Kilcoo show their class to coast past Carryduff in Down final
Maiden finalists well beaten as defending champions retain the Frank O’Hare Cup
Eugene Branagan helped Kilcoo to another Down SFC title. Photograph: Timmy Dickson/Inpho
Kilcoo 0-16 Carryduff 0-9
Kilcoo retained the Frank O’Hare Cup once again with minimal fuss. They faced Carryduff, who were playing in their maiden final and the contrast was apparent at key moments in the Down senior final.
The Magpies understandably know how to win and they got the head down and got on with their business to pick up their ninth title in 12 seasons. Paul Devlin and Eugene Branagan’s ability to turn the screw told as they let their experience show with a combined seven points on the night.
Fuelled on adrenaline alone in the early stages Carryduff were full value for their good start. County player Daniel Guinness got forward with the audacity to give them the lead, only for Branagan to kick his first point before the water break.
Kilcoo, unnerved, set about their work and were soon level and pulled away just before half time through Ryan Johnston and Paul Devlin’s second points of the half. 0-7 to 0-4 at half time and an air of inevitability soon drained the occasion.
Carryduff might have reminded Kilcoo a lot about themselves, that underdog quality was there and they had chances, but sadly they couldn’t take them. Ronan Beatty kept the fight for Carryduff but the reigning Ulster champions reeled off five points in succession midway through the half, Ceilium Doherty’s the pick of them, as Kilcoo strolled to victory.
Kilcoo: N Kane; N Branagan, Ryan McEvoy (0-2, frees), A Branagan; C Doherty (0-1), D Branagan, E Branagan (0-3); A Branagan, D Ward (0-1); S Johnston (0-1), J Johnston (0-1), P Devlin (0-4, two frees); R Johnston (0-3), C Laverty, N McEvoy. Subs: D O’Hanlon for R Johnston (52 mins), J Clarke for S Johnston (56), P Greenan for A Branagan (58), M Rooney for A Branagan (60), M Devlin for Laverty (62).
Carryduff: M Hynes; L Toal, G Henderson, A O’Brien; M McGrath, C Cassidy, D Guinness (0-1); J Connery, O McCabe; J McGeough (0-1, free), J Tunney, R Anderson, R Beatty (0-7, four frees), J Henry, J McFlynn. Subs: C Tierney for McGlynn (47 mins), P Loughran for Tunney (47), S Reilly for Anderson (49), M Lawson for Henry (53). R Lawlor for O’Brien (60).
Referee: C Reynolds (Rostrevor).