Bellurgan United's Owen Armstrong. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Leinster Junior Cup Round One
Kilmore Celtic 3-2 Bellurgan United
Bellurgan United bowed out of the Leinster Junior Cup with defeat to AUL Premier A side Kilmore Celtic on Sunday afternoon.
Having fought from two-goals behind in the second-half, United were hit with a sucker punch as the hosts grabbed a winner in injury-time, an outcome which further compounded an afternoon which saw midfielder Brian White sent-off.
Following a slow start, Wayne Conroy's men looked to be feeling their way into the game when Kilmore struck for their first goal. A routine ball into the box wasn't cleared and the NEFL side were punished.
And they found themselves two-goals behind before the break when more slack defending afforded a Kilmore attacker an opportunity which he gladly took.
But Conroy's half-time words had the desired effect as Bellurgan came out stronger in the second-half. Ciarán Sheelan gave them hope of extending their six-game unbeaten run with a goal on the hour mark.
The visitors were a man up at this point following a red card for a Kilmore player, but that advantage soon dissipated when White received his second booking.
Still, the underdogs wouldn't give in and when Shane Finnegan curled in a beauty of a free-kick with five-minutes to play, they were level with extra-time on the way.
But, despite being in control, Bellurgan were hit by a late winner as Kilmore progressed after an almighty struggle. It was a heart-breaking way to lose, though United can take a lot of confidence from their second-half fightback.
Deep into injury-time, Sheelan shot narrowly wide as the peninsula side went in search of another leveller, but it wasn't to be.
Bellurgan United: Robbie Arthur; Aoghan Mc Gunniess, Ray Finnegan, Daragh Lafferty, John Smyth; Owen Armstrong, Seán McEvoy, Brian White, Shane Finnegan; Barry Carr, Ciarán Sheelan
Subs: Declan Sharkey, Stephen Finnegan