Sunday 16 October 2022
Cavan SFC Final
Gowna 2-13 Killygarry 1-9
By Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni
Gowna ended a 20-year famine when they eased to victory against Killygarry.
The match was not a classic, but remained close for the most part before a late goal from sub Oisin Pierson put the gloss on a victory which the Gowna men richly deserved.
Having been beaten twice in the group stage and coming from well behind to snatch a draw with Cavan Gaels in the quarter-final, they came into this game battle-hardened. Gowna wore the favourites’ tag lightly against a Killygarry side who have made vast strides this season to reach a first SFC final in 51 years.
Gowna were the better side in the first half and had a three-point lead to show for their endeavours at the break.
They probably should have been further ahead; Killygarry were gifted a goal five minutes before half-time when Martin Reilly intercepted a misplaced short kick-out and lobbed goalkeeper Ronan Bannon with a perfect finish.
Gowna started on the front foot, but it was Killygarry, showing no signs of nerves, who opened the scoring with a free from Oisin Brady.
They were unlucky not to double their lead when Darragh Lovett hit the upright and Gowna, goal specialists in the last two seasons, replied in style.
Conor Casey and Tiarnan Madden combined to pick out Conor Madden, who won possession well and quickly off-loaded to Ryan Donohoe. The midfielder tore through and while he spilled the ball, he made amends at the second time of asking with a cool soccer-style finish to the net.
Killygarry’s response, though, was impressive as Martin Reilly found Conor Smith with a well-weighted pass and the inside forward thumped over a terrific point.
Ryan Donohoe was next to register, stroking over a free off the deck from the left wing. The exchanges were frantic at this stage and after a scoreless spell, Gowna made it 1-2 to 0-2 with a trademark outside-of-the-left effort from Conor Brady.
Oisin Brady and Tiarnan Madden exchanged frees before Reilly’s goal, the bizarre nature of which resulted in a sort of stunned silence at first.
Gowna responded well, working the ball to Robbie Fitzpatrick who made no mistake from the edge of the D, and when brother TJ cut in and fired over and Conor Brady broke two tackles and floated over another, the would-be winners were humming as half-time beckoned.
Killygarry’s defensive set-up was not conducive to chasing the game and as the second half wore on, gaps began to appear.
Veteran Mark McKeever, who won his first SFC medal 23 years ago, picked out Ryan Donohoe for a mark which he nailed from a tight angle.
Conor Brady then drew a free which Man of the Match Cian Madden converted. Gowna were dominating on breaking ball and two more Madden frees saw them lead by 1-9 to 1-3 with seven second-half minutes played.
To their credit, Killygarry dug in and really made a game of it when they registered four points in succession – Oisin Brady converted two frees, found Daniel Walsh with a quick one which the latter sent over from play and, after a good run, set Mattie McKenna up for another.
But they had left themselves a lot to do and, without a goal, it was going to be very difficult to overhaul Gowna’s lead. The eventual winners were superbly organised at the back and had sparkling performances up front; Donohoe and Cian and Tiarnan Madden were particularly outstanding.
Cian Madden fisted over after Conor Madden played him in; Ryan Donohoe then curled in a beautiful effort from the wing and although young substitute Kevin Lovett kicked a good point in response, a Cian Madden free left five in it again with as many minutes remaining.
Conor Smith pointed – the umpire dithered over it for a while – but the game was put to bed on 58 minutes when Cian and Daire Madden combined to tee up Pierson for a low finish to the net.
Scorers for Gowna: Ryan Donohoe 1-3 (1f, 1m), Cian Madden 0-5 (4fs), Oisin Pierson 1-0, Conor Brady 0-2, Tiarnan Madden, Robbie Fitzpatrick, and TJ Fitzpatrick 0-1 each.
Scorers for Killygarry: Oisin Brady 0-4 (4fs), Martin Reilly 1-0, Conor Smith 0-2, Daniel Walsh, Kevin Lovett, and Mattie McKenna 0-1 each.
Gowna: Ronan Bannon, Cormac Brady, Ryan Brady, Ryan McGahern, Fionán Brady, Conor Brady, Tiarnan Madden, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Ryan Donohoe, TJ Fitzpatrick, Mark McKeever, Cian Madden (0-5, 4f), Aaron Brady, Conor Madden, Conor Casey.
Subs: Oisin Pierson for A Brady (44 mins), Daire Madden for C Casey (48), Seanie Hartin for T Madden (60), Raymond Keogh for M McKeever (60).
Killygarry: Paddy Galligan, Conor Connolly, Conor Bates, Daryl Dunne, Daryll McKenna, Cian Reilly, Darragh Kennedy, Mattie McKenna, Daniel Walsh, Ross Sheridan, Martin Reilly, Mark McDermott, Darragh Lovett, Oisin Brady, Conor Smith.
Subs: Kevin Lovett for D McKenna (46 mins), Ben Mooney for R Sheridan (48), Anselm Lovett for C Connolly (53), David Talbot for M McDermott (54), Enda Gallen for D Walsh (60).