Late Paul Dillon point secures a point as Harps hold Kildress in Gortacladdy

Philip Lennon on the ball for Kildress
Philip Lennon on the ball for Kildress

An injury time point from Paul Dillon helped secure Stewartstown a well deserved point away in Kildress as they halted a worrying slide.

The Harps had suffered a number of heavy defeats since exiting the championship but they showed commendable spirit to take a point from the high flying Wolfe Tones.

Gareth Devlin turns at pace from Kildress's Niall Quinn as he tries to hang onto him. INTT3713-710DCA

Gareth Devlin turns at pace from Kildress's Niall Quinn as he tries to hang onto him. INTT3713-710DCA

Played in dire conditions at a windswept Gortacladdy, the visitors took the lead, corner forward Gareth Devlin getting on the end of a well worked team move to fire over.

The Harps talisman could have added to his total a couple of minutes later but missed with a free kick from 35 metres.

Playing with the aid of the wind in the opening half Kildress finally opened their account in the eighth minute with Matthew Heagney the man on target.

A couple of moments later and the Wolfe Tones led by three, as Frank McGurk and Philip Lennon linked up allowing Lennon to shoot past a helpless Johnny Campbell.

Stewartstown to their credit dug deep and got themselves back into the game with another well worked team move this time Blake Smyth and Eddie Laverty linked to allow corner back Niall Donnelly to slot between the uprights.

Kildress responded in the 15th minute with veteran Des Treacy shooting over from just outside the 45 when given time and space by Stewartstown.

From the kickout Stewartstown got themselves back on level terms. A fine run and shot from Niall Dillon drew a brilliant save from Gerard Grimes however the rebound found Maculey Quinn and the county minor made no mistake from a matter of feet.

Gareth Devlin added a free to give his side the lead but Frank McGurk made sure that lead didn’t last too long with a quick response a couple of minutes later, turning neatly and shooting over with his left foot.

Tiarnan Rushe and Martin Grimes exchanged scores as the first half came to a conclusion with the sides all square at 1-4.

Kildress started the better in the second half and contrilled the opening exchanges.

Gerard Grimes in the Wolfe Tones goal helped to set the tempo for his side with his quick kickouts constantly setting Kildress on the front foot.

Frank McGurk opened the scoring for Kildress in the opening minute of the second half with a straight forward free before Philip Lennon scored for his side.

Gareth Devlin was operating in a withdrawn role for the Harp as they tried to get him on the ball.

He got an important score from the sideline for Stewartstown in the 34th minute just as Kildress threatened to pull away.

Two minutes later and the Harps were in the lead. After some hesitation in the Wolfe Tones midfield Niall Donnelly nipped in to win a kickout for Stewartstown.

Donnelly found Gareth Devlin 45 metres from goal. Devlin’s shot-come-pass caused confusion in the Kildress defence as Stewartstown attackers Cathal Devlin and Dan Lowe went for the ball only to miss it.

The distraction offered by the Harps players however, was enough to cause mayhem in the Kildress defence and the ball missed everyone nestling in Gerard Grimes’s net.

Jonathan Connolly and Lennon scored for Kildress to bring the sides level once again but a Gareth Devlin free and an excellent Dan Lowe point saw Stewartstown respond.

Veteran Frank McGurk was posing real problems for Stewartstown and he added another from play before youngster Conal Heagney pointed to bring the sides on terms with nine minutes remaining.

McGurk looked to have won the game for his side with a free in the 57th minute but Stewartstown dug deep and a smartly taken 45 from Gareth Devlin allowed Paul Dillon to slot over the equaliser with the final play of the game.

A mention must go to Tattyreagh referee Mark Taggart who handled the game played in difficult conditions very well.

Kildress: Gerard Grimes, Niall Quinn, Dean McNally, Peter Hagan, Philip McKenna, Martin Grimes, Conal Heagney, Dessie Treacy, Matthew Heagney, Damian Kelly, Philip Lennon, Jonathan Connolly, Frank McGurk, Eoin Brannigan, Colum Loughran

Subs: Darren Loughran for C Loughran, Aaron Loughran for M Heagney.

Scorers: Philip Lennon 1-2, Frank McGurk 0-4, Matthew Heagney 0-1, Martin Grimes 0-1, Conal Heagney 0-1, Des Treacy 0-1, Jonathan Connolly 0-1.

Stewartstown: Johnny Campbell, Niall Donnelly, Darren Devlin, Jason Park, Niall Dillon, Blake Smith, Ryan O’Neill, Eddie Laverty, Kevin Park, Connor Quinn, Maculey Quinn, Tiarnan Rushe, Gareth Devlin, Cathal Devlin, Paul Dillon.

Subs: Dan Lowe for Rushe, Tony Donnelly for J Park, Mark Sonner for N Dillon, Peter Armour for Quinn, Owen Coyle for C Devlin.

Scorers: Gareth Devlin 1-4, Maculey Quinn 1-0, Niall Donnelly 0-1, Paul Dillon 0-1, Dan Lowe 0-1, Tiarnan Rushe 0-1.