Shane Lennon led Kilkerley to safety. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Senior Football Championship Relegation Play-off
Kilkerley Emmets 2-15 Cooley Kickhams 0-15
After fifty-three years competing in the Louth Senior Football Championship, Cooley Kickhams were relegated to Intermediate for the first time in Dowdallshill this morning.
Peter McDonnell’s men were on the receiving end of a Shane Lennon masterclass in losing their senior status to an Emmets outfit who scored both of their majors before half-time.
Cooley were arguably the more accomplished in possession, though they were unable to cope with Kilkerley’s ruthless inside forward line who contributed all but two-points of their 2-15 total. Tadhg McEnaney (1-4), Lennon (1-8) and Daniel McKeown (0-1), the players who did the damage.
Gavin Cummiskey’s men led from start-to-finish having struck 1-4 to no-reply in the opening eight-minutes. Lennon found the net in the second-minute having fetched a pinpoint delivery from McEnaney before McKeown, McEnaney (2) and Lennon raised white-flags.
The Kickhams rear-guard was at sea, while further out the field they were unable to halt the Kilkerley supply lines. However, a 14-minute spell where only Seán Hand found the target for Kilkerley saw the peninsula side pull themselves back into contention with Richard Brennan, Ciarán Sheelan, Eoin McDaid and Brian White (3) and Darren Marks cutting the deficit to a single-point.
But Cooley’s defence were once again caught out before the break with McEnaney finishing to the net following neat interchange between Hand and Lennon.
Late points from Rafferty and a beauty from White saw the teams go to half-time with Kilkerley 2-6 to 0-9 in front, a lead they extended with five of the opening six second-half points. Peter Thornton offered Cooley’s only reply in between minors from Lennon (3) and McEnaney (2).
Brennan and White (2) closed the gap back to four, however, Lennon (3) and Conor Kirk points helped Kilkerley across the line, ensuring they kept their Senior Championship status despite suffering relegation from Division One.
Kilkerley Emmets: Darren Meehan; Barra McCarthy, Alan McGeough, Ciarán Clarke; Cormac Bellew, Shaun McElroy, James Bellew; Ciarán Bellew, James Fegan; Conall McEnaney, Sean Hand (0-1), Rian Hand; Tadhg McEnaney (1-4, 0-2 frees), Shane Lennon (1-9, 0-4 frees), Daniel McKeown (0-1)
Subs: Conor Kirk (0-1) for McKeown (46), Pearse Hughes for Rian Hand (49, black card)
Cooley Kickhams: Neill Gallagher; Paddy Hanlon, Conor McGuinness, Gerry Malone; Eoin McDaid (0-1), Alan Page, Shane Marks; Keith White, Richard Brennan (0-2); Michael Rafferty (0-2), Darren Marks, Aoghan McGuinness; Peter Thornton (0-1), Brian White (0-7, three frees and one ’45), Ciarán Sheelan
Subs: James Reilly for Aoghan McGuinness (46), Dean McGreehan for Shane Marks (57), Fearghal Malone for Thornton (58)
Referee: Kevin Carroll (Sean McDermotts)