Kilkerley Emmets' Ciarán McGlynn shakes off the tackle of Neil Thornton of St. Bride's during tonight's CTI Business Solutions IFC semi-final in Haggardstown. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anglo Printers JFC semi-final
Kilkerley Emmets 0-11 St. Bride’s 0-8
Kilkerley had scoring power that St. Bride’s couldn’t match, hence why Emmets are one game away from a senior championship return at the first attempt.
Sunday evening’s semi-final clash was played in dreadful conditions in Haggardstown and Bride’s certainly weren’t beneficiaries. In their last eight slaying of St. Fechin’s they made use of a brilliant day’s weather, their players hopping on top of the ground en route to goal.
Kilkerley were more adept to the slippery ball and constant collisions, while it doesn’t seem to matter where or in what climate their scorers-in-chief, Shane Lennon and Tadhg McEnaney, play in. It’s rare that the pair don’t reach double figures combined, which generally gives the opposition a hefty victory target.
The lethal duo supplied less than their typical quota in front of a decent crowd, but still contributed all bar two of Emmets’ 0-11. And with teenager Micheal Begley - a scorer of two classy points - now on the scene Kilkerley’s renowned offensive threat could now be boasting a third sharp prong.
That, certainly, doesn’t bode well for Mattock Rangers, who they face in their second IFC final in five years. While Mattock are a much more composed and technically impressive outfit, they lack Emmets’ ruthlessness in the scoring zone.
Lennon didn’t register in a miserable first half, where the teams shared eight points, despite stinging the butt of the post in the early stages. McEnaney (3) and Begley were Emmets’ point-takers, while Bride’s, who appeared to be more defensively orientated than in their quarter-final affair, relied upon Seán Marry’s frees for all but one of their scores.
And with the winger’s radar not at its usual pinpoint levels of accuracy Bride’s were always going to struggle once Lennon got up and running into the dressing room posts. He and McEnaney landed a brace apiece during Kilkerley’s match-winning third-quarter burst of five points to no reply.
Bride’s were going to need goals to win from that juncture onwards and while Ciarán Deane’s effort was somehow kept out and Bernard Laverty’s injury-time punch stung the crossbar, Kilkerley, with Cathal Bellew playing a stormer, were able to repel anything thrown their way.
The secret to Emmets’ success is widely known, but stopping it - or, more precisely, Lennon and McEnaney - remains a completely different matter.
Kilkerley Emmets: Ultan McElroy; Ciarán Clarke, Cormac Bellew, Fintan Brady; Seán Hand, Cathal Bellew, Neil Mulholland; Rian Hand, Conor Quigley; Ciarán McGlynn, Tadhg McEnaney (0-5, one free), Shaun McElroy; Daniel McKeown, Shane Lennon (0-4, two frees & 45), Micheal Begley (0-2)
Subs: Andrew McGuill for Quigley (45), Kieran Murtagh for McGlynn (53), Ciarán Bellew for Begley (55, BC), Killian Kampes for S Hand (64)
St. Bride’s: Adam Plunkett; Mark Hoey (0-1), David Kettle, Ronan Bailey; Aaron Devin, Michael Keane, Bernard Laverty; Patrick Reilly, James Costelloe; Seán Marry (0-5, four frees), Andrew Smyth, Neil Thornton; Laurence Steen, Emmet Kirk (0-1), Kevin Hearty
Subs: Seán Brennan for Thornton (37), Ciarán Deane for Kirk (39), Aaron Hoey (0-1) for Hearty (45), Conor Deane for Devin (54)
Referee: Stephen Johnson (Glen Emmets)