Byrne's brilliance between posts vital
A WELL-TAKEN goal in the 55th minute from county Minor Niall Hughes decided the outcome of this all-Gorey District clash in Monamolin on Friday last, but netminder Michael Byrne was the man Kilanerin had to thank most as they inflicted a third successive defeat on Réalt na Mara in this Intermediate 'A' football championship Group B encounter.
The agile goalkeeper made three crucial saves from Michael Kinsella and Leighton Gleeson (twice) as his team stayed in the hunt for qualification with a second victory.
Kilanerin had opened smartly with three points inside eight minutes from John Hegarty (free), Niall Hughes and Aidan Hegarty. However, the seasiders shaded the rest of the first-half exchanges and deservedly led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, with full-forward Leighton Gleeson picking off three points from play but being denied a goal by the cat-like Byrne in added time after the number one had kept out an effort from Kinsella in the eleventh minute.
One of those points came after Michael Kinsella rattled the crossbar early in the second quarter, while Kilanerin's best goal chance fell to full-forward Enda O'Leary who pulled his shot wide in the 14th minute after a Réalt na Mara kick-out was intercepted by the lively James Graham.
A brace of John Hegarty frees brought Kilanerin level within six minutes of the re-start, and it was still up for grabs at the beginning of the last quarter as Leighton Gleeson added a brace, one from play, to leave the sides deadlocked on 0-10 each.
The first key moment arrived in the 48th minute when a point-blank shot by Gleeson was saved and Michael Kinsella slammed the rebound off the post.
Kilanerin availed of this let-off as wing-back Brian O'Connor put them ahead, and Réalt na Mara hit three wides on the trot before Killian O'Toole and Enda O'Leary combined to put Niall Hughes through for the game's only goal. Substitute Niall Furlong later hit the butt of the upright for the winners whose experienced former Senior players guided them through a searching test.
Kilanerin: Michael Byrne; Micheál Hughes, Edward Hughes, Peter Nash; Brian O'Connor (0-1), Aidan Hegarty (0-1), Killian O'Toole; Pat Forde (0-1), Niall Hughes (1-2, 0-1 free); Conor Byrne, John Hegarty (0-6 frees), Noel Kennedy; James Graham (0-1), Enda O'Leary, Michael Hegarty. Subs. - Niall Furlong for Kennedy (53), Michael D'Arcy for O'Leary (60), Damien Byrne for M. Hegarty (61).
Réalt na Mara: Jack Hobbs; Jimmy Murphy, Stephen Redmond, Fergus Lacey; Brendan Breen, Colm Cosgrave, Brian O'Connor; Colm O'Loughlin, Kevin Jordan (0-1); Edward Redmond, Pat Naughter (0-2, 1 free), Seán O'Brien; Michael Kinsella, Leighton Gleeson (0-7, 3 frees), Colm Kinsella (capt.). Subs. - Harry Byrne for Naughter, inj. (35), Anthony O'Donohoe for O'Brien (59).
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).