SHC semi-final: Kiltale rally reels in Kildalkey

September 28, 2014

Mairtin Doran clears for Kildalkey as Cathal McCabe (Kiltale) moves in to block during the Meath SHC semi final at Pairc Tailteann.

With Jack Regan leading the way Kiltale conjured up a strong rally in the final third of this Ted Murtagh SHC semi-final on Sunday afternoon at Pairc Taileann

Kiltale ............. 0-14
Kildalkey ......... 0-11

The men in maroon outscored Kildalkey by 0-8 to 0-2 in the final 20 minutes to advance to the SHC final for the first time since their 2012 success.

Regan chalked up nine points including the one that levelled matters for the third and final time, 0-9-all, in the 51st minute. The Kiltale number 15, who spent much of the second-half in a deep role, got the rally going with  his side two previous scores.

Playing towards the town end, Kiltale kicked-on going three points clear by the 55th minute. A Regan sideline cut set up one of those scores for Mark O'Sullivan while the game's top scorer went on to finish off a move involving three subs; Fergal McCabe, Ross and Ronan Ryan.

With hopes of a final spot ebbing, Kildalkey pushed Sean Heavey - who had been operating in a sweeping role in defence - further forward in a bid to prolong their campaign. Their top scorer Patrick Conneely completed his six-point from a free and a 65. However, Anthony Forde's long range effort in the first minute of stoppage time meant Pat O'Halloran's men needed two scores to salvage their season.

As in the opening semi-final, conditions were ideal - overcast and little breeze - to make matters easier on all sides. Maybe the lack of sunlight - apart from the efforts of both goalkeepers and defences - contributed to the lack of goals over the two games.

In the second 'semi', the teams managed 29 wides between them with the winners chalking up 16. Maurice Keogh was wide with an attempt to net close to goal at the old swimming pool end in the 37th minute. Had it gone in Nick Fitzgerald's men would have gone five points clear.

Gary Kelly had a goal chance for Kildalkey in the opening minute. Scores were low in the opening quarter as Kiltale hit the front twice from Regan placed balls; a free and a 65.

It was 0-2-all heading into the second quarter when the scoring rate rose somewhat. While Kildalkey went four points clear on two occassions, Brian Gilsenan's men endured an 18-minute scoring drought that was ended by another Regan free in the second minute of added time.

Prior to that, Kildalkey had opened up a five-point lead and were noticeably less wasteful than Kiltale, who posted 10 wides to their opponents six in the first-half.

Kildalkey led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break. Regan (free) and O'Sullivan halved the deficit within three minutes of resumption.  Sub Padraig Keogh pointed for the wearers of royal blue jerseys in the 35th minute.

Regan (free) pulled one back for Kiltale before another sub wearing royal blue, former Dunboyne clubman Gary Watters, put a goal between the sides again.

Kildkalkey then endured a 15-minute scoreless spell while Kiltale - who won all five group games - registered six scores on the spin to set them on their way to a SHC final meeting with Trim on October 12.

Kiltale - Shane McGann; Anthony Donnelly, David Donoghue, Ciaran Ennis; Padraig Kelly, John Donoghue, Padraig Donoghue; Eamon Ryan, Anthony Forde (0-1);Cathal McCabe (0-1), Stephen Donoghue, James Kelly; Mark O'Sullivan (0-2), Peter Durnin (C), Jack Regan (0-9, 4fs, 2 65s). Subs -  Kevin Ryan for E Ryan (22), Ross Ryan (0-1) for S Donoghue (38), Ronan Ryan for J Kelly (43), Fergal McCabe for Durnin (48).

Kildalkey - Conor Flynn; Sean Corrigan, Stephen Forde, Eoin Potterton (C); Padraig Geoghegan, Enda Keogh, Mairtin Doran; Sean Heavey (0-1 f), Maurice Keogh; Francis Doran, Derek Doran (0-2), Tony Fox; Gary Kelly, Enda Fitzgerald, Patrick Conneely (0-6, 3fs, 2 65s). Subs - Padraig Keogh (0-1) for Kelly (ht), Gary Watters (0-1) for Fox (41), Andrew Fagan for Fitzgerald (44), Luke Rickard for F Doran (49), Martin Healy for M Keogh (58).

Referee - Conor Ferguson (Gaeil Colmcille).

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