Kilmeena travelled to Ballina for this quarter final championship encounter played in near gale force conditions. Playing against the wind in the first half, Kilmeena started brightly and were in control of the ball for long periods. Early scores for Niall Ryan and Joey Smyth had Kilmeena in front by a point coming to the end of the first quarter.
Then disaster struck. Two sloppy defensive mistakes gifted the opponents two goals and all of a sudden we were facing an uphill battle. However, not to be outdone, the boys in black and white dug in and despite coming under more Ballycastle pressure, the Kilmeena men held out. In spite of those two defensive lapses, the defense were playing very well, breaking up dangerous Ballycastle raids and then moving with the ball deep into Ballycastle territory. At half time the deficit was 6 points and we were hanging on.
Half time Kilmeena 0 - 3, Ballycastle 2 - 3
Starting off the second half we got a couple of good early scores from Keith Joyce and David Stenson after a superb lay-off from Alan Ryan. We were going really well and with a couple of frees we were clawing the lead back. Ballycastle made a couple of sorties upfield and got two scores to keep their noses in front. At this stage Kilmeena were finding scores hard to come by as a few missed attempts had ourselves under pressure.
Going into the final 10 minutes we were still two points in arrears. Alan Ryan reduced the margin to the minimum with a huge raking score and then Niall Feehan levelled it up. Right on the stroke of time Ballycastle squeezed over a point which looked all the way like the winner, but deep into injury time, a patient Kilmeena move ended with Darragh Keaveney getting on the end of the final pass, stepping inside and gliding the ball over the bar to set up a replay.
For long periods we dominated this game. The quality in this team really came through at times, and but for a bit more composure at both ends of the park, this would have been a much different result. The replay will be another game, and once again, the journey of what is proving to be a very successful season continues.
Best For Kilmeena were Niall Feehan, Niall Ryan and Darragh Keaveney
Scorers Darragh keaveney 0-4 (3f), Alan Ryan 0-2(1f), Keith Joyce 0-2, Niall Feehan 0-1, David Stenson 0-1, Niall Ryan 0-1, Joey Smyth 0-1
Match report; John Doherty.
Kilmeena 0 - 12 2 - 6 Ballycastle