: D McKenna for Brennan (43), C O’Neill for McNamee (53), M Boyce for Cumiskey (56). Extra-time subs: K Brennan (0-2) for Grant (66)
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)