Kilbeggan Shamrocks captain Mel Kiernan after receiving the Division 6 shield from Westmeath GAA county committee chairman, Frank Mescall. Photo:

Geraghty’s late goal not enough to stop Kilbeggan

ACFL Division 6 final: Kilbeggan Shamrocks 0-9, Milltown 1-5

Gerry Buckley reports

A better-balanced Kilbeggan Shamrocks side survived a late Milltown rally to deservedly land the Westmeath Football League Division 6 title in front of a very small crowd in TEG Cusack Park yesterday (Saturday) evening.

A swirling wind made conditions difficult for football, but the overall standard was very disappointing regardless of the weather. The maroon and white-clad side led from the 15th minute onwards and were able to hang on in injury-time despite Alan Geraghty scoring the game’s only goal for Milltown exactly on the hour mark.

Poor shooting abounded in the opening minutes before Michael Coffey put Kilbeggan ahead from a seventh-minute free. Luke Gunning neatly equalized from open play some two minutes later.

The respective number 13s came close to finding the net at either end, Danny Scully’s soccer-style effort being kept out by Damien Byrne, before Harry Pendred pointed when a goal had seemed certain.

Paddy Malynn’s charges got their shooting boots on for the second quarter and they were rewarded with five unanswered points between the 16th and 25th minutes, courtesy of Mark Wrafter and Brendan McMahon (both lovely scores from play), Michael Coffey and Darragh Coffey (both frees), and Scully (rounding off a fine move).

Darragh Coffey’s low-trajectory shot was wide approaching the end of normal time in the first half, before Gunning spurned a great goal chance at the other end when he picked the ball off the ground. At the break, Kilbeggan Shamrocks led by 0-6 to 0-2.

The wild shooting returned during the opening ten minutes of the second moiety. The hard-working Niall Carey stretched the winners’ lead with a 41st-minute point, the umpires having initially disagreed about the validity of the score.

The men in green and white then pounced for their first score in 32 minutes via Dylan Crowley. A successful Gunning free left Michael McNamee’s troops three points in arrears (0-7 to 0-4) at the end of the third quarter.

A dipping shot from corner back James Hanlon and a well-taken score from a tight angle by Carey looked enough to secure the win for the Kilbeggan men, particularly after the energetic Wayne Smith shot straight at Adrian Carroll when a goal looked likely.

However, with the clock just seconds from 60 minutes, Geraghty scrambled home a tonic goal for Milltown. In the third minute of added-time, Gunning completed his points’ hat-trick via the crossbar, but try as they might, the losers were unable to manufacture a last-gasp equalizer.

After the match, Frank Mescall, the chairman of the Westmeath County Board, presented the plaque to the Kilbeggan Shamrocks captain, Mel Kiernan.

Scorers – Kilbeggan Shamrocks: N Carey and M Coffey (2f) 0-2 each, B McMahon, D Scully, D Coffey (f), M Wrafter and J Hanlon 0-1 each. Milltown: A Geraghty 1-0, L Gunning 0-3 (1f), D Crowley and H Pendred 0-1 each.

Kilbeggan Shamrocks: Adrian Carroll; Martin Ward, Mel Kiernan, James Hanlon; Mark Wrafter, Conor Delaney, Stephen Carroll; Niall Carey, Brendan McMahon; Michael Coffey, Dean Fitzgerald, Padraig Carton; Danny Scully, Darragh Coffey, Ciaran Egan. Sub used: Joey O’Neill for M Coffey (49).

Milltown: Damien Byrne; Paul Heduan, Bernard Kiernan, Padraig Heduan; Wayne Smith, Diarmuid Maguire, Sean Somers; Dylan Crowley, Frank McLoughlin; Ryley Murtagh, Anders Kiernan, John Mulvaney; Harry Pendred, Alan Geraghty, Luke Gunning. Subs used: Stephen Somers for Pendred (h-t), Evan Finnerty for Sean Somers (inj., 35), Brendan Burke for Murtagh (51).

Ref: Michael Gordon (Shandonagh).