Our Lady’s Boys Club met Kilfeacle & Districts at the Sportsground on Saturday, led from the outset, maintained parity for 50minutes but succumbed in the final quarter hour 30-14 the result.

With it went any future role OLBC will play in this winter’s All-Ireland Junior Cup, not unlike the other Connacht contenders Ballina, Monivea and Westport who also stumbled in round one.

OLBC and Kilfeacle’s Galway fixture kicked off in squally conditions, the rain punctuated by occasional sun slivers – small blessing then the pre-match sleet was confined to the warm-up only.

Outgoing captain Dave Prior got his swansong off to a flier 12minutes in scything through from 44m out, stepping one and swerving clear of two others to go under the bar, Dave Dooley added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Camped on the OLBC line for 10minutes, Kilfeacle failed on four occasions to ground the ball for five-points. Prior, opting for last resort tactics in defence, earned a yellow for interfering from an offside position. With a numerical advantage against an understaffed backline, Kilfeacle added to the Prior three-pointer from wide out with a try to go one point up, 8-7 at the break.

Prior rejoined the fray four minutes into the second spell and the Kilfeacle radar extended the lead to four with a second penalty but Club’s 15-man complement was shortlived when frustration conspired against blindside Willie Cullinane whose uncharacteristic show of fury earned him a yellow on the eight-minute mark.

Again the visitors plundered the staffing disparity for two tries in Cullinane’s absence, and could have converted two more but for stoic and staunch defence in broken play from the locals.

While Prior’s try in the first half was smart, Conor Mulligan’s halfway through the second half was nothing short of spectacular. Outhalf Conncha Carey fluffed a clearance which earned OLBC about 35m in territory but looked to promise little else.

One Kilfeacle defender went airborne to field it, and another rounded in support in time to see Mulligan split the pair of them without breaking stride taking the ball with him and coast the final 45m to the posts untouched.

Poised at 23-14 with Boys Club in possession things may well have fallen Boys Club’s way but for an immediate seven-point reply from the tourists, chased up shortly after with another.

At 30-14 Kilfeacle & Districts advance to the quarter-finals, along with Skibbereen (who dealt to Ballina), Coolmine who disposed of Westport, and Portadown who upset the Monivea applecart in Monivea.

Tralee, Enniscorthy, Dundalk and Clogher Valley comprise the other quarterfinalists.

Luke O’Donnell

087 176 2656

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