A late goal from The Heath’s corner-forward Cathal Whelan put the seal on a six point victory for the men in black and amber, as they ran out six point winners over Killeshin in the Kelly Cup semi-final on Sunday afternoon.
The Heath 2-11
Whelan pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area five minutes from time to finally settle an entertaining semi-final clash, with The Heath having lead for most of the game without ever really shaking off the threat of the hosts.
For Killeshin, it was their second game in three days, with their delayed semi-final against Portlarlington taking place on Friday night. They showed no ill-effects of that in the early stages, as they hit two points in the opening three minutes to give themselves an ideal start to the game.
The Heath were getting plenty of possession early on, but it took them a few minutes to start working good scoring opportunities. Once they did, however, they really started to take advantage of it. Tony Connolly came up from wing-back to get their first score of the game having been sent through by Daithi Carroll, and it was Carroll who then levelled the game with a point from distance.
Having gotten themselves back on an even footing, it took them less than a minute to go ahead, with Kieran Hyland scoring a superb point off the outside of his right foot from out on the right wing. Cathal Whelan added another moments later and now The Heath had hit four without reply, as Killeshin lost all impetus in attack.
They recovered to hit two more scores, from Cathal Brennan (free) and Stephen Attride to level, but that would be as close as they would get. The Heath went back in front thanks to a Whelan point before Daithi Carroll’s neat finish from 10 yards saw them score their first goal.
They led 1-6 to 0-5 at half-time, but Killeshin came back into the game on the restart through Barry Ryan. The wing-back has a habit of scoring spectacular goals against The Heath, having gotten the vital three-pointer against them in the 2008 Junior ‘A’ final. He scored another screamer here, rifling the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out before adding a point moments later to leave the minimum between the teams.
The Heath responded well to the setback, with Daithi Carroll pointing a 45 and Cathal Whelan slotting over a close range free after he had been fouled.Cathal Brennan hit back for the home side with two frees either side of a Chris Bergin score, and heading into the final ten minutes Killeshin trailed by just two points.
Unfortunately for them they would not score again, as Daithi Carroll put The Heath three ahead with his third point, before Whelan’s late goal finally put the game beyond Killeshin.
SCORERS – The Heath: Daithi Carroll (one 45), Cathal Whelan (one free) 1-3 each, Chris Bergin 0-3 (one free), Tony Connolly, Kieran Hyland 0-1 each; Killeshin: Cathal Brennan 0-4 (three frees), Barry Ryan 1-1, Rory Mannion, Stephen Attride, Niall Brennan 0-1 each
THE HEATH: Robbie Dowling; Mark Dowling, Denis Booth, Conor Bergin; Eoin Keane, Aidan Bergin, Tony Connolly; Enda Norton, Colin Nestor; Daithí Carroll, Chris Bergin, Donal Bigley; Kieran Hyland, Seamus Mulhare, Cathal Whelan. Subs: Alan Dowling for Conor Bergin (ht), Barry Whelan for Bigley (51 mins), Stephen Rainsford for Hyland (51 mins), Padraig Whelan for Cathal Whelan (58 mins)
KILLESHIN: Shane Whelan; Diarmuid Whelan, Jeremy Mahon, Aidan O’Rourke; Michael Brennan, Arnie Mahon, Barry Ryan; Rory Mannion, Eoin Brennan; David Mahon, Stephen Attride, Niall Brennan; Pascal Brennan, Cathal Brennan, Ronan Phelan. Subs: Geoff McDermott for D Whelan (21 mins – injured)
Referee: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)