Killygarry held off a late Crosserlough comeback to earn a first round win in the senior championship tonight at Kingspan Breffni Park.
In an entertaining clash, Ciaran O'Reilly's team hit form between the second and third quarters to run up a nine-point lead on their opponents, with Brendan Murray's fisted goal looking to have put his side out of sight.
Barry McKiernan breathed life into the town side in the closing 15 minutes though, registering 1-4 in 10 minutes, to usher them into contention towards the end but a late goal chance went by the wayside for them, leaving them three short.
Both sides finished the game with 14 men after Daryl McKenna and Tomas McEvoy picked up a second caution each, but it made little difference to Killygarry as Murray's strike and their full-forward line combining for 0-8 proved enough in the end.
Cathal Keaney's close range free had the winners' account opened inside two minutes. However, in the next attack they were lucky to avoid a goal concession after a high ball into the square from Enda Gaffney was gathered by McKiernan and the corner-forward forced a great save from Paddy Galligan. The Killygarry net-minder showed splendid reflexes to tip the ball over his bar.
Gaffney and Brian Sheanon (free) kept it even until the 10th minute, as Martin Reilly shot over a sweetly struck 40-metre free and Sheanon added a second placed ball to give the Crubany men the upper hand, and, as it turned out, they wouldn't fall behind again in this contest.
Ex-Cavan minor Gaffney was unlucky to see an excellent individual effort come off the post, prior to Adrian Smith sailing over, but Killygarry went on to boss the remaining 10 minutes before half-time with veterans Donal Thomas, named at full-forward, and Andy McGovern doing well around the centrefor them.
Crosserlough 'keeper Galligan was penalised for over carrying and Keaney slotted the simple free before Michael McGovern and Reilly (free) raised white flags to outweigh a McKiernan free.
A fine point from Thomas pushed it to double scores on the eve of half-time, giving Killygarry a 0-8 to 0-4 lead to work with for the second-half.
County man Reilly, who was faultless from placed ball, sailed a 45 to push his side's lead to five early in the restart and when Thomas nailed his second the Kilnaleck men looked to be in a lot of bother. Three consecutive wides really left things ominous for them and when Murray rose bravely to meet Conor Bates' squared pass and raise the green flag the game looked to be over as a contest.
Crosserlough had other ideas though, as they registered the next three points in the space of six minutes, with McKiernan (2 frees) and Shane McManus trimming it down ahead of McKiernan grabbing Johnny Crowe's pass, spinning and sliding the ball between Galligan's legs.
It was exactly what Seamus Donohoe's men required, at exactly the right time, and they made it a one score game when the chance presented itself to their outlet McKiernan from a 35-metre free.
A second yellow to McEvoy, who joined McKenna on the line, didn't help Crosserlough's cause but they managed to root out one last goal chance via Gaffney. However, it was blocked down before the full-forward fouled possession on the ground, and the opportunity slipped away for the black and ambers.
Killygarry: Paddy Galligan; Conor Connelly, Padraig Cahill, Conor Bates; Michael McGovern (0-1), Daryl McKenna, Ross Sheridan; Brendan Murray (1-0), Ryan Brady; Andy McGovern, Mattie McKenna, Martin Reilly (0-3, 2f, 1 45); Brian Sheanon (0-3, 3f), Donal Thomas (0-2), Cathal Keaney (0-2, 2f). Subs: Fintan Galligan for C Keaney (47mins), Andy O'Brien for C Bates (49).
Crosserlough: Ciaran Galligan; Paddy O'Reilly, Colin Lynch, Jarlath O'Reilly; Shane McManus (0-1), Declan McCabe, Kevin Smith; Jonathan Crowe, Tomas McEvoy; Pierce Smith, Adrian Smith (0-1), Stephen Smith; Barry McKiernan (1-5, 5f), Enda Gaffney (0-1), Darren Gaffney. Subs: Conor Rehill for S McManus (46mins), Conor Rehill for K Smith (50), Mark Lynch for D McCabe (54), Eoin Cusack for D Gaffney (60).
Ref: Conor Dourneen (Ballinagh)