ACFL Division 1 Reserve final
Kingscourt Stars 2-14
Ramor United 1-13
Two second half goals did the business for Kingscourt Stars as they annexed the Reserve Division One title in Bailieboro last weekend.
The winners hit enough high notes to claim the silverware but Ramor’s stirring final quarter meant that that issue was always destined to go right to the wire.
Ramor were the dominant force in the opening quarter with their forceful play and the Stars’ tentative opening resulting in United careering into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead with just seven minutes on the clock.
Ramor’s Sean Brady opened the scoring for his team with a neat point; a point that was then followed by a fine Karl Farrelly’s effort but the Stars were really left reeling when a well taken Conor Farrelly goal (7) made it a five point game.
Kingscourt stopped the rot when they replied in the 8th minute courtesy of an angled effort by Cian Shekleton only for Ramor to hit back with a Conor Nulty point less than 90 seconds later.
In an all-action opening quarter, Kingscourt’s Cian McArdle fired over the bar in the 10th minute before Aaron Mannion ended a five minute barren period with a nice point for Ramor.
Kingscourt showed their mettle though with the likes of Kevin Curtis and Sean Burke increasingly coming to the fore as the second quarter advanced.
As Ramor began to show a tendency to stand off their man, the Stars took advantage and the next three points went Kingscout’s way.
In the 21st minute, the aforementioned Curtis broke forward to raise a white flag and then Cian Shekleton (on the double – the latter after a Cian McArdle free rebounded off the crossbar). Crucially, Ramor only managed to score one more point in the 23rd with Karl Farrelly on target.
For the remainder of the first half, wind-backed Kingscourt notched six points without reply as Ramor lost their way for the most part.
The Stars poured forward and points from Kevin Curtis, top scorer Shekleton and messrs. McArdle, Curtis, Adam Sherriff and Shekleton, yet again; leaving Kingscourt leading by 0-9 to 1-5 at the interval.
The weather took a turn for the worst in the second half but the Stars wasted no time in adding to their tally; scoring less than a minute into the game through the in-form Shekleton. Just seconds later, Kingscourt plunged a goal courtesy of Padraig Donagh to make matters worse for Ramor.
Ramor replied with a point from Ryan Mannion but Kingscourt then bagged a 1-1 tally through Robbie Rowntree and a goal by Adam Sheriff with 36 minutes on the clock.
Kevin Curtis then pointed (37) but Ramor dug out a foothold thereafter with Kingscourt being held scoreless after the Curtis effort.
The Stars came under considerable pressure over the course of the following 20 minutes as their opponents hit a rich vein of form.
United played arguably their best football of the evening with unanswered points from Conor Nulty (36), Sean Brady (36), Conor Fitzpatrick and Aaron Mannion (48).
The pressure remained on Kingscourt in the dying minutes with a point apiece being notched by Sean Brady and Ryan Mannion (57).
Ramor pressed to the end and were awarded two frees in quick succession just short of the final whistle but they couldn’t reap the necessary harvest due to stubborn and determined defensive work by the champions-elect.
Kingscourt Stars: James Farrelly; Adam Sheriff (1-0), Cathal McKeon, Paddy Farrelly; Tom Tully, Padraig Donagh (1-0), Noel McIntyre; Sean Burke, Terry O’Reilly; Cian McArdle (0-5, 4f), Kevin Curtis (0-4), Conor Ward; Robbie Rowntree (0-1), Shane Duffy, Cian Shekleton (0-3, 1f).
Subs; Richie Curtis for R Rowntree; Keith McCabe for C Ward; Conrad Martin for T Reilly; Ciaran Dermody for A Sherriff.
Ramor United: Finn Lotscher; Stephen Kavanagh, Pauric O’Connell, Ryan Kellett; Tomás Lynch, Lorcan Lynch, Pauric Morgan; Sean Brady (0-4), Aaron Mannion (0-2); Conor Fitzpatrick (0-1), Ryan Mannion (0-2), Conor Nulty (0-2); Karl Farrelly (0-2), Ben Smith (0-1), Conor Farrelly (1-0).
Sub used; Gareth Mannion for C Farrelly; Donal Farrelly for R Kellett.