Kilcar delivered the second defeat of the weekend to Ardara on Sunday thanks to a very impressive first half display.
A penalty from Patrick McBrearty and a great individual goal from Ashley Carr sent Kilcar to the dressing rooms 2-7 to 0-5 ahead, but they were very lethargic in the second period and Ardara fought back, although never looking likely to cause a shock.
But after their chastening experience at home to Naomh Conaill on Friday night, there was more spark in the Ardara performance. Kilcar, on the other hand, will have to dissect what it was that left them struggling for much of the second half.
They were full worth for their eight point half-time lead, Noel Hegarty putting them on the front foot from the throw-in, almost getting in for a goal.
Their game was kick-started in the 10th minute when referee Ian Molloy adjudged Declan Gavigan had fouled Patrick McBrearty and it was a marginal decision. From the spot, McBrearty was clinical and in a six minute period between the 12th and 18th minutes, the home side added a further 1-3 to lead 2-4 to 0-1. McBrearty (2) and Michael Hegarty had the points while Ashley Carr added the second goal - very well taken after he won possession and sent his man the wrong way before firing home.
Ardara improved in the final ten minutes of the half as they hit four points - two Gareth Concarr frees and Conor Classon and Kieran Breslin (their most potent forward) from play, while Patrick McBrearty, Barry Doherty and Ryan McHugh (free) had points for the home side.
Doherty’s point on 28 minutes was another goal chance as the burly corner forward fielded, turned and blasted towards goal but the ball clipped the crossbar and went over.
Kieran Breslin pulled a point back for Ardara at the start of the second half but Mark McHugh and Patrick McBrearty (free) stretched the lead to nine. It was still at that margin as the game entered the final ten minutes with both sides trading points before Ardara were given a chink of light when Damien Diver was fouled by Luke Carr and Gareth Concarr slammed home from the spot.
Further points from Concarr reduced the margin to four, but time and a lack of cutting edge up front were against the visitors.
Just before the end Ardara corner back Kevin Breslin saw yellow for a second time.
However, the second half was a much better contest and both sides will have learned something. The Kilcar defence - especially when Noel Hegarty and Conor McShane were withdrawn - looked vulnerable. Both had picked up yellow cards and that was a factor in their withdrawal. The Kilcar management - with Conor McManus transferred back south - will be hoping that Patrick Gallagher is back to full fitness soon and they will rue the fact that Keith ‘Beast’ Cunningham has got bad news on his knee injury. The return of Ashley Carr for his first start gave the home side another ace up front where Patrick McBrearty gave Paddy McGrath a very tough time, but his free taking was patchy at best.
Ardara were without the injured Kenneth Doherty (who pulled a hamstring at the end of Friday night’s game) but encouraging news for them is that Brendan Boyle hopes to be back in the Ardara jersey inside a month.
Kilcar: Eamon McGinley; Luke Carr, Barry Shovlin, Pauric Carr; Noel Hegarty, Conor McShane, Ryan McHugh (0-2,2f); Mark McHugh (0-1), Michael Hegarty (0-1); Ciaran McGinley, Eoin McHugh, Mark Sweeney; Ashley Carr (1-1), Patrick McBrearty (1-4,1-0pen,2f), Barry Doherty (0-2). Subs., Declan McCloskey for N Hegarty 45; Declan Gallagher for C McShane 54.
Ardara: Declan Gallagher; Kevin Breslin, Declan Gavigan, Paddy McGrath; Oisin O’Donnell, Nicholas Breslin, Nicholas Maguire; Stephen Boyle, Kevin Byrne; Michael Maloney, Conor Classon (0-1), Kieran Breslin (0-4); Peter McHugh, Gareth Concarr (1-4,1-0 pen,4f), Peter McNelis. Sub., Damien Diver for McHugh 31.
Referee: Ian Molloy (N Conaill)