Pittman Traffic and Safety Equipment Intermediate Football Championship Relegation Semi-Final
Kilcullen maintained their Intermediate Football Championship status for 2020 after a two point victory over Ellistown in the Relegation Semi-Final at Manguard Plus Hawkfield on Thursday Evening.
The Rags who emerged winless from a difficult group involving Ballyteague, Kilcock and Monasterevan fielded a very young team but it paid dividend for long periods as they led 0-12 to 0-3 at half-time with Luke Maloney, Shay Pemnbroke and David Marshall doing a lot of the damage.
That first half effectively kept Kilcullen up as they only scored four points on the resumption with a goal from Shane Maughan getting Ellistown back in the game.
Ellistown who beat Ballymore in last year’s relegation final had a big impact from their bench with both Dan Dempsey and Devon Guing getting two points each but in the end they gave themselves too much to do.
From the start Kilcullen looked the better side and within four minutes they were two points to the good after successive scores from Paul Bell.
Ellistown opened their account with a 6th minute free from Andy O’Neill but a fifteen minute scoreless period soon followed where in which time Kilcullen kicked five points in a row.
David Marshall got three of these with his last point being a shot at goal but his shot was tipped over by Alan Melia.
Thomas Hickey and Shay Pembroke also scored while Dan Coughlan had a chance to put the game to bed as early as the halfway mark of the half but Melia did well to make his second big save of the game.
O’Neill’s second free followed for Ellistown in the 21st minute but again the Kilcullen response was emphatic with points from Coughlan, Sean Hurley and Paul Bell moving the lead out to eight at 0-10 to 0-2.
A fine point from play by O’Neill reduced the gap initially but two further points for Kilcullen from Pembroke and Maloney gave Jarlath Gilroy’s men a nine point buffer at the break as they looked to be almost at the finishing line.
Kilcullen then scored three points in the opening ten minutes of the second half with Pembroke, Maloney and Dan Coughlan all on target but instead of the game being put to bed Ellistown stayed somewhat in touch with scores from Cillian Barry and Conor O’Loughlin.
Pembroke’s 42nd minute free for Kilcullen had Kilcullen 0-15 to 0-5 clear but they only scored once for the rest of the game as Ellistown roared back into contention.
A Pat Martin score reduced the lead to nine but goals were needed for Ellistown and they got one inside the final quarter when Andriu Mac Lochlainn gave off to midfielder Shane Maughan and he fired past Jamie Buckley to give his side a lifeline.
David Marshall steadied the Kilcullen ship with a free from a difficult angle to leave Jarlath Gilroy’s side 0-16 to 1-6 ahead but Ellistown kept coming and they scored five on the bounce in the final few minutes.
Dan Dempsey and Devon Guing who both appeared as second half subs got a brace of points near the end and on another night they could have snatched a win or at least forced extra time as Dean Frahill blazed wide when in the clear and Mac Lochlainn also had a shot deflected over.
Ellistown threw everything at it in stoppage time but alas the clock beat them and Kilcullen held out for a crucial win.
Kilcullen: Jamie Buckley; Jack Dooley Francis Shortt, Brendan O’Donnell, Sean Hurley 0-1, Ciaran Melinn, Darren Barker, David Neil, Thomas Hickey 0-1, Tim Carey, David Marshall 0-4 (0-1f), Luke Maloney 0-2, Paul Bell 0-3, Shay Pembroke 0-3 (0-2fs), Dan Coughlan 0-2.
Subs used: Graham Lavin for Barker 44 mins, Brian Bell for Hickey 56 mins.
Ellistown: Alan Melia; Dean Frahill, Brendan Byrne, Cillian Barry 0-1, Kevin Martin, Christy Kelly, Pat Martin 0-1, James Sutton, Shane Maughan 1-0, Tomas Scully, Darren Kelly, Conor O’Loughlin 0-1, Eoin O’Loughlin, Andy O’Neill 0-3 (0-2fs), Andriu Mac Lochlainn 0-1.
Subs used: Dan Dempsey 0-2 for Scully h-t, Tom Byrne for Kelly 42 mins, Gary Kinahan for O’Neill 55 mins, Devon Guing 0-2 (0-2fs0 for C.O’Loughlin 56 mins.
Ref: Niall Colgan