Kilcoo 0-16 Carryduff 0-09
Kilcoo picked up their ninth Down senior club championship title since 2009 in style by playing some exhibition football to see off challengers Carryduff.
Carryduff were playing in their first ever senior final but they displayed no signs of nerves against a Kilcoo side in search of their 18th Down senior club championship title.
However, last season's winners and All-Ireland finalists Kilcoo did what they do, and with some wonderful sweeping waves of play they put Carryduff to the sword - rather comfortably in the end.
Carryduff were without their county man James Guinness, who didn't recover from a knock he received in the semi-final win over Ballyholland Harps, Joe McFlynn starting instead.
Ryan Johnston opened the scoring with a tight, angled point, but Ronan Beattie had the sides almost instantly level with his converted free.
It was a quite open game and there were some fascinating battles, including that between Carryduff's Conor Cassidy and Jerome Johnston. Carryduff's John McGough and midfielder Josh Connery impressed throughout, and they kept the Duff on the front foot.
Beattie and Kilcoo’s Ryan McEvoy traded frees before Daniel Guinness steered Carryduff in front after Niall Kane’s kickout dropped short. But Eugene Branagan’s point after intelligent play by Conor Laverty had the sides level at the first water-break.
Kilcoo rallied, with points from Paul Devlin (free) and Johnston brothers Jerome and Ryan, but Carryduff should have been in front as they kicked two scoreable wides, and Beattie missed a glorious chance for a goal on 28 minutes when he had the Kilcoo keeper Kane beaten but his shot went over the bar.
A relieved Kilcoo punished this missed opportunity as they pressed ahead with the lively Ryan Johnston and Paul Devlin tagging on points to give the Magpies a 0-07 to 0-04 lead at half-time.
It was in the third quarter where Kilcoo displayed their clinical championship pedigree.
It was thrilling, end-to-end stuff but more importantly they outscored their opponents 0-08 to 0-04 in that period.
Ryan Johnston, Paul Devlin, Eugene Branagan, Shealan Johnston, Dylan Ward and Ceilum Doherty were on target for Kilcoo and while Carryduff had ample chances, it was only Beattie and John McGeough (free) that made it count on the scoreboard.
Carryduff didn’t retreat but there was no comeback either, despite some gallant efforts, as Kilcoo instead closed the game out with Ryan McEvoy trading a score with Beattie to seal victory.
The hardworking Paul Devlin was awarded the Man of the Match award while it was joint captains Conor Laverty and Aidan Branagan who received the Frank O’Hare Cup from county chairman Jack Devaney.
Kilcoo scorers: P Devlin (0-04, 0-2 frees), R Johnston (0-03), E Branagan (0-03), R McEvoy (0-02, 0-2 frees), S Johnston (0-01), D Ward (0-01), C Doherty (0-01), J Johnston (0-01)
Carryduff scorers: R Beattie (0-07, 0-4 frees), D Guinness (0-01), J McGeough (0-01, 0-1 free).
KILCOO: Niall Kane, Niall Branagan, Ryan McEvoy, Aaron Branagan, Ceilium Doherty, Darryl Branagan, Eugene Branagan, Aiden Branagan, Dylan Ward, Shealan Johnston, Jerome Johnston, Paul Devlin, Ryan Johnston, Conor Laverty, Niall McEvoy.
Subs: Darragh O'Hanlon for R Johnston (51'), Justin Clarke for S Johnston (55’), Paul Greenan for Aidan Branagan (57’), Ronan Lawlor for O’Brien (60’), Martin Devlin for C Laverty (62’)
CARRYDUFF: Mark Hynes, Lorcan Toal, Conor Cassidy, Aidan O’Brien, Michael McGrath, John McGeough, Daniel Guinness, Josh Connery, Jonny Henry, Joe McFlynn, Joe Tunney, Owen McCabe, Rory Anderson, Ronan Beatty, Gareth Henderson.
Subs: Caolan Tierney for O’Brien (47’), Shea Reilly for Anderson (49’), Michael Lawson for Henry (52’).
Referee: Con Reynolds (Rostrevor).