Christopher Murrin gets his shot away for Killybegs
Hugh McFadden, not for the first time, was Killybegs’ saviour as he kicked a late equaliser to earn his a side a draw with Burt, in the first round of the Michael Murphy Senior Championship.
BURT . . . . . . . . . 0-14
KILLYBEGS . . . . 0-14
McFadden, who kicked four points in all, held his nerve late on when he split the posts from close on 40 metres into the breeze.
It proved to be the last kick of the game as referee Liam McConigley blew the final whistle as the ball sailed between the posts.
It was a pressure kick for the big county man, who had big game in the middle of the park.
And it was his power and drive that led to the free as he charged forward after Ciaran Dowds had seconds earlier kicked what looked like the winning point for the locals.
But with McFadden gritting the teeth Killybegs went on one last assault on the packed Burt defence. And it was McFadden that was fouled as he bore down the right wing.
The free was awarded about 45 metres out and and was way out on the right hand side close to the sideline.
But indiscipline by the Burt manager, Ronan McLaughlin, saw the ball brought forward by close on 14 metres by the referee.
McLaughlin complained that the free was not being taken from the correct position and tried to replace the ball as the Killybegs man was about to square up to the kick.
The free was eventually from a more favourable position. But it was still a difficult kick and from an angle not suitable to a right footed kicker. It was out on the right hand side and about 15 metres in from the sideline.
Powered by McFadden in the middle of the field and with Christopher Murrin, Michael Gallagher and Evan Broderick showing well in attack, Killybegs got off to a great start.
They hit the game’s opening four scores with McFadden getting them up and running when he converted from 20 metres.
Shane Molloy added the second when he popped up in the centre forward position to knock over a fine point from outside the 45.
Killybegs were doing all the pressing at this stage as Burt, despite playing with a stiff breeze over their shoulders, retreated into defensive mode.
Last year’s Intermediate champions played with at least 13 men behind the ball in those early exchanges.
They relied on hitting Killybegs on the break and it was not working as the visitors tagged on two more points before veteran midfielder Ciaran Dowds got them off the mark at the end of the first quarter.
McFadden, from a ‘45’ and Michael Gallagher with a delightful strike from a tight angle, had scored the Killybegs points.
Dowds’ point made it a three point game, but Killybegs were 0-5 to 0-1 up again shortly after when Christopher Murrin split the Burt posts.
Murrin, who led the attack to great effect, in all kicked five points before he picked up a black card two minutes from the end.
Burt began to shake off shackles and attacked a little more in the second quarter. Mickey McCann joined the attack from wing back to pop over a point.
And after the roving Joe Boyle screwed over an angled shot after good play from Christy McDermott, the margin was down to two. Killybegs led 0-5 to 0-3 with a little over seven minutes to half-time.
And two points was the margin at half-time after Pauric Connaghan and Christopher Murrin raised flags for the visitors and Dowds and Paul McHugh responded for the locals, to send the teams in Killybegs 0-7, Burt 0-5.
But for a brilliant point blank save from Mark McElhinney in the Burt goals to deny Michael Gallagher from five metres, the Killybegs could have been further ahead at the break.
And going on the way the second half transpired they probably needed to be as Burt were a changed side in the second period.
The Inishowen men abandoned their defensive formation as they went for broke.
And with Paul and Sean McHugh driving forward at every opportunity and thanks to points from Paul McHugh and Christy McDermott they outscored Killybegs by three points to one in the opening five minutes of the second period to draw level. Michael Gallagher kicked the Killybegs point.
The sides were level four more times in the half before Ciaran Dowds kicked Burt into the lead for the first time in the game.
That was on 64 minutes and it had all the appearances of the winner until McFadden took the game in his own hands as the clock ticked and tension rose on the sideline.
BURT: Mark McElhinney; Tom Doherty, Rory Grant, Darren Gallagher; Mickey McCann (0-1), Sean McHugh, Paul McHugh (0-3,2f); Stephen Gillespie, Ciaran Dowds (0-3); Mark Coyle, Martin Donaghy, Dara Grant; Joe Boyle (0-5,4f), Conor Harkin (0-1), Christopher McDermott (0-1). Sub: Stephen O’Donnell for Gallagher (60).
KILLYBEGS: Michael Mullin; Chris Cunningham, Steven Moorhead, Darragh McClean; Jack McSharry, Shane Molloy (0-1), David McGuinness; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Hugh McFadden (0-4,3f,1’45); John Bán Gallagher, Christopher Murrin (0-5), Pauric Connaghan (0-1); Michael Gallagher (0-3), Evan Broderick, Brendan Maguire. Subs: Daniel O’Keeney for B Maguire, inj 4, Pauric Gallagher for D McClean 21, inj; Sean Gorrell for P.Gallagher 57, Jack Behan for C Murrin 58 black card.
Referee: Liam McConigley (Downings).