DUCON CUP SEMI-FINALS
No disputing Cullen’s clear superiority over a depleted Castlemagner in the Ducon Cup semi-final at Boherbue.
A clinical display from the defending holders on parading an attractive brand of football that Castlemagner found difficulty to match. Few could argue with the outcome, though as Castlemagner attempted to remain in the hunt, Cullen possessed the answers to return to another decider.
From the opening half, Cullen made a statement of intent, availing of the strong play by Aaron Noland and Daire Twomey in the centre, well supported by Francis Cronin, Alan Regan and Michael Twomey.
A bout of pressure yielded points to Brian O’Connell, Cronin and Regan, exactly the start Cullen wanted. Though operating second fiddle, Castlemagner down a number of regulars looked to Donal Gayer, Danny Linehan and Daniel Murphy to provide a spark.
Still Cullen’s game carried a greater threat, confirmed on a fine goal finished home by Connell for Cullen to hold a 1-9 to 0-3 interval advantage. And Cullen carried their momentum into the second half, Regan grounded to win a penalty for Nolan to blast home with power.
Castlremagner were on the backfoot but answered with points to Linehan and Murphy. Still Cullen bossed the proceedings with Nolan, Regan, Daire Twomey and Tomás O’Keeffe adding to the tally.. That confirmed, Cullen had a better finishing kick and steered home comfortably to reach their second consecutive decider.
CULLEN: F O’Connor; S Fleming, M O’Riordan, C Kearns; P Cremin, F Cronin 0-1, C Moynihan; A Nolan 1-1, D Twomey; B O’Connell 1-1, A Regan 0-3, W O’Keeffe 0-1; M Twomey, L Murphy 0-4, G Twomey 0-2. Subs. T O’Keeffe 0-1 for A Regan, A O’Sullivan for P Cremin, D Murphy for B O’Connell.
CASTLEMAGNER: N Breen; A Morrissey, D Vaughan, D Lucey; B Healy, D Gayer, S Falvey; C Murphy, D Linehan 0-5; D Murphy 0-1, K O’Sullivan, J Bourke; P O’Leary, D Whooley, T Murphy.
Referee: J Kelleher (St. John’s)
KNOCKNAGREE secured a comprehensive victory on a rather more straightforward task that had been anticipated by overcoming Kiskeam in the Ducon Cup semi final at Ballydesmond on Tuesday evening.
Sweeping movement along with their fleetness of football helped Knocknagree dominate proceedings to a game where they never relaxed their grip. Kiskeam short a few players failed to match the level of consistency that Knocknagree brought to every line.
In fairness to Kiskeam, they had hung in well for the opening 20 minutes only for the concession of two goals before the interval saw their aspirations come unstuck, the outcome allows Knocknagree advance to a meeting against holders Cullen in the decider.
Though Knocknagree enjoyed a promising start with points to Gearóid Looney and David Twomey, Kiskeam held their own, Jeremiah McCaulliffe, Mike Herlihy and Shane O’Riordan finding the target to suggest a competitive clash was on the cards.
However as the game aged, Knocknagree asserted their authority, a mix of both experience and emerging talent evident from the commanding presence of Denis Mahoney, Gary O’Connor, Gearóid Looney, David Twomey and Denis O’Connor. Good work by David O’Connor setup Looney for the opening goal.
Looney turned instigator for the second, an opportunist effort by Kevin Barry for a 2-9 to 0-3 interval advantage. From the resumption, Knocknagree picked up where they had left off, Kiskeam ‘keeper Billy Daly saving well from Tadc O’Mahony.
Indeed Knocknagree maintained their supremacy, good work from Twomey and Denis O’Connor placed Barry for his second before O’Connor added a further green flag. There was no way back for Kiskeam with Knocknagree’s impressive performance and margin fully justified.
KNOCKNAGREE: D Browne; A Sheehan, S Daly, Denis D O’Connor; D Mahoney, G O’Connor, T O’Connor 0-1, T O’Mahony, David O’Connor 0-1; J Dennehy 0-1, G Looney 1-2 (0-1’45), C White 0-1; D Twomey 0-3, Denis O’Connor 1-3 (0-1f), K Barry 2-2. Subs: T Long for G Looney, R O’Connor for D Twomey, P Doyle 0-1’45 for J Dennehy, P Roche for A Sheehan.
KISKEAM: B Daly; D Fitzgerald, S Carroll, J Daly; Jeremiah McAulliffe 0-1, D Linehan, J Carroll; C Noonan, J O’Connor; S O’Riordan 0-1, M Herlihy 0-1, P O’Mahony; John McAulliffe, A Dennehy 0-2, J Murphy. Subs: D Hallissey 0-1 ‘45’ for S O’Riordan, P O’Keeffe for C Noonan.
Referee: D Casey (Scartiglen).