Monday 20 November 2017

Kavanagh has the final word

Alan Aherne

A scoring burst of 1-2 from corner-forward Conor Kavanagh in less than two minutes near the end of extra-time secured the spoils for St. Anne's over Clongeen in an Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior 'A' football championship quarter-final which could have gone either way in Taghmon on Saturday.

St Anne's 3-13 Clongeen 1-16 (AET)s

It looked like the momentum had swung towards the Ross District team when Stephen Bennett (free) and Jamie O'Grady kicked the first two points after the last interval to push them into a 1-16 to 2-11 lead.

However, St. Anne's, and Kavanagh in particular, had other ideas, with the number 13 restoring their lead when he pounced on the rebound after Aiden Cullen saved well from Gordon Simpson to rattle the net.

A high kick from Kavanagh split the posts just over a minute later, and a mere 40 more seconds had elapsed before he repeated the dose via the upright to seal the win.

Two well-taken points from midfielder Gordon Simpson were the stand-out scores as St. Anne's established a 0-5 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Clongeen twice drew level though before edging ahead, only to fall in arrears by 1-8 to 0-9 when Kevin White palmed a Francis Simpson handpass to the net in the 50th minute.

St. Anne's still conceded the next three points to Stephen Bennett ('45), Martin Delaney and Bennett (free), meaning they needed a 59th-minute score from Francis Simpson to force extra-time (1-9 to 0-12).

Peter Anthony Wall and Simpson (free) swapped points on the re-start, with Clongeen losing former county star Paddy Colfer, who had come out of retirement for the game, to a black card in between.

Substitute Graham Holmes picked out Simpson for a goal midway through the first period of extra-time, but again the Clongeen response was impressive as Barry Foxe's pass gave top scorer Stephen Bennett the room to raise a green flag just over three minutes later (1-13 to 2-10)

They remained level at the break after a further exchange of points between Francis Simpson and Bennett (free).

And just when it looked like Clongeen were in the driving seat after adding a brace of points, up stepped Conor Kavanagh to send the saints into the last four after an entertaining contest.

St. Anne's: Noel Simpson; Paul Martin, Tomás Byrne (capt.), David Kavanagh; Kevin White (1-0), Jess Codd, Tony McDonnell; Gordon Simpson (0-3), Patrick O'Brien; Liam O'Neill (0-2 frees), Niall Gilbane, Seamus Mythen (0-1); Conor Kavanagh (1-3, 0-1 free), Niall Doyle, Francis Simpson (1-4, 0-1 free). Subs. - Jack Moore for Martin (41), Josh Cloney for McDonnell, inj. (46), Mikey O'Brien for O'Neill (54), Graham Holmes for Mythen (63), Gavin Howlett for P. O'Brien, black card (80).

Clongeen: Aiden Cullen; Donal Murphy, Barry Foxe, Donal McDonald; Tom Donovan, Davy Whelan, Martin Delaney (0-1); Shane Kilkenny, Paddy Colfer; Peter Anthony Wall (0-3), Leon Stafford, Jamesie Rochford; Stephen Bennett (1-9, 0-5 frees, 0-2 '45s), Jamie O'Grady (0-2), Willie McDonald (capt., 0-1). Subs. - Danny O'Grady for Rochford (60), Maurice Logue for Colfer, black card (63), Rochford for Stafford (74), Michael Casey for Rochford, inj. (79).

Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).

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