Clyda Rovers 0-9
When Ballina Stephenites relegated Kiltane down to the intermediate ranks for the first time since 1974 in October 2012, a date in Croke Park in an All Ireland final is something that would never have entered the mind of the of those heart-broken men in blue and yellow. Yet 15 months later that's exactly where they are after a barnstorming run through the best that Mayo, Connacht and now Munster could offer in the intermediate grade. Standing in their way in Croke Park on Sunday February 9 will be Monaghan outfit, Turagh who came through their semi-final against Leinster champions Geraldine's also on Sunday.
There must have only been a skeleton population left in the towns of Doohoma, Geesala, Bangor Erris and every village and townland in-between as the Kiltane faithful took over the east Galway town on Sunday afternoon. They were in full voice all day and didn't go home disappointed as their homegrown hero's went back to Erris six point winners against Cork side Clyda Rovers.
The winning of the game came in a six minute period between the 22nd and 28th minute, when Kiltane hit 2-4 on the bounce and go in at the break leading by 2-7 to 0-3.
A strong breeze was blowing from the railway end in Duggan Park towards the town goal and the advantage of the gale was with the Mayo men in the first half. The dominated possession from early on, but were finding the scores hard to take in the opening stage and they kicked a number of wides in the opening exchanges. John Reilly opened the scoring three minutes in from a free kick, shaking off the disappointment of missing another free earlier on in the contest. Edmund Barrett then had a great chance to add on either a goal or a point, but he was unable to do either after he was played in by Reilly. Ultan Corrigan kicked the north Mayo men's second point of the contest nine minutes in with a free from a tight position in the right-hand corner.
Clyda were struggling to get their running game going as Kiltane harried and hassled them at every opportunity when the Corkmen tired to hand-pass the ball out of their defence. With Reilly and Healy bottling them up in midfield and the totemic Tony Gaughan putting in a man-of-the-match display at centre-half back cutting off any chance of attacking down his avenue throughout. With 20 minutes gone in the contest Kiltane had worked themselves into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead, with Jason Healy and Shane Lindsay both booting the ball over the blackspot from well out the field.
Kiltane's hassling of the Clyda hand-passing game paid off big time when they grabbed their first goal. A Mikie Sweeney effort at point dropped well short and was collected by Clyda defender Niall O'Mullane, but his attempted hand-pass clearance was intercepted by Ultan Corrigan who wasted no time in arrowing the ball past Cian Conway in the rebel sides goal. Darragh Carey dispatched a 45' shortly after and a minute after that Kiltane grabbed the killer second goal. A Tony Gaughan free in towards Mikie Sweeney was flicked on by the deadly attacker and Shane Lindsay was breaking past his shoulder and picked up the ball. Lindsay took a couple of steps and drove the ball low to the back of the net and send the traveling faithful from north Mayo wild. Points followed from Barrett and the man-of-the-match Gaughan to round off the scoring before the break which gave Kiltane supporters a few minutes to get planning a weekend in Dublin in a fortnight.
The second half was all about making sure that they didn't let the Corkmen back into the game and that's exactly what they did. Kiltane only managed to add on two points from frees from Barrett and Ultan Corrigan, both inside the opening 11 minutes of the half. But they were never really in trouble, the only moment that could have signaled danger was when Conor O'Sullivan was clipped by a stray leg in the large parallelogram and referee Damien Brazil awarded a penalty kick. Former All-Star, Paudie Kissane stepped up but he drove his effort too high and it clipped the bar on the way over for a point, narrowing the gap that Kiltane had built up to eight points, rather than six. Which would have had hearts racing with eight minutes left on the clock.
Croke Park is calling now for Kiltane, and winning a game against the Munster champions, when neither of their two main marksmen Tommy Conroy or Mikie Sweeney managed to get a single score on the board shows what a good overall team performance it was. The Bangor army will march on the capital very soon, and there's no reason they won't be brining the big prize home with them.
Kiltane: U Corrigan (1-2, 2f ), S Lindsay (1-1 ), E Barrett (0-2, 1f ), J Reilly (0-1 ), J Healy (0-1 ), T Gaughan (0-1 ), D Carey (0-1, 1 45 )
Clyda Rovers: C Flanagan (0-2, 2f ), P Kissane (0-2, 1 pen ), C O'Sullivan (0-1 ), J Murphy (0-1 ), P O'Mullane (0-1 ), S Roynane (0-1 ), S O'Connell (0-1 )
Kiltane: MJ Reilly; D Conroy, D Carey, R Corrigan; S Gaughan, T Gaughan, M Gallagher; J Reilly, J Healy; E Barrett, PJ Gaughan, U Corrigan; S Lindsay, M Sweeney, T Conroy. Subs: S Carey for M Gallagher (50 mins ), D Conroy for E Barrett (57 mins ), B McAndrew for S Lindsay (61 mins ), P Deane for T Conroy (61 mins ), O Munnelly for D Carey (64 mins )
Clyda Rovers: C Conway; N O'Mullane, R Carey, C Kenny; C Buckley, F O'Shea, O O'Hanlon; D O'Callaghan, C Flanagan; C O'Sullivan, P Kissane, G Carey; J Murphy, P O'Mullane, C O'Sullivan. Subs: S Roynane for C Buckley (25 mins ), M O'Brien for O O'Hanlon (30 mins ), J O'Hanlon for D O'Callaghan (55 mins ),
Ref: D Brazil (Offaly )