Sensational finish sees Kilrossanty stay up
Kilrossanty 1-9; John Mitchells 0-11
They will talk about this one for many years to come out Comeragh way after Kilrossanty dramatically came from behind in as pulsating a finish as one is ever likely to see at this level of football to pip their arch rivals John Mitchells by the minimum margin, and retain their place in Waterford football’s top flight.
On as good a surface as one could wish for on the first Sunday in November, this relegation play-off was watched by a fair-sized attendance who braved the exceptionally cold weather to watch this do-or-die derby at Walsh Park.
Even though referee Maurice Condon brandished one red card during the course of the hour, it was still a most sporting encounter and a credit to both teams. It was a terrific triumph for Kilrossanty who, despite their numerical disadvantage for the last twenty three minutes – and being two points behind at the time of David Power’s dismissal – refused to surrender their senior status.
The winners dug deep in the closing stages, when many another side might have bowed to the seemingly inevitable, and a 59th minute equalising goal, followed by a point a minute later, gave the green and gold colours a victory that for long periods looked beyond their compass.
This mid-county affair started on an exceptionally lively note with Kilrossanty very much on the offensive. However, their accuracy within scoring distances proved far from perfect as they shot four wides in as many minutes. They eventually found the range, thanks to a Stephen Prendergast free after six minutes, and when his midfield colleague Anthony Power added a second from play three minutes later, there was much relief in the Kilrossanty camp.
Mitchells, who denoted a fair degree of apprehension in the early stages, gradually settled and their forwards began to see more and more of the ball. Still, they had to wait until the 13th minute for their opening point of the day from Leo Barry, an soon found themselves on level terms as John Power pointed a free following a foul on Fergal Fogarty and then proceeded to rifle over four more points (three from frees), between the 18th and 27th minutes to open up a far from flattering 0-6 to 0-2 gap between the teams.
The introduction of veteran Roger Power proved timely for the Kilrossanty men, and his first touch on the half-hour mark set up David Power for a badly needed point – his side’s first scores since the 9th minute – to leave last year’s Intermediate champions 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the break, with a breeze advantage on the restart.
A further Kilrossanty substitution on the turnaround led to the introduction of another former club and county star Mattie Kiely, and his first touch of the ball in the 34th minute yielded one of the points of the match.
Again inaccuracy came back to haunt Kilrossanty and worse was to follow in the 37th minute when they found themselves reduced to fourteen players, when a second yellow card, followed by a red, was shown to corner-forward Power. And while inside a further sixty seconds, Anthony Power paved the way for a well-taken Tommy Prendergast point to cut the deficit to the minimum, the numerical advantage was already impacting on the Kilrossanty men.
Indeed, Mitchells, sensing victory, pressed forward in waves and, during one of their best spells of the game, consolidated their position with three additional points in as many minutes per John Power (2, one from a free) and Fergal Fogarty to be 0-9 to 0-5 ahead by the 43rd minute.
Undaunted, Kilrossanty responded magnificently and their cause improved immeasurably following points from Anthony Power – the first direct from a sideline ball on the three quarter hour – and another seven minutes later. And when his midfield colleague Stephen Prendergast raised a further white flag shortly afterwards, the deficit was down to the minimum for the second time since the restart.
Still, the outcome continued to remain in the melting pot as play moved into the closing five minutes of normal time, and when the unerring John Power popped up with points from placed positions in the 56th and 57th minutes, it certainly looked as if John Mitchells’ senior status had been saved.
Of course all this was reckoned without the never-say-die spirit that has long been part and parcel of Kilrossanty football, and they were thrown an invaluable lifeline in the 59th minute when Anthony Power and John Power combined well to provide Joey Veale with the chance to send an unstoppable shot to the back of the Mitchells’ net, making it a one-point game yet again.
With the momentum now flowing in their favour, Kilrossanty grabbed the initiative further when defender Niall Walsh worked his way into an attacking position to send over the all-important clinching point, and while the losers had one last chance of forcing a replay, it was not to be and Kilrossanty held on for one of their most famous victories.
For the winners none played better than Tommy and Stephen Prendergast, Niall Walsh, Mark Prendergast, Anthony Power, Joey Veale, and Ciaran Keating, while for the vanquished, the likes of Kenneth and Damien O’Reilly, Tony and David Kirwan, John Power, Fergal Fogarty and Leo Barry stood out.
Kilrossanty: Darren Mulhearn, Mark Prendergast, Conor Hayes, Paul Lannon, Niall Walsh, Tommy Prendergast, Ciaran Keating, Stephen Prendergast, Anthony Power, Paul Hayes, Oisin Doyle, Alan Quinn, Joey Veale, Colin Dee, David Power, Subs: Roger Power for P Hayes, Mattie Kiely for O Doyle.
Scorers: Joey Veale 1-0, Anthony Power 0-3, Stephen Prendergast 0-2, David Power, Mattie Kiely and Tommy Prendergast 0-1 each.
John Mitchells: Ivor Kelly, Niall Barry , Kenneth O’Reilly, David Whelan, Kieran O’Connor, Damien O’Reilly, William McGrath, Tony Kirwan, David Kirwan, John Power, Fergal Fogarty, Leo Barry, Niall O’Connor, Paudie Kirwan, Paddy O’Sullivan. Subs: Adrian Power for N Barry.
Scorers: John Power 0-9 (0-7 frees), Leo Barry and Fergal Fogarty 0-1 each.
Referee: Maurice Condon (Clashmore).
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