Not for the first time this season, Kildress dug deep to grab the last gasp score that gave them a 1-11 to 0-14 draw in an enjoyable game with Killeshil, played in perfect conditions at a crisp and chilly Gortacladdy last night.
Kildress were on the back foot for long periods in this one and Killeshil must have dominated the possession stakes, with their double figures of wides eventually coming back to bite them. However, Kildress continue to show great spirit and resilience, with a total unwillingness to concede and as a team battled hard to get this draw.
This was yet another game where the water-breaks changed the flow of things. Kildress reached the first one deservedly 1-3 to 0-2 ahead, Philly Lennon grabbing the goal after a fine team move and Matty McGuigan nailing all three points. On the restart it was a different game however, with Killeshil rattling over six points in a row, a series that included some wonderful long range efforts. Matty McGuigan’s free at the end of the half saw his team trail 1-4 to 0-8 at the break.
Whilst Killeshil continued to have the better of things overall, the second half was an engrossing see-saw affair. First the St Mary’s went three ahead, only for Kildress to then grab their own three points in a row, Stephen McGurk’s spectacular brace being especially important in hauling The Tones back into things. Next it was Killeshil’s turn again, as three-in-a-row from them restored what looked to be a winning four-point lead. Kildress meanwhile had made the changes which gave their team a new impetus. Yet again Stephen McGurk stepped up with a point and a fine effort from Pauric Lagan then made it a one-point game again. Nathan McKernan somehow kept out what seemed to be a certain goal for the visitors and then some heroic last ditch defending in turn by the St Mary’s appeared to copper-fasten their victory. Kildress however wouldn’t give in and with literally the last play of the game Dean McNally popped up to level things.
For much of the game Kildress struggled in the face of a fine Killeshil performance but had very significant inputs from Callum Holland, Stephen McGurk (whose three points all strongly influenced the flow of the game), Dean McNally, Jonny Connolly, top-scorer Matty McGuigan, Pauric Lagan and Shea Murphy.
Referee Gary Gormley contributed hugely to a fine game that kept everybody entertained.
Kildress: | Nathan McKernan | Aaron Loughran, Callum Holland, Tiernan McNamee | Jonny Connolly, Dean McNally (0-1), Stephen McGurk (0-3) | Eoin Brannigan, Enda McAleer | Corey Holland, Philip Lennon (1-0), Adam Connolly | Matty McGuigan (0-6), Caolan McNamee, Marty Grimes | Stephen Loughran, Pauric Lagan (0-1), Shea Murphy, Shea Loughran