Pauric Carr gets the ball away for Kilcar against Martin O'Reilly Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Kilcar disposed of MacCumhaill's with comfortable enough ease this evening in Ballybofey to go through from Group D as winners.
With both side already qualified from this section, topping the group was the prize on offer here prior to throw-in. Kilcar were of course shy the services of both Patrick McBrearty (ACL) and Ryan McHugh (concussion) once again while the hosts were still without Darren O’Leary. Last week’s hat-trick hero Aaron Kelly also missed out with a groin compliant.
Just seven seconds in, Eoin McHugh flashed a stinger inches wide of the foot of Eoin Gallen’s goal. On three minutes, Ciaran McGinley hammered one off the crossbar as Kilcar went for the juggler from the very off.
The dominant south west men finally got off the mark through Andrew McClean while Mark McHugh quickly doubled that lead. Against the run of play and with what was their first real attack, MacCumhaill's hit back emphatically.
Padhraic Patton slammed home a goal at the back post and that was quickly followed up by a Steven O’Reilly point.
Mark McHugh, from a free, and O’Reilly traded points. Luke Gavigan then took MacCumhaill's to 1-2. Barry Doherty’s team responded with efforts from Matthew McClean (2) and Conor Doherty to take their tally to 0-6.
Oisin Gallen and McClean, again, were on the mark at either end as the hosts shaded the first quarter on a score of 1-4 to 0-6.
The impressive McGinley strode through from the middle to tie matters up. Another that was shining early for the champions was Matthew McClean. He notched his third of the evening with a classy strike from distance.
Three minutes out from the midpoint and Kilcar went three to the good, again from another McHugh free. That was the last significant action of the first-half and it was Kilcar that exited with a goal lead.
Conor Doherty got the scoring action underway once again in the second-half with a sweet ping of the left. Odhran Doogan was denied a goal by an excellent Eoin Gallen stop. Andrew McClean just couldn’t get a good enough contact on the follow up and the danger was averted.
38 minutes in, Doherty again showed his quality with another perfect connection. Kilcar – now with a real stranglehold on the contest – moved seven clear from a brace of McHugh frees. And, on 45 minutes, Kilcar made sure of matters when Eoin McHugh riffled to the net.
MacCumhaill’s, scoreless since the 16th minute, took until the 48th minute to break their scoring duck as Oisin Gallen clipped over a free. Patton moved Bernard McGeehan’s side to 1-6, but still chasing an eight-point deficit.
Substitute Darren O’Leary smacked over a fine ’45 for the Twin Towns outfit as 1-7 trailed 1-14 going into the final seven minutes. Gallen took his tally to three for the night heading down the home straight.
Another MacCumhaill's replacement, Nathan Gavigan also got his name on the scoresheet. A Gallen free from the hands had Kilcar reeled into four.
Kilcar eased any slight nerves that might have been creeping in when Andrew McClean posted late on as both sides now look forward to tomorrow evening’s championship draw.
MacCumhaill's: Eoin Gallen; Christopher Gallagher, Marty Gallagher, Conor Griffin; Ronan McMenamin, Gary Dunnion, Luke Gavigan (0-1), Padhraic Patton (1-1), Marty O’Reilly; Gary Wilson, Steven O’Reilly (0-1), Oisin Gallen (0-5,4f); Stephen Mulligan, Gavin Gallagher, Brian Lafferty. Subs: Darren O’Leary (0-1,1’45) for S Mulligan (ht), Nathan Gavigan (0-1) for S O’Reilly, Rory Dunleavy for M Gallagher (both 50mins), Chad McSorely for C Griffin (53mins).
Kilcar: Eamon McGinley; Brian O’Donnell, Conor McShane, Pauric Carr; Andrew McClean (0-2), Michael Hegarty, Barry Shovlin; Ciaran McGinley (0-2), Mark McHugh (0-5,4f); Conor Doherty (0-3), Eoin McHugh (1-0), Mathew McClean (0-3); Odhran Doogan, Mark Sweeney, Aodhán McGinley. Subs: Barry McGinley for P Carr (42mins), Daragh O’Donnell for C Doherty (55mins),
Referee: James Connors (St. Eunan’s).