Kilcar are back in a county final for the first time in 23 years after an emphatic win over reigning champions, Naomh Conaill, in a very entertaining semi-final in MacCumhaill Park.
Kilcar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-10
Naomh Conaill . . . . . . . . . . 1-11
In what was a great game of football, Kilcar were supreme, hitting three first half goals and then adding two more in the second half as Naomh Conaill had no answer to their power and pace.
The McHughs and Patrick McBrearty were just outstanding. They really performed on the day and even though Naomh Conaill tried hard, they just had no answer.
There was a hectic start with Naomh Conaill going four clear on five minutes, thanks to a fisted goal from Leo McLoone after Eoghan McGettigan had created the opening. John O’Malley added the point.
Ryan McHugh had a lone Kilcar point before Seamus Corcoran and Eunan Doherty stretched Naomh Conaill’s lead to five points, 1-3 to 0-1.
But then we had the Kilcar comeback started with a magnificently finished goal from Michael Hegarty. Patrick McBrearty added a point to cut the deficit to the minimum on 11 minutes.
It had been a great opening. Brendan McDyer added another Naomh Conaill point, but then they were rocked by a second Kilcar goal. A throw-up around the 45m line saw Naomh Conaill switch off and Patrick McBrearty was sent clear and he unselfishly crossed for Conor Doherty to slide home the second goal.
McBrearty added a point before Eoghan McGettigan, who was creating some panic in the Kilcar last line, won a free for John O’Malley to point.
It could have got worse for Naomh Conaill after Matthew McClean was tripped in the rectangle but Stephen McGrath made a great save from Patrick McBrearty’s penalty.
Leo McLoone tied up the game with his left on 27 minutes but Naomh Conaill were rocked further with Kilcar’s third goal, Mark McHugh creating the opening to send cousin Eoin through and he fired to the corner with his left.
Three minutes into added time Patrick McBrearty lofted a magnificent score from his wrong side to leave Kilcar ahead by 3-4 to 1-6 at half-time.
Ryan McHugh and Patrick McBrearty stretched the lead inside three minutes of the restart. Ciaran Thompson and Eoghan McGettigan replied before a flare up which included a lot of players. Yellow cards were handed out, and football resumed with Ryan McHugh pointing.
There was a chance for Naomh Conaill to close the gap when Ciaran Brennan was fouled as he pulled the trigger, but just like the first half, the penalty was saved; Eamonn McGinley doing well to get down for Eoghan McGettigan’s spot kick.
The fourth goal on 49 minutes was the highlight of a great performance by Patrick McBrearty, as he tore through the Naomh Conaill defence to rifle to the net.
A few minutes later, with Naomh Conaill now on all out attack, Eoin McHugh broke and went the length of the field to fire home the fifth goal, and it was fitting that Michael Hegarty topped it off with the final point for his side.