St. Fechin's talisman Ronan Holcroft. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
CTI Business Solutions IFC quarter-final
St. Fechin's 1-16 St. Kevin's 1-7
The outcome of the second entry in Dunleer's Saturday night Intermediate Football Championship double-header was never in any real doubt as St. Fechin's brushed aside St. Kevins' challenge.
Eugene Judge's men were comfortably superior and while Kevin's may reflect ruefully on their two missed goal chances shortly before half-time, they would be unwise to think that they could have done anything more substantial to book a last four place.
In truth, the affair served as evidence of the gulf between Divisions Two and Three as in romping clear and putting a considerable gap on the scoreboard, Fechin's were able to manoeuvre at a less than brisk pace.
Ronan Holcroft, their score-provider-in-chief, was the outstanding player, scoring 0-8, whilst also performing integrally in the move which led to Donal Ryan applying the killer touch, a goal, to Kevin's spirited revival in the early stages of the second half.
The winners held a 0-10 to four interval advantage with Holcroft (4), Bevan Duffy (0-2) and Joe Corrigan (0-2) among their scorers. Kevin's created plenty of offensive opportunities, though, including goal openings for Lee Crosbie and Clarke, but, crucially, Niall McDonnell intervened on both occasions.
Still, Johnny Magee's charges were in contention and just four behind after raising two white flags on the restart. The comeback was put to an end, however, when Fechin's launched one of their sweeping moves through the lines which ended in a confidently taken major from Ryan.
And they built on that, adding six points consecutively, including a couple from the impressive Niall Devlin, before an injury-time penalty from Crosbie, after Cian Callan had taken a tumble, gave Kevin's some comfort for their efforts.
Undoubtedly, Fechin's had gears to move through should they have been required and that's an ominous sign for the others still in Flood Cup contention.
St. Fechin's: Niall McDonnell; Leo McGrane, Niall McCabe, Conor Haughney; Colm O'Neill, Paul Matthews, Matthew Flanagan; Bevan Duffy (0-2), Brian Devlin; Alex Smith, Donal Ryan (1-0), Joe Corrigan (0-2); Niall Devlin (0-4), Cathal Doherty, Ronan Holcroft (0-8, four frees)
Subs: Seán McConnell for Brian Devlin, Harry Haughney for Doherty, Conor Phillips for Smith, Evan Kelly for Ryan, Stephen McEvoy for Flanagan, Paul Dillon for Holcroft
St. Kevin's: Danny Crosbie; Patrick Duff, Michael Grogan, Matthew Downes; Dylan Maher, Enda McKenna, Darren McMullan; Seánie Crosbie, Lee Crosbie (1-1, 1-0 penalty); Liam Boylan, James Clarke (0-1), Cian Callan (0-1); Eoin McKenna, Patrick Clarke (0-3, two frees), Shane Meade (0-1)
Subs: Aidan Craven for James Clarke, Barry Byrne for Grogan, Conor McCullough for Eoin McKenna, Andrew Campbell for Boylan
Referee: Aidan Shevlin (Stabannon Parnells)