Bailieborough 1-8 Killinkere 0-9
Bailieborough Shamrocks produced a sterling second-half display tonight to come from behind and hand Killinkere defeat in this intermediate championship opening round.
Minus star midfielder Michael Argue through injury, Paul Cooney's team had to overcome a deficit twice to secure this win, with a 55th minute goal from full-forward Senan Reilly making all the difference for them in the end.
Brendan Argue's 0-5 tally was also salient for the winners, as it helped haul them back into the contest after it had looked as though Killinkere built their platform for victory in the game's second quarter.
However, the east Cavan outfit's resilience shown through from the second-half throw-in, landing an unanswered 0-4 to do away with their arrears, and they could even afford to fall behind again as Reilly demonstrated his opportunism to bag the game's only goal before Argue sealed the deal on the hour.
Chances were scarce in the opening 10 minutes but it was Killinkere whom eventually drew first blood when Liam McCabe was afforded the time and space to shoot over from his right corner-forward station.
Bailieborough looked to Rhys Clarke to get them off the mark and the county minor ace did so in impressive style, clipping over from an acute angle to end a concerning 17-minute drought for the town side. What was even more concerning for the Shamrocks though was the purple patch that their opponents came into in the 22nd minute.
Emmett Fitzsimons landed a sweet score to put Damien Donohoe's charges back in front and the next three scores would come their way via Damien Sexton, Fitzsimons (free) and Gary Denning to take hold of this contest.
Luke Moynagh pulled back a sorely needed point at the other end. However, it was soon erased by some tremendous work from Jason McMahon, who belied his defensive duties to sail over a beauty from the left flank for Killinkere to bring in a 0-6 to 0-2 interval lead.
Whatever Cooney said to his players at the break seemed to work a treat as they were level within nine minutes of the restart. Two Argue frees had them on the right path early on and through Damien Reilly and Argue (free) again the sides were squared.
Bailieborough were unlucky to see two separate point efforts come off the uprights in the meantime, having to stay patient before assuming their first lead as McCabe and Fitzsimons snuffed out chances to put Killinkere back two to the good.
A black card for Michael Smith, who pulled back Clarke on a promising run, wouldn't help the leaders' cause but an Argue gem was soon cancelled out by marksman Fitzsimons' third free to keep Donohoe's men's lead at two with five minutes to go.
Bailieborough would also lose wing back Philip Clarke to black but they held their nerve in the closing stages and eventually their patience paid off when Senan Reilly's rebounded effort flew past Sean McGovern into the Killinkere net. The number 14 was sharp on his feet after a scramble in McGovern's square fell perfectly to him, leaving his opponents out of luck.
The late strike left Killinkere hunting for a goal of their own in the dying minutes but it was Argue that settled the issue for Bailieborough via a sweetly struck free from over 45 metres, taking the Shamrocks one step closer to the quarter-finals.
Bailieborough: Conor Gilsenan; Ciaran Reilly, Calvin Daly, Luke Moynagh (0-1); Philip Clarke, Aidan Reilly, Sean Cooney; Peter Clerkin, Darren Brady; Rhys Clarke (0-1), Declan Reilly, Brendan Argue (0-5, 4f); Damien Reilly (0-1), Senan Reilly (1-0), Eoin Sullivan. Subs: Ben Hannigan for E Sullivan (50mins), Jack O'Neill for P Clarke (54), Paul Hanley for R Clarke (60, inj).
Killinkere: Sean McGovern; Lewis Fay-Cooper, Kevin McCabe, Martin Reilly; Michael Smith, Garry Denning (0-1), Jason McMahon (0-1); Breen Smith, Noel McGovern; Ciaran Sexton, Paul Kerr, Emmet Fitzsimons (0-4, 3f); Damien Sexton (0-1), Peter McCabe, Liam McCabe (0-2). Subs: John B Smith for P Kerr (31mins), Conor Sexton for M Smith (50), Darren Smith for Fitzsimons (59).
Ref: Thomas Doonan (Templeport)