A.U.L. 2A – Millstreet Celtic 4 Killowen 0 (Thursday 26th August)
Killowen’s first away fixture of the campaign ended in defeat as costly errors in the second period contributed to Millstreet’s victory. Despite a promising first half showing, Killowen faded badly in the final quarter, as Millstreet’s superior fitness and teamwork prevented any notions of a Killowen comeback. The Killowen line up featured new signing Jason Mc Carthy in midfield with experienced ‘keeper Eamonn Murphy resuming in goal. Millstreet opened with a number of long range efforts that didn’t trouble Murphy whereas Killowen’s main source of attack stemmed from Pa Bermingham’s excursions down the left wing. Millstreet had a goal disallowed for pushing in the area before Owen Braun set up Declan O’ Brien after 27 minutes but his effort was blocked. Debutant Mc Carthy tried his luck from long distance after 32 minutes, however, his powerful shot was straight at the opposing ‘keeper. The home side looked dangerous in attack as Killowen survived a scare before the interval, John Mc Donnell intervening to divert a goal bound shot to safety.
The width of the crossbar prevented Killowen from taking the lead in the 49th minute, O’ Brien’s superb free kick struck the woodwork as the lurking Dave Lynch was inches away from converting the rebound. The home side survived and struck for the opening goal three minutes later, a quick throw caught Killowen napping as the Millstreet centre forward burst past the covering defenders to finish with a low shot past the exposed Murphy. Moments later a powerful header was superbly tipped over by Murphy, but he was beaten again on the hour mark, a dreadful error in the heart of defence was punished with a clinical finish. Millstreet were also prone to the occasional lapse at the back, the home keeper did well to block a sliced clearance after Killowen had made headway up the right wing. However, it was his opposite number who was by far the busier. Millstreet were denied again by Murphy after 65 minutes, he showed great agility to palm a close range header away to safety. Millstreet’s ability to break at pace led to their third goal after 70 minutes. Killowen failed to make proper use of a free kick inside the oppositions half and were shorthanded as Millstreet advanced quickly to set up an opportunity that was converted from inside the area. The hardworking Braun had a header saved in the closing minutes before more sloppy defending from Killowen was punished with a fourth goal on the stroke of full time.