So near and yet so far for the hurlers of Rahoon-Newcastle who yet again fell agonisingly short in their attempt to reach the Senior grade. The manner by which they fell at this preliminary quarter final hurdle will rankle with locals on the Westside of the city, as they did themselves no justice and really with a bit more composure could have carried the day.
Rahoon opened the brighter in a sun-drenched Kenny Park, and scores from Shane O’Connor and a Niall Carr ’65 gave them a two point advantage. Martin Ryan opened Kilconieron’s account after Colm Connaughton found him with a quick free, however further points from play from Martin Kelly, Enda Feeney and David Kelly saw Rahoon-Newcastle open a four point advantage after the first quarter. The remainder of the half belonged to the East Galway men, however.
A Cillian Moran effort from play either side of placed balls from Connaughton and Brendan Lohan reduced the deficit to one. Martin Ryan then lofted a ball into an unmarked Moran who set himself and shot low, only to see his effort expertly saved by Brian Kelly as the ball trickled out for a ’65 which Connaughton pointed. Then, on the stroke of half time, Paul Tierney drove a delivery in which was plucked from the air by Cillian Moran, he steadied himself and made no mistake this time, blasting it to the net to send his side in at the break a goal up.
Kilconieron centre back Brendan Lohan was first to register on the resumption with a free after a wild Niall Carr pull, who was clearly frustrated with the difficulties his side had with making headway up front. Tony Óg Regan responded and pointed from play to give his side a much needed boost. Martin Kelly then went on an incisive run and forced Dermot Callanan to bring him down, with Carr converting the free to reduce the margin two.
When Enda Feeney pointed under pressure from midfield it looked as if Rahoon’s momentum might be enough to win them the game. Martin Ryan fired a good Kilconieron reply from play before a moment of real controversy.
Rahoon full forward David Kelly won possession and sent a ball in which he, a good portion of the crowd and this reporter were sure sneaked just inside the left upright. The umpires, after some clearly confused deliberation, decided to wave the effort wide, however. The sides finished proceedings as Connaughton and Carr traded frees, and Rahoon were left to rue some poor finishing which saw them exit the championship.
Ultimately it was some rock solid defending from Kilconieron, led by Brendan Lohan, which made the difference although the city men had some quality performances from Niall Carr, Enda Feeney and Tony Óg Regan, who could have probably been put to better use further out the field where his influence was needed the most.
Rahoon-Newcastle: Brian Kelly; Kevin Silke, Rob Keane, Andrew Keane; Eamon Joyce, Tony Óg Regan (0-1 ), Matthew Silke; Niall Carr (0-3,0-2f,65 ), Emmet Heffernan; Dermot Tarpey, Shane O’Connor (0-1 ), Martin Kelly (0-1 ); Seamus Kyne, David Kelly (0-1 ), Enda Feeney (0-2 ). Subs: Tom Nally for Rob Keane, Brian Cloherty for Heffernan, Ronan Kelly for Kyne, Peter Keane for O’Connor.
Kilconieron: Gerry Smyth; Cathal Smyth, Enda Connaughton, Dermot Callanan; Willie Lawless, Brendan Lohan (0-1,f ), Paul Tierney; Aidan Spellman, Aidan Duane; Paul Martyn, Martin Ryan (0-3,0-2f ), Cillian Moran (1-1 ); Karl Martyn, Colm Connaughton (0-3,0-2f,65 ), Donal Warde. Subs: David Gannon for Callanan.
Referee: Gerry Donoghue.