Prendergast and O’Neill find the net for Kilconly

Kilconly 2-12

St. Brendan’s 1-13

Alan Dooley at Tuam Stadium

KILCONLY overcame a significant hurdle in their bid to get back to the Intermediate football championship final when they struck two decisive goals late on in this entertaining quarter final last Saturday in Tuam Stadium, as St. Brendan’s brave bid to upset the odds came up short.

David Prendergast and Conor O’Neill were the goal-scoring heroes for Norman O’Brien’s side, breaking a 0-10 apiece deadlock with killer strikes that ultimately broke St. Brendan’s hearts. Rory Cunningham was St. Brendan’s scorer-in-chief and the game’s top scorer, but even his late goal from a close range free proved to be too little, too late.

Prendergast’s major came from the penalty spot on 53 minutes after he had been fouled in the process of taking a strike on goal himself. Ninety seconds later Kilconly’s influential midfielder Niall Daly played an excellent pass into Conor Marsden who released raiding defender Conor O’Neill into space, and after an exchange of passes with substitute Teddy Kerrigan that exposed St. Brendan’s last line of defence, O’Neill gleefully palmed the ball to the net from close range.

A six-point deficit felt insurmountable at that point, but Cunningham kicked a hat-trick of points before six minutes of stoppage time were announced over the tannoy to put Kilconly supporters very much on edge. The tireless Prendergast won a crucial free, though, that Paul Mannion converted and Niall Daly’s superb score meant that Cunningham’s late free that crept through a crowded goalmouth to the net was but a footnote.

Last year’s beaten finalists came into the game as favourites having topped Group 3 but St. Brendan’s form in comfortably seeing off Clifden in their preliminary quarter final was impressive, and Thomas Finneran’s side got off to the ideal start when Cunningham played a one-two with Karl Healy and fisted over the bar. A Niall Brannelly free doubled their lead on two minutes, but Kilconly hit back strongly with the next four scores.

Pictured: Rory Cunningham of St Brendan’s in a race for possession with Teddy Kerrigan of Kilconly during Saturday’s Intermediate Football Quarter-Final at Tuam Stadium. Photo: David Cunniffe.

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