A strong first half showing from St Kevins set them on their way to this win in a wet Courtbane on Saturday evening. A run of six unanswered scores in the opening half was ultimately the difference between the sides in the finish with Cian Callan in fine form throughout.
An opening score from Noel Donaldson was in fact the only stage at which the hosts led as points from Karl Martin and Patrick Clarke edged the visitors in front by the 6th minute. Although Donaldson would level matters soon after it would be the only time that the sides were tied for the remainder of the contest. A Cian Callan free kick put the visitors back in front and this would instigate their purple patch with Clarke, Seanie Crosbie, Andrew Campbell, Patrick Duff and Callan once again contributing to the scoreboard. Although a Collie Rooney free kick stemmed the tide, it was short-lived as Callan (2) and Crosbie edged the Phillipstown outfit further in front. However, a late free kick from Rooney and a point from corner forward Jamie Kelly gave the home side hope at the interval.
Half-Time: Naomh Malachi 0-5 St Kevins 0-11
The Mals narrowed the gap upon the resumption thanks to well-taken points from Jack Kirwan and Kelly and although Callan responded from a placed ball, a second point from Kirwan and a well-taken score from Ciaran Hughes reduced the gap to three points by the 39th minute. A free kick from Callan and another from open play settled his side’s nerves before corner back Enda McKenna claimed the score of the match from long distance. Any lingering hopes of a Mals comeback were extinguished soon after when Callan expertly finished a flowing move by blasting past net minder Mark Meegan. Two late pointed frees from Rooney reduced the gap, but Callan would have the last say when kicking over his eighth point of the contest in injury time.
Full-Time: Naomh Malachi 0-11 St Kevins 1-16
Naomh Malachi: Mark Meegan; David Begley, David Rogers, Daniel Lundy; Peter McShane, Ronan Greene, Donal Begley; Padraig Moley, Ronan McElroy; Ciaran Hughes (0-1), Jack Kirwan (0-2), Emmet Mullen; Collie Rooney (0-4 4f), Noel Donaldson (0-2), Jamie Kelly (0-2).
Subs: Tiernan Gonnelly
St Kevins: Conor Callan; Barry Byrne, Iain Wogan, Enda McKenna (0-1); Tomas Gregory, Patrick Duff (0-1), Dylan Maher; Seanie Crosbie (0-2 1f), Andrew Campbell (0-1); Darren McMullan, Karl Martin (0-1), Cian Callan (1-8 3f); Aaron Khan, Patrick Clarke (0-2), Paul Duff.
Referee: Patsy Connolly