Elphin start in style

Ruby Oil Senior Football Championship Elphin 2-10 Kilbride 0-8 Elphin began their championship in impressive style with an assured win over Kilbride on Saturday evening last which guarantees the Orchard Park side’s passage through to the knock-out stages of this years Senior Football Championship.   The game was evenly poised as full-time loomed but two opportunist goals from Patrick Fox and Fintan Cregg in the dying moments of the game put the issue beyond doubt and left Kilbride’s championship hopes hanging by a thread for the year ahead.   Elphin produced a workmanlike performance which their Kilbride counterparts could not rival. They defended well throughout with Paddy O’Connor a commanding figure at centre-back. Brian Higgins and Shane Tiernan shaded proceedings in the middle of the field and the forwards kicked some fine scores with John Collins in good form at centre-forward.   Once Elphin curbed the influence of Seamus O’Neill at midfield and Stephen Lohan at full-forward the pendulum swung in their favour. Although Conor Devanney proved to be a menace throughout Kilbride could not manufacture the scoring opportunities which they craved and were indeed a depleted outfit at the final whistle.   The men from Fourmilehouse did make an encouraging start while Eddie Lohan opened their account with a close-range free. The Elphin reply came through John Collins who levelled matters with a good point before Lohan put Kilbride back in front with a well taken 45.   Elphin began to dominate at this stage in the contest and tagged on five unanswered points. Shane Tiernan, Colm Rock, Stuart Roddy (2) and Collins once more all registered crucial scores for their team as the Elphin challenge gathered momentum.   Klibride responded with two points of their own to close out the first half from Lohan, leaving two points between the teams at the interval.    The second half was an evenly-contested affair although Elphin did put daylight between the sides on the resumption. Collins kicked two frees at the beginning of the half and this along with a splendid point from an acute angle from full-forward Rock propelled them into a lead which they were consequently never to relinquish.   Kilbride did reply with points from the impressive Lohan (three frees) once more and substitute Tom Hanley but they proved to be nothing more than consolation scores as Elphin finished out the game in style with goals from Patrick Fox and a solo effort from Fintan Cregg.   It was fitting than John Collins, who had been very influential throughout, brought proceedings to a close with a neat point to cap a good day all round for Elphin.   They now march on to the quarter-finals although they still have an important game with Padraig Pearses to decide the final standings in the group. Indeed it is a game Kilbride will hope Elphin will win to bring the Fourmilehouse club back into contention and rescue their assault on this year’s County championship. Elphin: Shane Reynolds; Michael Glancy, Brian Cregg, Brendan Neary; Jason Carney, Paddy O’Connor, James Callery; Brian Higgins, Shane Tiernan (0-1); Brendan Rock, John Collins (0-5, 3 frees), Patrick Fox (1-0); Fintan Cregg (1-0), Colm Rock (0-3), Stuart Roddy (0-1). Kilbride: Jonathon Farrell; C. Farrell, David O’Rourke, P. Foxe; Stuart Feely, John Lally, James Farrell; Seamus O’Neill, Gerry Lohan; D. Feely, Eddie Lohan (0-7, 5 frees, a 45) Martin McDermott; Thomas O’Grady, Stephen Lohan, Conor Devanney. Substitutions: T. Hanley (0-1) for M. McDermott (50 mins.), C. O’Neill for T. O’Grady (57 mins.). Referee: K. Madigan.