Kilrush preserve status

Kilrush 1-13 Geraldine O'Hanrahans 1-9

Dave Devereux

Kilrush banished any lingering thoughts of relegation when they doggedly fought off the challenge of Geraldine O'Hanrahans in the basement battle in Group A of the Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship in Bree on Saturday.

The result saw the north county men secure their first victory of the campaign to leapfrog the New Ross outfit, who were left languishing on the foot of the table.

Kilrush began the game with the determination of a side who were fighting for survival, and points from Billy Nolan and Edmond Kenny steadied any nerves.

They came close to plundering an early goal when Pádraig Byrne pumped a delivery into the danger zone, which was gathered by Billy Nolan. The corner-forward handpassed to the inrushing Edmond Kenny, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper David Merrigan.

The New Ross town side dragged themselves back on level terms at 0-3 apiece by the 18th minute thanks to a hat-trick of Seán Culleton frees, and after Stephen Ryan (free) and Billy Nolan had put Kilrush back in the driving seat, Geraldine O'Hanrahans were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to regain the initiative.

Dylan Egan was dragged down for a penalty and Culleton made no mistake, clinically dispatching the spot-kick into the left-hand corner of the net.

A Culleton free stretched the lead to two but Kilrush ended the half on a high, when Edmond Kenny plucked a Tommy Devereux delivery from the sky and applied the finish from close range (1-5 to 1-4).

The Gorey District side began the second-half brightly, with substitute P.J. Nolan and Edmond Kenny splitting the posts, but the New Ross men drew level by the 38th minute, thanks to their first score from play from Michael Cullen and two Culleton points.

However, Kilrush picked off five points on the trot, with Edmond Kenny, Gavin Sunderland, P.J. Nolan, Pádraig Byrne and Billy Nolan all doing the needful to give them a 1-12 to 1-7 advantage by the 51st minute.

Points from David Crowdle and Enda Kelly did bring the Geraldines back to within the kick of a ball of their opponents, but a 58th-minute Brian Hayden free sealed a precious success for Kilrush.

Kilrush: John Harte; Tom Byrne, Frank Lancaster, Tom Kavanagh; Tommy Devereux, Patrick Nolan (0-1), Tom Hayden; Garry Doran, James Lancaster (capt.); Pádraig Byrne (0-1), Conor Levingstone, Stephen Ryan (0-1 free); Gavin Sunderland (0-1), Edmond Kenny (1-3), Billy Nolan (0-3). Subs. - Colm Buttle for Kavanagh (black card), P.J. Nolan (0-2) for Ryan, Seán Foley for T. Byrne (black card), Brian Hayden (0-1 free) for P. Byrne, Martin Hayden for Nolan.

Geraldine O'Hanrahans: David Merrigan; Barry Kelly, Enda Kelly (0-1), Gerry Cash; Jack Foran, Robbie Vallejo, Eoin Kelly; Stephen Somers, Dylan Egan; Michael Cullen (0-1), David Crowdle (capt., 0-1), Seán Culleton (1-6, 0-5 frees, 1-0 pen.); Barry Roche, Tony Murphy, Michael Cleere. Subs. - Dylan Wickham for Egan, Danielius Niekis for Roche, Seán Crowdle for Cleere.

Referee: Jack Stafford (Clongeen).

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