Kilcoo's Shealan Johnston celebrates at the Athletic Grounds.
Kilcoo's Shealan Johnston celebrates at the Athletic Grounds.

AIB Ulster Club SFC: Kilcoo reach decider

AIB Ulster Club SFC Semi-Final

Kilcoo 3-14 Enniskillen Gaels 1-9

By Steve Malone at the Athletic Grounds

Defending champions Kilcoo will face the winners of Glen and Cargin in the Ulster Final after comfortably seeing off Enniskillen Gaels in Armagh’s Athletic Grounds tonight.

The game was over as a contest by the break, Shealan Johnston’s goal at the stroke of half-time sealed the deal for Kilcoo, leaving the second half as little more than window dressing ahead of the final.

Shealan Johnston bagged two first half goals as his side led 2-8 to 0-1 at half-time. Kilcoo had the benefit of a strong wind but even so, 13-points was too much of a margin to overcome, especially against the defending All-Ireland champions.

Shealan Johnston and Ryan Johnston grabbed early points before Shealan’s opening goal on 11 minutes. Tiernan Fettes, who started instead of Dylan Ward, robbed possession from Neil McDermott and tore towards goal where he off-loaded to Micael Rooney, he could have shot but instead squared to Johnston who lashed home from close range.

Paul Devlin’s free and a 35-metre point from Down manager Conor Laverty put Kilcoo 1-4 ahead before John Reihill fisted over Enniskillen’s only point of the half on 21 minutes.

Kilcoo were in control, a brace of points from Darryl Branagan was followed up by a classy score from Celium Doherty and then came the second goal. Enniskillen keeper Clan Newman was caught-out 30-metres from goal and Laverty accepted the loose ball before feeding pass to young Johnston and he blasted into the roof of the net.

Enniskillen made the wind work for them with four points in opening ten minutes of the second half, with substitute Eoin Beacon, Richard O’Callaghan and Conor Watson on target. A couple of converted frees from Devlin kept a comfortable distance between the sides and Cian Newman denied Ryan Johnston Kilcoo’s third goal with a stunning save.

And with 45 minutes there was goal at the other end as Beacon was grateful to see the ball land to him and fire into the Magpies net. It was the score that gave hope where there was non and when O’Callaghan’s effort was given as a point, they started to believe in the impossible.

But it’s the hope that kills you and Kilcoo did grab their third goal after Laverty’s quick thinking and free found the unmarked Doherty, he flashed the pass across goal for Aaron Morgan to palm home.

It was goodnight to the Gaels as Kilcoo finished in command with points from Doherty and Rooney while scores from Josh Horan and Conor Love meant Enniskillen meant they exited the competition with pride intact.

Scorers for Kilcoo: Shealan Johnston 2-1, Paul Devlin 0-4 (4fs), Aaron Morgan 1-0, Ceilum Doherty and Darryl Branagan 0-2 each, Aaron Branagan, Conor Laverty, Ryan Johnston, Miceal Rooney, and Eugene Branagan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Enniskillen Gaels: Eoin Beacom 1-3 (1f), Richard O’Callaghan 0-2, Josh Horan, Conor Watson, John Rehill, and Conor Love (f) 0-1 each.

Kilcoo: Niall Kane, Niall Branagan, Ryan McEvoy, Aaron Branagan, Tiernan Fettes, Darryl Branagan, Miceal Rooney, Aaron Morgan, Anthony Morgan, Celium Doherty, Ryan Johnston, Shealan Johnston, Conor Laverty, Jerome Johnston, Paul Devlin.

Subs: Eugene Branagan for Aaron Branagan (HT), Aidan Branagan for Anthony Morgan (51’), Sean Og McCusker for Laverty (59’) Gerard McEvoy for J Johnston (59’), McDarragh Hynes for S Johnston (59’).

Enniskillen Gaels: Cian Newman, Jack Tierney, Aaron Nolan, James Ferguson, Josh Horan, Jonathan Cassidy, Conor Watson, Brandon Horan, Richard O’Callaghan, Neil McDermott, Ryan McDonnell, Conor McShea, Conor Love, Ciaran Smith, John Reihill.

Subs: Patrick Reihill for N McDermott, Eoin Beacom for C Smith (HT), Conall Quinn for Ferguson (49’), Ross Bogue for Watson (49’), Patrick Cassidy for McDonnell (59’).

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).