DRIVING ON Westport’s man of the match Killian Kilkelly (centre), Liam Shevlin (left) and Alan Kennedy (back left) are pictured on the victory lap of Westport town on Sunday night. Pic: Conor McKeown
WHAT goes through one’s head when they stand over the biggest kick of their lives — the kick to put your team within touching distance of their first county senior title?
“I just knew I had a job to do. I knew I had to put the ball in the net, simple as that,” Westport’s Killian Kilkelly told The Mayo News on Sunday evening.
Facing former All Star David Clarke between the posts didn’t unnerve the kicker.
Instead, Kilkelly tried to turn it into a battle of wills.
“I tried to give him the eyes. I was constantly looking at the side I was going to put it in, but I was using my other foot to try and make him think I was going to put it in the other corner. He went the right way and got a touch to it but thankfully it went in. When you’re in that situation you’re not thinking of who the goalie is or what he has achieved before. You just want to do your job - take the penalty and score it and he wants to do his job - save it.”
Kilkelly was on few radars for a starting place in the run-up to Sunday’s final.
He had spent the summer playing football in America and had started just one championship game before Sunday. When was he aware that he was would be in from the start?
“I found out last night I was playing and I had a great sleep after that. I was ready. I’m always ready to do whatever is required and it was the same this time. I always prepare as if I’m playing and if I don’t get the nod I know the man on in front of me will do the job.
“Everyone wants to play every game, but I was away for the summer in Boston playing with Christopher’s and when I came back the boys were flying. So it took me a while to get up top speed,” he added before being asked how difficult was it to settle into his first senior final.
“The first free we got was handy enough and I kicked it. It was a nice one to get and it settled me nicely. If it was further out and I missed it I might have missed a few more. The ball began to run for me and I loved it. Everyone dreams of playing on the big day and I’m just so happy. I’ve dreamt of this day all my life and to have the cup here with us is special.
“Dad (Brian) has a few medals from his days with Mitchels and he’ll be so happy to see me coming home with one. It means a lot to the whole family.”