CLONTIBRET CELEBRATE COMEBACK

23 October 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

boyleClontibret 1-09
Kilco 0-11
By JOHN GRAHAM

Clontibret overcame all the odds to book their place in the quarter-final of the Ulster Club Senior Football Championship when they struck for an injury time goal to snatch a late dramatic victory over Down champions Kilcoo in Pairc Esler, Newry, on Sunday afternoon last.

They overcame in particular the handicap of having to play three quarters of the game with 14 players after Paul McGuigan was sent off in the 13th minute of the first half but they compensated for that numerical disadvantage with an unbelievable work rate that always kept them in the game and always within touching distance of getting over the line.

How they got over the line in fact was done in the most dramatic circumstances as Dessie Mone palmed a cross by substitute Michael Paul O’Dowd to the Kilcoo net to stun the Down champions who were literally left reeling in disbelief as the final whistle sounded just seconds later.
Played in difficult conditions with a strong wind and intermittent rain showers this was a game that was played at a high degree of intensity and there was also a somewhat attritional element to some of Kilcoo’s play in particular in their treatment of Conor McManus.

McManus was the subject of some fairly uncompromising tackles and a degree of intimidation even from sections of the Kilcoo supporters as he prepared to take frees, but he continued to steer the Clontibret ship with his unerring accuracy that saw him finish with eight points, all from frees and a magnificent contribution from general play. He was the subject of an uncompromising tackle by two Kilcoo players in the opening seconds of the match but after treatment he punished that by converting the free and he was a real thorn in Kilcoo’s side all through.

This was a game too that had a very high tactical element to it and Clontibret had to re-jig their forces and rethink their strategy a couple of times during the contest and none more so than when they were reduced numerically in the opening quarter.

Kilcoo themselves finished the game with 14 players when centre back Niall McEvoy was dismissed on a straight red card for an off the ball strike on Conor McManus after Clontibret’s match-winning goal.

A tough hard hitting contest where defences dominated, Clontibret allowed Kilcoo to play ball in their own half but when they moved into Clontibret’s half of the field they found a swarm of saffron jerseys confronting them, but having said that the Clontibret goal did have a charmed life on a couple of occasions. However ….

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