Cooley Kickhams' Michael Rafferty (left) was to the fore against Naomh Fionnbarra in tonight's IFC clash. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
CTI Business Solutions IFC group one
Cooley Kickhams 5-21 Naomh Fionnbarra 1-8
Depleted Naomh Fionnbarra were no match for Cooley Kickhams on Sunday evening as the peninsula charges progressed to the IFC quarter-finals for the second year on the trot.
To call Kickhams’ victory revenge for last season’s knockout stage defeat to the Togher men would be disingenuous, as the Barrs were short the Osborne brothers, Hugh and Conor, while leading marksman William Woods, who almost single-handedly saw off Cooley 12 months ago, missed out again through injury.
Indeed, such has been the trauma that has shrouded Naomh Fionnbarra’s year, which could yet end in relegation from both league and championship, survival by any means would translate as success. Hopes of making it three last four appearances in a row never really got off the ground.
In contrast, Cooley will move into the decisive period of the year quietly fancying their chances. Having entered on a low ebb following a difficult summer spell in Division One, Mark Copeland’s side were unfortunate not to get something off Mattock Rangers in round one, while they ruthlessly swept the Barrs aside at Páirc Clan na Gael.
They led from start to finish, pointing on four occasions before Oisín McGee got the Markey Park men off the mark. Yet Kickhams wouldn’t be knocked out of their stride as Michael Rafferty, the scorer of 2-8, and co cut loose in attack.
Michael Carron hit Cooley’s first goal and Emmet Rogan blazed to the roof of the net within minutes as the Barrs’ day went from bad to much worse with Ciarán Markey’s black card on 19 minutes.
With Kickhams relentless, if a tad wasteful, the gap was extended to 11 by the turnaround, 2-9 to four. Rafferty struck a penalty over the top, too, which could have made the picture look even bloodier for Ciarán Conlon’s men.
The second half was a slow, painful watch as Cooley twisted the knife after making a deep incision. They added 3-12 to their interval total, Rafferty dispatching 2-6 and Patrick Sheelan a fourth goal.
Barrs’ only major contribution of the latter period saw Pádraig Butterly spectacularly find the net, reducing the deficit to 21 points, though Rafferty closed the affair with 1-1, his goal being the cue for Kevin Brady to blow his full-time whistle.
Of course Kickhams’ display has to be viewed through the lens of how poor the Barrs were, but, by anyone’s standards, this was hugely impressive, arguably the best display of any IFC team over the course of the last three weeks.
Cooley Kickhams: Neil Gallagher; Alan Page, Dean McGreehan, Dylan McGarrity; Patrick Hanlon, Conor McGuinness, Gerry Malone (0-1); Peter Thornton (0-1), Keith White (0-1); Emmet Rogan (1-4, 0-1 free), Fearghal Malone (0-5, one 45), Aoghain McGuinness; Patrick Sheelan (1-1), Michael Carron (1-0), Michael Rafferty (2-8, 0-1 pen & 0-3 frees)
Subs: Declan McGuinness for Carron (47), Emmet McGuigan for Rogan (48), Luke White for Page (50), Rogan for K White (53)
Naomh Fionnbarra: Andy McCann; Hugh McGrane, Kieran Lenehan, Kalum Regan; Bryan Sharkey, Chris McGlynn, Brendan Simms; Darren McConnon, John Doyle; Adam Hanratty, Pádraig Butterly (1-0), Ciarán Markey; Pádraic Murphy, Bernard Osborne (0-1), Oisín McGee (0-5, frees)
Subs: Nicholas Butterly for Markey (20, BC), Michael McArdle for McGlynn (HT), Colin McGrane for Lenehan (HT), Thomas McCreesh (0-1) for Murphy (HT), Martin O’Neill for O’Reilly (48), Matthew O’Reilly (0-1, free) for McConnon (50)
Referee: Kevin Brady (Pearse Óg)