Down SFC Final: Kilcoo show killer instinct to exploit McCartan's sending-off
KILCOO 0-9 BURREN 0-7
Kilcoo enhanced their reputation as a team that excels in a tight finish by scoring three points in injury-time to retain their title.
Burren had impressed with some free-flowing, high-scoring football in the earlier rounds, but the defending champions brought them back down to earth in a dour struggle in Pairc Esler.
Burren captain Dan McCartan was sent off in the last minute of normal time, with his side leading 0-7 to 0-6. Kilcoo then hit three late points, with Darragh O'Hanlon first converting a 50-metre free to draw the sides level in the first minute of stoppage time.
Paul Devlin landed the all-important winning free in the fourth minute of injury-time and then tagged on an insurance point from play with the last kick of the game.
Kilcoo now play the Armagh champions Crossmaglen in an Ulster club quarter-final on November 3.
Speaking before he knew the result of the Armagh county final, Kilcoo manager Jim McCorry said: "Last year was a great learning curve for us but we have not talked about Ulster at all.
"All we talked about was winning Down but it will be nice to play an Armagh side here in Newry. All I will say whoever comes here will have to work hard to beat us."
Kilcoo edged a mediocre first half by 0-4 to 0-3. Burren led 0-3 to 0-1 after 16 minutes with points from Jamie McGovern, a Donal O'Hare free and a James McGovern point.
Kilcoo only had a free from Devlin to show for their efforts until they finished with a run of three points in the last four minutes of the opening half.
Wing-back Darragh O'Hanlon's shot crashed off the upright but Ryan Johnston scooped up the rebound to end their scoring drought in the 26th minute.
Conor Laverty's point drew the sides level before Devlin added a free just before the interval.
Burren didn't score for 25 minutes either side of half-time but did lead by a point twice in the second half. Kevin McKernan and Jamie McGovern got their noses in front on two occasions.
However, Kilcoo showed their ability to squeeze through tight gaps to retain their title.
Scorers – Kilcoo: P Devlin 0-5 (3fs, 1 '45'), C Laverty 0-2, R Johnson, D O'Hanlon (f) 0-1 each. Burren: Jamie McGovern, D O'Hare (2fs) 0-2 each, K McKernan, James McGovern, C McGovern 0-1 each.
Kilcoo – S Kane; N Branagan, N McEvoy, D Branagan; D O'Hanlon, S O'Hanlon, Gerard McEvoy; P Greenan, Aidan Branagan; P Devlin, A Devlin, R Johnston; J Johnston, C Laverty, Gary McEvoy. Subs: F McGreevy for Gary McEvoy (52), Aaron Branagan for R Johnston (60)
Burren – C Murdock; D McCartan, R McGovern, G McCartan; Jamie McGovern, K McKernan, James McGovern; C Toner, A McArdle; S Murdock, C McGovern, E Toner; D O'Hare, E McCartan, S McArdle. Subs: G McGovern for E McCartan (59).
Ref – G Corrigan