Davitts return to senior football looked like a winning return for most of this exciting league game in Ballindine on Saturday evening. The home side started brightly with points from Josh Ronayne, Michael Conroy and Aidan McTigue in the first five minutes. Knockmore replied through Alan Loftus (2) and Aidan Kilcoyne to level the game before Davitts assumed complete control for the remainder of the first half.
Ronan McNamara and Keith Prendergast began to lord the midfield exchanges and some superb points by McTigue, Prendergast, Ronayne, Fergal McGrath and Conroy had the home side ahead by 0-8 to 0-3 at half time and but for some terrible shooting, this lead would have been much greater.
Conroy had a great chance to goal in the 17th minute but Knockmore custodian Aidan Higgins pulled off a brilliant save to deny the county star, who was winning lots of ball inside together with McTigue and McGrath.
Knockmore, realising they were in big trouble, made a number of positional switches at the start of the second half, and the introduction of subs Stephen Sweeney and Brian Gibbons also had a telling effect on the outcome. Keith Ruttledge pointed in the first minute and a brace from Kilcoyne left just two points in it before Conroy pointed in the 10th minute. Kilcoyne and midfielder Kieran Langan narrowed the margin to a point with twelve minutes normal time remaining.
Both sides were guilty of some bad misses before Ruttledge levelled the game in the 28th minute. Davitts surged forward and were rewarded a free in, converted by Conroy, in the second minute of stoppage time, after Fergal McGrath was fouled. Knockmore began to display their never say die attitude and Davitts, probably showing their lack of experience at this level, conceded a free, duly converted by Kilcoyne in the 34th minute.
While everyone in the crowd were agreeing that the draw was probably the fairest outcome, referee Declan Corcoran wasn’t finished yet and as play continued, he awarded Knockmore, what appeared to be an extremely soft free, infuriating everyone from Davitts, which Kilcoyne gleefully tapped over to give Knockmore the win.
Knockmore will be delighted to have snatched the points and their best players were Aidan Higgins, Shane McHale, Kevin McLoughlin, Kieran Langan, Stephen Sweeney, Brian Gibbons, Alan Loftus, Keith Ruttledge and Aidan Kilcoyne.
Davitts will be wondering how they managed to lose but Michael Waldron, Kevin Gallagher, Colm Boyle, Alan Roche, Ronan McNamara, Keith Prendergast, Paul Carey, Josh Ronayne, Aidan McTigue and Fergal McGrath can be happy with their displays.
Knockmore: Aidan Higgins, Jason Clarke, Shane McHale, Gerry Higgins, Andrew Keane, Declan Sweeney, Kevin McLoughlin, Diarmuid Walsh, Kieran Langan, (0-1), Alan Loftus (0-2, 1f), Brian Ruttledge, Justin Rice, Keith Ruttledge (0-2), James Ruddy, Aidan Kilcoyne (0-6, 5f). Subs used: Brian Gibbons, Stephen Sweeney.
Davitts: Mark Diskin, Colm Roche, Michael Waldron, Kevin Gallagher, Colm Boyle, Alan Roche, James Cummins, Keith Prendergast (0-1), Ronan McNamara, Paul Carey, Josh Ronayne (0-2, 1f), Liam Kearns, Aidan McTigue (0-2), Fergal McGrath (0-1), Michael Conroy (0-4, 1f). Subs used: Carlos O Gara, David McDonagh.
Referee: Declan Corcoran.