Goal-den Gallagher is spot on for cup chasers Killala
By Aoife Herbert
KILLALA 1 KNOCK/KILTIMAGH Utd 0
AFTER what was a fairly evenly contested cup tie, Killala progressed to the final on the back of a victory sealed by Rory Gallagher’s penalty kick in the 79th minute.
Killala had been reduced to 10 men when Eamon Knox was shown a straight red card 10 minutes earlier, but to their credit they kept pushing purposefully forward and were rewarded for their efforts when Johnny McNulty was chopped down just inside the Kiltimagh penalty area. Gallagher made no mistake.
The visitors did have two particularly good chances to draw level following the Killala goal. A fizzing effort from Ciaran Jennings was tipped over the bar by Killala goalkeeper Sean McHale and in the dying moments a shot from winger Shane Prendergast was desperately cleared off the line by a barricade of Killala defenders.
Killala held on, and over the 90 minutes were the side that looked most likely to progress to the final. However, it was Kiltimagh who started the brighter of the teams in the first half. Liam Groarke, Johnny Mulroy and Shane Prendergast were lively in the opening exchanges and created a couple of early half chances between them.
Killala, though, found their rhythm 20 minutes into the first half. Alan Murphy had a snapshot gathered by the Kiltimagh goalkeeper Ryan Glynn before Marc McDonnell sent Rory Gallagher through on goal but his attempted chip saw Glynn scramble backwards and recover just in time to palm the ball away for a corner kick.
Johnny McNulty had another chance a minute later when the Kiltimagh defence was guilty of letting the ball bounce and the Killala front man was causing the Kiltimagh defence problems in the air too. From one such flick on, his strike partner Rory Gallagher smashed a shot off the post on 38 minutes.
Kiltimagh, as in the first half, started the second half enthusiastically and had held the balance of possession before Killala’s Johnny McNulty dragged a shot wide of the far post following good work by John Clarke in the centre of midfield. The game drifted into a stage where neither team could keep hold of possession for a decent amount of time and no clear cut chances materialised.
Killala lost their strong and imposing centre-back Eamon Knox to a straight red card in the 69th minute following an off the ball incident spotted by the referee. Kiltimagh immediately tried to pick gaps in a restructured Killala defence and Ciaran Jennings tried for goal with a header, but this apart Killala looked relatively comfortable and kicked forward with no apparent disadvantage.
The game finally increased in intensity during the final quarter. Rory Gallagher had a busy evening upfront for Killala and when some neat footwork by Johnny McNulty drew a rash tackle in the box, it was the former who stepped up to put away the penalty with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Kiltimagh fashioned two fantastic opportunities to equalise in the final stages but the Killala defence held firm and survived to record a well deserved win.
KILLALA: Sean McHale, Matt Webb, David Cadden, Eamon Knox, Ollie Clarke, John Clarke, Mark McDonnell, Kevin White. Rory Gallagher, Johnny McNulty. Alan Murphy.
KILTIMAGH: Ryan Glynn, Brendan Clarke, Brian Gallagher, Ciaran Jennings, Brian McDonagh, Tommy Prendergast, Shane Prendergast, Kieran McNicholas, Kevin O’Brien, Johnny Mulroy, Liam Goarke. Subs: John Gill (for Clarke 59), Gavin Goarke (for McDonagh 62), Michael Walsh (for Mulroy 73).
REF Michael McCay
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