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Kilcoole survive late onslaught from Ballymanus to take win in Wicklow Intermediate football championship

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Sean Harmon of Ballymanus is tracked by Kilcoole's Danny Boland.

Sean Harmon of Ballymanus is tracked by Kilcoole's Danny Boland.

Darragh Byrne of Ballymanus breaks through the challenges of Kilcoole's Shane Collins and Ronan Keddy.

Darragh Byrne of Ballymanus breaks through the challenges of Kilcoole's Shane Collins and Ronan Keddy.

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Sean Harmon of Ballymanus is tracked by Kilcoole's Danny Boland.

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Kilcoole 1-10 Ballymanus 2-4

This D’Arcy Sand Intermediate football Championship clash between Kilcoole and Ballymanus, played at the sun-drenched An Tochar GAA ground in Roundwood on Sunday, ended in a welter of excitement as Ballymanus fought to rescue a point from a game where they had played second fiddle to the Goose Bank men for most of the second-half.

However, a Roan Lynch goal punched home through a crowded goalmouth in the first minute of added time had reduced a comfortable six-point lead back to a goal, leaving Kilcoole the experience of a very uncomfortable three or four more minutes remaining as the Billies bombarded their goalmouth in search of a saving goal. It was all hands to the pumps for Kilcoole as they survived the onslaught to take the two match points.

The opening half was a very forgettable affair as both sets of defenders were very much in control. Eddie Leonard’s sparing use of the whistle left forwards feeling deprived and scores were scarce.

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Ballymanus were playing up field from the clubhouse end and, like many before them, they were finding great difficulty in mastering a tricky breeze when shooting into the top goal.

Mark Kenny got them off the mark when he pointed a free for the game’s opening score after six minutes. Despite a number of wides, one effort coming back off a post and a few shots dropped short into goalie Kevin Condon, Ballymanus were not to score again until two minutes before half time.

Not that Kilcoole set the world on fire at the other end either. Ronan Keddy lined out at full-forward but spent almost the entire game out in the middle third.

Brendan Whelan kept him company much of the time leaving Brendan Doyle, Darragh Byrne and Liam Byrne minding the house. This they did comfortably and Kilcoole scoring chances were few.

Lee Evans levelled the scores at 0-1 apiece after nine minutes and Brendan Wallace put the Goose Bank ahead on the quarter hour mark. The same player made it 0-3 to 0-1 with twenty minutes gone.

Overlapping wing-back Shane Keogh had a great chance to open a wider gap when an accurate pass from Eoin Keddy put him through on goal. Unfortunately Shane shot wide. A brief flare-up resulted in yellow cards for Cormac Byrne and Lee Evans of Kilcoole and Mark Kenny of Ballymanus. This card was to prove costly for Evans in the second-half.

With half-time approaching Roan Lynch sent an outfield lob dropping in on the Kilcoole goalmouth. Indecision between goalie and defenders allowed Padraig Byrne to nip in and shoot to an empty net, Ballymanus went to the half-time break leading by 1-1 to 0-3. Kilcoole won this game with an improved third quarter display when they took the game to Ballymanus and controlled play in the middle third of the field.

Points from Luke Evans, a fine left-footed effort from attacking corner-back Keith Reynolds and Lee Dutton had the Goose Bank men ahead by two points after ten minutes. The decisive score came on the three quarter hour mark when Brendan Wallace got through for a goal and when Lee Dutton fisted over a point a minute later Kilcoole were leading by 1-7 to 1-1 and looked to be coasting to victory.

Brendan Doyle denied a goal to Lee Dutton from close in and then Lee Evans picked up a second yellow card leading to his dismissal.

Ballymanus were showing signs of lifting the siege with Roan Lynch now outfield and Mark Kenny beginning to drive forward. A couple of bad wides and an effort back off a post didn’t help their cause but Kilcoole were retreating while Ballymanus pushed forward.

Adam Byrne scored their first score of the half when he pointed a ‘45’ but Cormac Byrne replied with a fisted effort from close in. Lee Dutton added another fisted point but Ballymanus continued to press forward. Mark Kenny pointed from play and added another from a free. James Scullion got the final Kilcoole point and the score stood at 1-10 to 1-4 as the game entered added time.

When Roan Lynch punched home a goal Ballymanus laid siege in a last-ditch effort to get another goal. Kilcoole were grateful to full-back Eoin O’Brien for a goal line save and they held on for a worthy win by 1-10 to 2-4.

Kilcoole: Kevin Condon; Luke Reilly, Eoin O’Brien, Keith Reynolds (0-1); Shane Keogh, Danny Boland, Shane Collins; Cormac Byrne (0-1) James Scullion (0-1); Luke Evans (0-2), Eoin Keddy, Chris Carroll; Brendan Wallace (1-2), Ronan Keddy, Lee Dutton (0-3). Subs: Charlie Frawley.

Ballymanus: Brendan Doyle; Darragh Byrne, Brendan Whelan, Liam Byrne; Dylan Lynch, Aidan Byrne, Ewan McRae; Padraig Byrne, Mark Kenny (0-3) (2f), Tom Parker; Craig Farrar, Sean Harmon, Colm Coogan, Padraig Byrne (1-0), Roan Lynch (1-0), Conor Byrne. Subs: Adam Byrne (0-1) (‘45’), Philip Coogan.

Referee: Eddie Leonard (St. Patrick’s).


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