An injury-time goal from Andy Clancy snatched a dramatic Under 13A Shield title victory for Kilmaley following a thrilling seesaw derby battle with Éire Óg on away soil on Sunday morning.
Led by the ever-impressive marksman Luke Vaughan, who accounted for all but one point of his side’s tally, Éire Óg had finally reeled in their opponents by the three-quarters mark and duly hit the front at the perfect time when Vaughan produced a superb solo goal in the 50th minute to move 1-11 to 0-11 clear.
Crucially, Kilmaley didn’t panic however and having reshuffled their pack, got back on track with a Sean Daly point before chief threats Jason Keane Hayes and Odhran Murphy teed up Andy Clancy to fire to the net from close range in the 61st minute followed immediately by a brace of Seanie Connellan points to cement a remarkable late turnaround.
While it was the perfect way to win a final, it was also exceedingly cruel on the home side who had stuck to their task well before finally blossoming in the final twenty minutes. Overall however, Kilmaley arguably deserved to edge matters based on their slightly better balance as while Luke Vaughan’s heroics were inspirational, the visitors just seemed to get more from their collective over the hour. In that regard, captain Jason Keane Hayes led by example alongside Andy Clancy who impressed at bot h ends of the field. Cian Corry, David Conway, the hard-working Sean Daly, Odhrán Murphy and four point marksman Seanie Connellan who starred in both their first and second team final wins were also instrumental to Kilmaley’s late triumph.
Luke Vaughan played a captain’s part for the Townies up front while midfielders Niall Doyle and Dylan Tierney and defenders Dylan Nugent, Brian Lynch and Paddy O’Reilly were also to the fore in a compelling decider.
Wind-assisted Éire Óg opened the scoring through a Vaughan 50 metre free after 90 seconds but it was Kilmaley who quickly seized control with five of the next six points through Keane Hayes (3), Murphy (2) and Padraig Healy to build up a 0-6 to 0-2 advantage by the start of the second quarter.
The Ennis side finally settled into their stride though, with Vaughan adding five further points, with the sole effort from play just drifting the wrong side of the crossbar on their way to slashing Kilmaley’s advantage to the minimum by half-time at 0-8 to 0-7.
The sides were duly deadlocked for the first time in over 30 minutes on the restart when Vaughan converted his sixth free but a defiant Kilmaley ensured that they wouldn’t let their hosts nudge in front as Jason Keane Hayes arrowed over a brace of placed balls to reclaim the edge at 0-10 to 0-08 by the 40th minute.
The growing influence of Éire Óg’s midfield pairing Niall Doyle and Dylan Tierney did provide another gear though, with substitute Oran Considine and a brace from Vaughan nudging the home side in front just in time for the water break at 0-11 to 0-10.
Seanie Connellan regain parity on the resumption only to be hit by Vaughan’s sucker-punch goal that initially seemed ambitious but managed to rebound off the left post into the net at 1-11 to 0-11.
That would be their final scoring contribution though as Kilmaley inevitably upped the ante for the remainder in search of a lifeline, with a 1-3 unanswered finale proving more than sufficient to cement the honours albeit that they perhaps left it too close to the final whistle for comfort.
Kilmaley: Conor Lynch; Shane Cahill, Cian Corry, Alex Griffin; David Conway, Andy Clancy, Sean O’Gorman; Jason Keane Hayes (Captain), Tom McMahon; Shane Cotter, Odhrán Murphy, Sean Daly; Seanie Connellan, Padraig Healy, Dylan Killeen Subs: Donnacha Cooney for Griffin (HT), Aidan Cleary for Killeen (36), Breanainn Falvey for Healy (55)
Scorers: Jason Keane Hayes (0-6, 4f, 1’65); Seanie Connellan (0-4); Andy Clancy (1-0); Odhrán Murphy (0-2); Padraig Healy, Sean Daly (0-1 each)
Éire Óg: Tadhg Conway; Aidan O’Connell, Brian Lynch, Paddy O’Reilly; Jack O’Halloran, Dylan Nugent, Lewis O’Dwyer; Niall Doyle, Dylan Tierney; Odhran O’Farrell, Luke Vaughan, Michael Cleary; Ryan Mahony, Cormac Mann, David Keating
Subs: Oran Considine for Mann (HT), Jack Quinn for Keating (56)
Scorers: Luke Vaughan (1-10, 6f); Oran Considine (0-1)
Referee: Kieran Harvey
by Eoin Brennan