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Kilcoo advance to All-Ireland final after extra-time tussle with St Finbarr's

Kilcoo 1-18 St Finbarr's 1-13 (after extra time)

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Ceilum Docherty of Kilcoo is tackled by Eoin McGreevey of St Finbarr's. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ceilum Docherty of Kilcoo is tackled by Eoin McGreevey of St Finbarr's. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ceilum Docherty of Kilcoo is tackled by Eoin McGreevey of St Finbarr's. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Kilcoo needed extra time to see off St Finbarr’s to make a return to the All-Ireland Final on February 13, after an absorbing and bruising encounter in Portlaoise.

Eoin McGreevy and Ryan Johnston traded points in the opening minutes and this set the tone for an excellent battle in O’Moore Park.

It was the Magpies who got off to a dream start as Ryan Johnston hit the roof of the net, after brother Jerome picked him out with the pass.

Corner back Aaron Branagan scored a lovely rare point with Conor Laverty instrumental in the build-up and Paul Devlin converted a free, but three converted frees from the steady Steven Sherlock meant that St Finbarr’s were only a whisker behind.

And then came the breakthrough as St Finbarr’s grabbed a great goal only two minutes before half time. Eoin McGreevy blasted home from close range. It gave the Cork City side the lead for the first time and they maintained their two-point advantage at the break.

Sherlock’s fourth converted free extended St Finbarr’s lead but he then kicked wide when shooting from his hands, when all others went over from the ground. Kilcoo hit back points from the pacy Eugene Branagan and Shealan Johnston and Paul Devlin’s second converted free cut the gap to a point with 40 minutes played.

The sides were level after Kilcoo goalkeeper Niall Kane steered over his 42-metre free and then the Ulstermen took the lead with Eugene Branagan firing over a stunning point before Sherlock replied.

Daryl Branagan and Paul Devlin thought they had done enough but Kilcoo’s discipline let them down and Sherlock’s eighth converted free forced the game down to the wire.

Kilcoo had a wonderful chance to win the game having been awarded a soft free in the last seconds of additional time but a silly challenge by Aidan Branagan on Adam Lyne, saw the Kilcoo joint captain pick up a red card and the ball thrown up and full time whistle to force the game into extra-time (0-10 0-10).

Kilcoo led 1-15 to 1-12 at the turnaround, with Devlin and substitute Anthony Morgan on target for the Magpies, while Sherlock replied from frees.

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Colm Barrett broke Sherlock’s scoring streak with a point but keeper Niall Kane (free) and the lively Doherty responded with fine scores. St Finbarr’s finished with 13 men as Jamie Burns and Micheal Shields picked up late reds, while Kilcoo’s Ward received a black card, but it mattered little to them as they had booked their place in the All-Ireland Final.

St Finbarr’s scorers: E McGreevy 1-01, 0-1 mark, S Sherlock 0-10, 10 f, C Crowley 0-01, C Barrett 0-01

Kilcoo scorers: R Johnston 1-01, P Devlin 0-06, 0-3f, D Branagan 0-2, N Kane 0-03, 2f, E Branagan 0-1, Aaron Branagan 0-01, , Anthony Morgan 0-01, C Doherty 0-02

ST FINBARR’S: J Kerins, S Ryan, J Burns, C Scully, C Lyons, B Hennessy, A O’Connor, I Maguire, Eoin Comyms, D O’Brien, S Sherlock, B Hayes, C Myers Murray, E McGreevy, C McCrickard.

Subs: E Dennehy for Murray 41, C Barrett for O’Brien 41, M Shields for E McGreevy 50, A Lyne for McCrickard 58

KILCOO: N Kane, N Branagan, R McEvoy, Aaron Branagan, M Rooney, D Branagan, E Branagan, D Ward, Aaron Morgan, C Doherty, J Johnston, S Johnston, C Laverty, R Johnston, P Devlin.

Subs: Anthony Morgan for Laverty 43’, Aidan Branagan for Aaron Morgan 57’, C Laverty for Aidan Branagan 60. T Fettes for R Johnston 68, J Clarke for Rooney 70

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).


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