Kilbride 1-10 Slane 0-12
Its been forty six years since Kilbride last won the Keegan Cup and the intervening years have been tough and very little to celebrate on the adult side of the club but 2017 is different. A new manager coupled with youth coming through an exceptional well coached under age system, the future is looking alot brighter for the once King pins of Meath football.
Dunshaughlin was the venue for the first of this years semi finals and Slane was the opposition. Having beaten Slane five weeks ago in the group stages Kilbride were tipped to progress but it wasnt going to be easy.
After weathering early pressure from the team in blue Kilbride carved open the Slane's defence as a result of excellent work from David O'Leary and corner forward Callum McGovern found himself with just the keeper to beat but the Slane shot stopper was equal to his effort and made an excellent save. It would have been an ideal start. Alot was happen all over the pitch and Michael Farrell got his first on five minutes to level matters, Another from Farrell on twelve minutes put Kilbride ahead and it could have been better when Callum McGovern was again put through but on this occasion he settled for a point. Both teams traded scores as Joseph Donnelly opened his account on nineteen before Slane slotted over a brace to lead by one as half time approached. Kilbride were solid in defence as man of the match Dean Stapelton was pulling the strings and was the catalyst for all that was good. Slane were restricted to shooting from distance and were using the strong breeze to good effect.
With three minutes left midfielder David O'Leary landed a monster into the breeze to level matters once again. Half time Kilbride 0 - 5 Slane 0 - 5
Kilbride would have been happy with there first half showing especially having played into the strong breeze. Excellent team play should have yielded more on the score board. The backs were solid through John Smith and David Barron and centre back Dean Stapelton and while the forwards of Farrell the young Brian White and Joseph Donnelly were keeping Slane's backs on their toes registered scores were missing from the scoreboard.
The aid of the wind sometimes works against you and Slane were dominant early on into the breeze and scored two quick points to push two clear...wing back Craig Sheridan pushing forward and scorded a fine point on thirty six to reduce it to one.Joseph Donnelly levelled things on thirty seven but Slane responded with two more before sub Stephen McMullen pointed on thirty nine to leave one in it again.
Kilbride were getting on top as there defence upped the tackling and turned over numerous attacks and should have took advantage of there pocession stats. On forty seven they were rewarded when a penalty was won when Michael Farrell was fouled after another fine move which was started back in there full back own full back line.
This was a defining moment in the game, and as the large number of Kilbride supports held their breath up stepped Craig Sheridan who made no mistake with an excellent taken penalty to send the supporters into rapturous applause and to put the favourites back in front by two with thirteen minutes left to play. It got even better when Joseph Donnelly scored an excellent point a minute later and another on fifty two minutes to push it to four and with the finishing line in sight surely it was going to be there day but to Slanes credit they came roaring back and scored three more points the last two minutes into injury time. One last attack saw Slane search for an equalizer but the experience of Brian White and man of the match Dean Stapelton kept the Boyne side men out and as Joseph Donnelly broke up the last attack referee Richard Morris blew the full time whistle as the Kilbride team, subs, management and supports celebrated with a pitch invasion.
In summary Kilbride deserved the win and at times made it hard on themselves but they now have a final to look forward to in two weeks time.
Kilbride team. Conor Storey, John Smith, Dave Barron, Stephen Walsh ,Finbar Clarke, Dean Stapelton, Craig Sheridan 1 - 1, David O 'Leary 0 - 1, John Bruton, Joseph Donnelly 0 - 4, Michael Farrell 0- 2, Cathal McKeown, Callum McGovern 0 - 1, Jeff Sheridan, Brian White, Subs, Stephen McMullen 0 - 1 for J Sheridan, Gareth Lynch for C McGovern. Unused subs, Craig Manning, Jack Donnelly, Karl Stapelton , Conor Mahon , Ollie Nolan, Colin Faughnan, Paul Donnelly , Jake McGovern, Aaron Dunne, Colm O'Neill.