Killough Win Through In Harry Clarke Cup Tie

Killough FC beat Ballynagross in competitive match

Killough FC beat Ballynagross in competitive match

The Newcastle and District Amateur Football League,

Mountain Quarter, Saturday 18th February 2023,

NFU Harry Clarke Cup Quarter Final,

Report by Cyril McKinney,

Ballynagross 0 1 Killough.

Killough travelled to Mountain Quarter for this cup-tie that did not disappoint in front of a large crowd.

Within the opening six minutes Killough had two sightings on goal when first Daniel Taggart dragged his shot wide from an acute angle on the right edge of the box on two minutes.

Then on six minutes Conor Kelly tested Cathail Arnold in the Ballynagross nets with a snapshot from twelve yards.

As Ballynagross settled into the game they appeared to grow in confidence and on 13 minutes left winger Callum Mahoney got free on the left wing and fired in a great shot from the edge of the box but Conor Doyle in the Killough nets was equal to the challenge and saved with ease.

Ballynagross sub Tim Collins closes in on Killough’s Tony McIlhone.

The game at this stage was wide open with both sides intent on attacking but neither could find the killer ball in the final third.

Both defences gave little away and in the middle of the park Killough’s Michael Burns, Tony McIlhone and Ruairi Sharvin were battling it out with Joseph Burns, Conor Campbell, and John Polley.

The game was well marshalled by Referee Anthony Russell and neither side could engineer anything clear cut and were restricted to half chances.

Jay Gibney and Jack Fitzsimmons eye up the ball in a close fought match. (Photos by Cyril McKinney).

Killough’s Conor Kelly had a long range effort easily saved by Arnold on 20 minutes while at the other end Conor Doyle was equal to a Joseph Burns effort from distance on 26 minutes.

With the game reaching half-time Jack Fitzsimons saw his speculative overhead kick hit the crossbar on 43 minutes but Conor Doyle would say he had it covered.

In the second half it was more of the same with neither team having a chance to settle on the ball though Killough for long periods looked to be the more likely to score.

Ballynagross competed with Killough for every ball and every tackle in a game that could have gone either way.

Jay Gibney replaced Conor Kelly up front for Killough and this seemed to give them a fresh focus in attack.

Killough’s Eamon Gargan chips the ball into the Ballynagross half challenged by Cormac Byrne.

Cathail Arnold was at his best in goal for Ballynagross as he saved from Gibney on three different occasions –first on 66 minutes – again on 71 minutes and a great double save from Gibney and Looney on 80 minutes.

With the game seemingly heading for extra time, Killough’s fortunes changed when a ball into the Ballynagross box was only half cleared and it fell into the path of Kevin Groves who drilled the ball home past an unfortunate Arnold in the home nets to put Killough 1-0 up with only minutes left.

This spurred Ballynagross into a response and they piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but could not find a way past Conor Doyle who made a fantastic flying save to deny Joseph Burns in the final minute and put his team through to the next round.

Both teams acquitted themselves well in this cup tie and though the home side may feel they were unlucky on the day the visitors looked more likely to score as the game wore on.


Ballynagross FC: Cathail Arnold, Connor Marron, Ryan Tumelty, John Polley, Christopher Laverty, Joseph Burns, Jack Fitzsimons, Callum Mahoney, Conor Campbell, Shea McComiskey, Cormac Byrne. Subs: Tim Collins, Philip Traynor.

Killough FC: Conor Doyle, Gareth George, Conor Black, Eamon Gargen, Kevin Groves, Ruairi Sharvin, Daniel Taggart , Michael Burns, Connor Kelly, Tony McIlhone, Declan Looney. Subs: Dylan Duffy, Jay Gibney, James Hanna.