Evan Maher in action for St Kevin's earlier this year. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
CTI Business Solutions Intermediate Championship Round 3 Group 2
St Kevins 1-11 O’Raghallaighs 0-3
A second half blitz from St Kevins, which included an early goal from Shane Meade, ensured their safe passage through to the IFC quarter finals as group winners and condemned the O’Raghallaighs to the relegation play offs for the second year running.
Played in conditions conducive to a spilling ball and plenty of mistakes, both sides struggled for fluency and cohesion in attack. The O’Raghallaighs themselves only registered one score from eight shots in that opening half.
However, it could have been all so different had Niall Ronan’s side taken their early goal chances. Kyle McElroy clipped the post from close range following sloppy play in the Kevins defence, while Eoin Moore fired wide having been set up by McElroy.
The only score from open play in the first half arrived from the boot of Daniel Reilly for the Division 2 champions on eight minutes.
However, despite failing to register from open play with a wind advantage, two sweetly struck frees from TJ Doheny, either side of a Cameron Maher effort had the Kevins 0-3 to 0-1 ahead in a very low scoring half, which saw both sides turn the ball over at least 20 times each.
One of TJ Doheny’s frees emanated from a foul on Evan Maher by O’Raghallaighs’ Jack Carr who was black carded by referee Ultan McElroy.
Despite that numerical advantage, the Kevins failed to make the most of it, with half of their attacks turned over in that opening period. They also only registered 0-3 from 9 shots.
St Kevins came out for that second half, with the pouring rain unrelenting. They made their intent known, popping the ball through the hands and cutting through the O’Raghallaighs defence on several occasions, despite shooting into a strong breeze.
The Junior Championship winners of 2016 won five out of 11 on the O’Raghallaighs kickout, with the Drogheda side undoubtedly missing the kicking ability of keeper Joe Flanagan.
The O’Raghallaighs, who scored almost 50 goals as they stormed their way to Division 2 league success, looked toothless for the lion share of this game, but Ruairi Moore did at least end their wait for a score as he found the range for their first point in almost 40 minutes.
The dangerous inside line of Kyle McElroy, Ben Rogan and Daniel Reilly were kept at bay by the Kevins, with Seanie Crosbie, Finbarr Lynch and Shane Meade solid.
In fact, Shane Meade was a major threat at the other end as a fine, free flowing move saw TJ Doheny set up the marauding Meade who fired to the roof of the net from close range to extend his side’s lead to five, at 1-3 to 0-1 after 34 minutes.
Lee Crosbie got in on the scoring act for the Kevins from play, while TJ Doheny continued to be a thorn in the O’Raghallaighs side with another point, following excellent work by Tom Mathews, who had a hand in several scores for Thomas Mac Namee’s side.
Mathews deservedly got on the scoresheet after, picking up a loose ball when TJ Doheny struck the crossbar.
Along with Evan Maher, Doheny finished with 20 possessions over the hour, and himself and Lee Crosbie (free) concluded the scoring for the Kevins who advanced as group winners, with the O’Raghallaighs crashing out of the championship at the group stages once again.
St Kevins: Danny Crosbie; Seanie Crosbie, Finbarr Lynch, Shane Meade (1-0); Dylan Maher, Cameron Maher (0-2 frees), Darren McMullan; Evan Maher, Cian Callan; Karl Martin, TJ Doheny (0-4, 0-2 frees), Patrick Clarke (0-2); Eoin McKenna, Lee Crosbie (0-2, 0-1 free), Tom Mathews (0-1). Subs: Brian Callaghan for Callan (29).
O’Raghallaighs: Conor Browne; James Morgan, Stephen Murphy, Daire O’Rourke; Jack Carr, Chris Smith, Emmet King; Alan Doyle, Ruairi Moore (0-1); Danny Morgan, Eoin Moore (0-1), Olan Walsh; Kyle McElroy, Ben Rogan, Daniel Reilly (0-1). Subs: Joe Meehan for Carr (36), Cillian Curran for Danny Morgan (36), John Horan for Murphy (44), Ben Sweeney for James Morgan (53).
Referee: Ultan McElroy (Kilkerley Emmets).
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