Two injury time Caolan McNamee goals gave Kildress a highly unlikely 2-13 to 0-19 draw today at Gortacladdy against a strong and very accomplished Gortin team which over the hour did enough to win this game reasonably comfortably. Whilst Kildress too often got gobbled up, Gortin were more direct and effective in making their chances count and for long periods had the game under control.
The St Patricks started both halves very well and apart from the second quarter and at the very death, always enjoyed what seemed to be a fairly secure lead. But Kildress to their credit never conceded defeat, even though for long periods that looked to be the inevitable outcome of this game.
Behind by four at the first water-break Kildress fought back to level only for the visitors to edge back in front, 0-8 to 0-7, by half-time. The standout feature of that half was the performance of Gortin’s Sean Óg McAleer who scored all eight of his team’s points, half from play and half from frees, all awarded for fouls on himself.
Gortin notched up six of the second half’s opening points to establish what in every way looked to be a match-winning position. From then on it was more-or-less point-for-point and whilst Kildress drove hard, Gortin always seemed to be able to hit back and dampen any hopes The Tones might have raised. But, with what seemed to be one last drive forward, Caolan McNamee was the last man in a good Kildress play and drove high and firmly to the Gortin net. With the game now definitely on its last legs, Adam Connolly hoisted another high ball in for Caolan McNamee to fist it unerringly into the top corner. To Gortin’s undoubted and understandable frustration, the final whistle went just as the ball hit the net.
Kildress’ point was hard won and owed everything to an unwillingness to accept things were over until they were over. Nathan McKernan had a sound debut in goals whilst in defence Jonny Connolly (0-2) and Aaron Loughran did well. Not for the first time Conor McAleer (0-1) was the prompter of much that was good for Kildress whilst up front the undoubted ‘match saver’ Conor McAleer (2-2) was well supported by Shea Loughran, Shea Quinn (0-1) and Matty McGuigan.
Stefan Campbell was an outstanding referee, contributing greatly to a free-flowing, pacey and entertaining game.