Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship Preliminary Round
Clones 0-12 Killeevan 0-11 29/5/11
Clones finished strongly to edge past neighbours Killeevan in this closely-contested JFC preliminary-round game in Ballybay on Sunday. Killeevan led by three points with a quarter-of-an-hour left, playing with the wind, but they failed to add to their tally, letting Clones off the hook in a game they really should have won. Clones deserve credit, however, for timing their comeback to perfection – they only took the lead for the first time in the final minute of normal time. With Clones having lost a number of players from last year, including Fintan Kelly, Colm Connolly and Declan McKernan, Adrian Alford was their leading light, with good support from Danny Rooney, Darragh Holland, David Freeman and substitute Darren Freeman, whose second-half introduction made a big difference. Noel Smith starred for Killeevan, while Kevin McGinn, Darren Quigley and Niall McCooey also showed well.
Noel Smith opened the scoring after a one-two with Seán Clerkin and Darren Quigley doubled Killeevan’s lead on three minutes. Adrian Alford got Clones off the mark with a fine point after good work by Danny Rooney and Colin McCaughey and he then converted a free to level it up after seven minutes. Kevin McGinn restored Killeevan’s lead, before turning provider for Smith to send over a good point off his left foot. Alford hit a great long-range point, but David Flynn linked up with Smyth to leave Killeevan two up after 20 minutes. Alford won and scored a 20-metre free, before a well-taken point from an acute angle by Darragh Holland brought Clones level. Clones thought they had edged ahead for the first time in the game on 25 minutes, but the umpires ruled that a Paul Shiels effort had drifted just wide. Smith won and scored a close-range free and he added a well-struck 45-metre free after a foul on Darren Quigley to send Killeevan in at half-time much the happier team, leading by 0-7 to 0-5 after playing into the wind.
Alford converted a 20-metre free for Clones a minute after the restart, but Smith replied with a fine point from play and a 35-metre free after a foul on Seán Clerkin. Alford tapped over a 13-metre free for a foul on David Freeman, but Flynn got on the end of a Chris Kilpatrick pass to restore Killeevan’s three-point advantage. Darren Quigley tagged on a point, but Killeevan suffered a blow with 12 minutes left when their captain Gerard Hughes was shown a second yellow card for dragging Darren Freeman to the ground just outside the square. David Freeman tapped over the resulting free, before Darren Freeman got a point of his own, following good approach play by Michael Treanor and Declan McQuaid. McQuaid equalised with three minutes left after an Alford shot came back off the upright and Clones got their noses in front for the only (and crucial) time when David Freeman linked up with Darragh Holland to kick his third point in the 60th minute. Clones will play either Aghabog or Oram in the first round, while Killeevan head for the back door.
Clones: J Holland; E Holland, D Rooney (Capt.), P Connolly; C Kelly, M Treanor, D Holland (0-1); C McCaughey, E McEntee; D Graham, P Shiels, David Freeman (0-3, 2f); G Foy, A Alford (0-6, 4f), N Nolan Jnr.
Subs: D McQuaid (0-1) for Foy (18 mins), E Kelly for McEntee (35), Darren Freeman (0-1) for Graham (44).
Killeevan: A McAviney; C Kilpatrick, G Hughes (Capt.), J McGuirk; F Smith, N McCooey, P O’Reilly; K McGinn (0-1), S Clerkin; G McKenna, D Quigley (0-2), D Flynn (0-2); J Quigley, S Corr, N Smith (0-6, 3f).
Subs: I Larmer for Corr (42), D Clerkin for J Quigley (55).
Referee: B Walsh (Ballybay).