Robert Mulroy (left) was a key man in the O'Raghallaigh's maintaining their senior status tonight. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Senior Relegation Semi-Final
O'Raghallaigh's 4-11 Kilkerley Emmets 3-13
The O’Raghallaigh’s are safe. That is the four letter word that brings both relief and hope in equal portions - relief to survive this season and hope for the next.
Although Kilkerley Emmets still have one more chance of safety, they will rue their luck in this senior relegation semi-final. They lost by the minimum having struck the upright on three separate occasions during the second-half.
Gavin Cumiskey's men controlled the game for long periods and led through an early Tadhg McEneaney goal, but Ben Rogan's response meant they found themselves only six-points in arrears.
And the Drogheda men's blitz towards the end of the first-half was where the game was won. Rogan clinically finished two openings and then turned provider for Eoin Moore as Mickey Conlon's charges fired in three goals in as many minutes.
Kilkerley dusted themselves down and set about work after half-time as Shaun McElroy and McEnenney cut the lead, with O'Raghs' Ciarán Brassil receiving a black card as the pressure began to tell.
This opened the game up, but Kilkerley's love affair with the woodwork began and crucially Barry Flanagan was always able to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the O'Raghallaigh's.
Shane Lennon's penalty conversion provided a lifeline for Emmets and a McEneaney goal nearly brought Emmets back to life, but the O’Raghallaighs hung on to their senior status, just.
O’Raghallaighs: Joe Flanagan; Stephen Murphy, Ciarán Brassil, Seán Grennan; Chris Smith (0-1, free), James Moonan, Eoin Moore (1-1); Robert Mulroy, Alan Doyle; Rúairí Moore (0-1), Barry Flanagan (0-5, two frees) Eoin Morrison; Stephen Kermode, Olan Walshe (0-2, frees), Ben Rogan (3-1, 1-0 pen)
Subs: Tómas Callan for Grennan (HT), Cillian Curran for Brassil (41, black card),
Damian Boyle for Morrison (47), Andrew Rogan for Mulroy (54)
Kilkerley Emmets: Darren Meehan; Alan McGeough; Killian Kampes, Shaun McElroy (0-1), Ciarán Clarke (0-1); James Fegan, Ciarán Bellew; Rian Hand, Sean Hand (0-1), Conall McEneaney; Daniel McKeown, Shane Lennon (1-4, goal pen and three frees), Tadhg McEneaney (2-4, 0-2 frees)
Subs: Fintan Clarke for Rian Hand (20, black card), Conor Kirk (0-2) for Meehan (26), Niall Mulholland for McGeough (45)
Referee: Paul Finnegan (St. Patrick's)