Defending Ulster champions Kilcoo see off Glen after two periods of extra-time

Jerome Johnston’s goal proves key for the Down champions

Kilcoo (Down) 1-11 Glen (Derry) 0-11

Defending Ulster champions Kilcoo are not going to allow a year of Covid derail them from defending the Séamus McFerran Cup.

They squeezed home here in a terse and tense semi-final against Derry champions Glen in a game that hung that hung in the balance all the way to just moments before the break of the two extra-time periods. Glen goalkeeper Conlan Bradley tried an intricate kick-out short to full back Ryan Dougan.

There was a moment's hesitation, enough to allow Paul Devlin to steam in and make the turnover. He then transferred to Jerome Johnston who read the play and made a beeline for the goalmouth. Johnston was leaning over when he lashed his shot to the roof of the net. In such a tight encounter, a score like that was always going to be decisive.

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Waiting for Kilcoo in the final are Fermanagh club Derrygonnelly Harps, who they played in the semi-final of 2019 and just about hung on for a 1-8 to 0-9 win.

It was a 0-4 apiece scoreline at the break with just three points scored from play.

Although the second half produced the same scoreline, things had opened up somewhat. The pattern remained, however, with Kilcoo hitting two early scores and it took two consecutive Glen points to rescue matters and take it to extra-time.

The move of Ciarán McFaul to full forward provided them with the physicality they were missing in that sector as well as doing something to curtail the growing influence of Ryan McEvoy.

In the fifth minute of extra-time it appeared all the momentum was with Glen. Conor Glass was fouled about 50 metres from goal, and while all their main freetakers weren't interested, Glass set down the ball himself and stroked over from distance.

It was the first time Glen had been in the lead and it looked the start of them easing their way into a final.

But then came the goal from Johnston. It was all they needed for an enormous adrenalin shot. Miceal Rooney added another point from play soon after.

Glen tried a couple of Hail Mary attempts at the death. The margins for error were tight, but Kilcoo made none.

KILCOO: 1 N Kane (0-1, a 45); 2 N Branagan, 3 R McEvoy, 4 A Branagan; 5 M Rooney (0-2), 6 Anthony Morgan, 7 E Branagan; 8 D Ward (0-1), 9 Aaron Morgan; 10 C Doherty (0-1), 11 J Johnston (1-0), 12 S Johnston (0-2); 13 C Laverty, 14 R Johnston (0-1), 15 P Devlin (0-3, three frees).

Subs: 20 D Branagan for Anthony Morgan (50 mins); 28 C Rooney for C Laverty (57); 17 Aidan Branagan for Aaron Morgan (59); 22 J Clarke for E Branagan (e/t, 10); 24 P Greenan for Ward (e/t, 74); 13 C Laverty for D Branagan (et, 16)

GLEN: 1 C Bradley; 2 M Warnock, 3 R Dougan, 4 C Carville; 5 T Flanagan (0-1), 6 C McFaul, 7 E Doherty; 8 C Glass (0-2, one free), 9 E Bradley (0-2, one free); 10 E Mulholland , 11 J Doherty, 22 C McDevitt; 13 P Gunning (0-1, free), 14 D Tallon (0-4, four frees), 15 C McGuckian.

Subs: 17 A Doherty for P Gunning (45 mins); 12 C Convery for C McDevitt (50); 24 C Gallagher for C Carville (60); 17 S O'Hara (0-1, free)for C McGuckian (et, 6), 24 A McGonigle for E Mulholland (e/t, 10).

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).