Kilcoo crowned Ulster Football Champions

Kilcoo have been crowned Ulster football champions for the first time in their history after a 2-11 to 2-09 win over Naomh Conaill over Donegal.

It was an Aidan Branagan goal that had Kilcoo in the driving seat with half time approaching as they led by 7 points. However, late goals from Charlie McGuinness and Jeaic McKelvey meant the gap was just one at the break, 1-8 to 2-4. Another Branagan, this time Daryl, scored a 38 minute goal. They went 22 minutes without scoring but held on for a narrow win.

Charlie McGuinness scored a point to give the Donegal champions the lead. However, the Mourne county side settled into the game. The Branagan’s all causing trouble. Paul Devlin and Conor Laverty were impressive to setting up scores. Paul Devlin scored two points as did Ryan Johnston. Mickey Moran’s side led by 0-08 to 0-03 after 24 minutes of play. Ethan O’Donnell got Naomh Conaill’s first score in 12 minutes then.

It was Daryl Branagan, Conor Laverty and Niall McEvoy all got in on the goal.  The ball found Aidan Branagan who palmed the ball to the net on 28 minutes. It was 1-08 to 0-04.  The game looked to be going one way now but Naomh Conaill had other ideas. They grabbed two goals late on in the opening half. First of all Charlie McGuinness finished from close range, before Jeaic McKelvey pointed to cut the gap to the minimum.

Kilcoo came out all guns blazing. They scored 1-02 in a matter of minutes. Conor Laverty caused havoc for the goal which Daryl Branagan got on the end of. Naomh Conaill though were not giving up with players like Anthony Thompson and Eoin Wade leading the charge. Ciaran Thompson and Niall O’Donnell raised white flags. Kilcoo went 21 minutes without scoring and Naomh Conaill kept attacking. Ciaran Thompson knocked over a free, while Anthony his brother kicked one from play. A point now between the sides.

Kilcoo though through Daryl Branagan kicked a tidy score from the right wing just when Kilcoo needed it. Naomh Conaill pushed everyone forward in order to try find a goal but they were to be denied on this occasion. Kicoo crowned Ulster champions now go on to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland series.

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