HomeFootballO’Reilly grabs late winner as St. Kevin’s edge out Coláiste Chraobh Abhann...

O’Reilly grabs late winner as St. Kevin’s edge out Coláiste Chraobh Abhann in Senior ‘A’ football final

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St. Kevin’s 2-11 Coláiste Chraobh Abhann 2-10

The Dunlavin school seemed to have the game well in hand when a flurry of points left them six points to the good going into the final five minutes, only for a Joe Heatley penalty to inspire an enthralling comeback.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, however, as O’Reilly angled a delightful score between the posts to spark jubilant celebrations.

James O’Reilly is hoisted high by his St. Kevin’s team-mates.

A cagey opening five minutes gave way to one largely dominated by St. Kevin’s, who could have had four first-half goals playing with the wind but managed only the one.

It was Coláiste Chraobh Abhann who opened the scoring with a well taken Seán Byrne effort on six minutes but, once Bradley Guing equalised two minutes later, the Dunlavin school established a period of control that saw them race into a six-point lead.

Eoin Deering gave them the lead with a fine right-footed effort from wide on the right flank before, on the 13th minute, they got their opening goal.

Pat Kehoe, a lively presence at corner-forward, gained territory before laying the ball off to James O’Reilly. The Dunlavin man dropped a tantalising ball into the square, where Tom Doyle fisted into the back of the net.

While Doyle, Guing, and Kehoe were causing problems, the CCA inside forward line was getting little in the way of change out of the St. Kevin’s rearguard, while Martin Byrne was impressively marshalling matters just in front.

Moments after their first goal, St. Kevin’s should have had their second when Doyle cut in off the left and found himself with space to shoot, only for his effort to be well saved by Jaden Murdiff with his legs.

Bradley Guing notched a free before their third goal chance arrived.

First, Eoin Deering dipped and weaved his way beyond a number of tackles before smashing the crossbar, with Doyle’s rebound being too weak to beat Murdiff.

Josh Healy ended Kilcoole’s 17-minute wait for a score on 23 minutes and on 27, out of nothing, they got a goal of their own. Seán Byrne did well to fashion some space before feeding Leon Reynolds, who buried past Henry Walshe.

Moments later, they could have had a second when Brady was upended near goal and a penalty was given, only for Eanna Nolan’s spot-kick to come back off the post.

Jim Corrigan had a gilt-edged chance at goal go wide in added time as St. Kevin’s preserved a 1-5 to 1-2 lead at the break.

Dunlavin made changes at the break and instantly hit the front when Bradley Guing rifled in after the ball was worked up to him from the throw-in. However, CCA, playing with the wind, hit back.

Tom Doyle of St. Kevin’s under pressure from Oscar Durston (Coláiste Chraobh Abhann).

Joe Heatley (free) and Seán Byrne closed the gap before the former and Mick Carroll combined well to find Ryan Harrison, who forced a save from Walshe. Eanna Nolan pointed the 45 to bring it back to a three-point game.

Ryan Healy and Josh Healy brought it back to a one-point game before Kevin’s got their first score of the half with a fine Darragh Corrigan solo score.

Eoghan Lawlor and Pat Kehoe added another couple of well-taken points to push their advantage out to four.

Bradley Guing was pulling the strings at this stage and, when Ciarán Traynor and Eoin Deering added another couple, they were up by six with less than ten minutes to go.

And then, mayhem ensued. First, Seán Byrne was once again adjudged to have been fouled and a penalty was awarded on 54 minutes, with Heatley converting to bring the scores to 2-10 to 2-8.

Kilcoole had the wind at their backs and Dunlavin were shell shocked, as Byrne and Heatley brought the scores level in the dying embers.

CCA had a late chance at a winning goal go agonisingly wide and, amid the mounting pressure, it was St. Kevin’s who got the final say as O’Reilly landed the winning score and the Senior ‘A’ trophy for the first time in 12 years.

Henry Walshe of St. Kevin’s celebrates.

Coláiste Chraobh Abhann: Jaden Murdiff; Martin Kelly, Aaron Smith, Oscar Durston; JJ Brady, Josh Healy (0-2), Leon Reynolds (1-0); Seán Byrne (0-3), Sam Greene; Josh Bishop, Eanna Nolan (0-1 45), Ryan Healy (0-1); Mick Carroll, Ryan Harrison, Joe Heatey (1-3, 1 pen, 3f). Subs: Jack Collier (52)

St. Kevin’s: Henry Walshe; Dylan Whyte, Jamie McGrath, Ryan Cleary; Eoghan Lawler (0-1), Martin Byrne, Ciarán Traynor (0-1); Darragh Corrigan (0-2), Jim Corrigan; Eoin Deering (0-1), James O’Reilly (0-1), Eoin Kearney; Pat Kehoe (0-2), Bradley Guing (1-3, 1f), Tom Doyle (1-0). Subs: Joshua Farrell (HT), Tom Byrne (55), Ben Joyce (56).

Referee: Kieron Kenny.

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