Senior Co. Championship Rd 2A: South Kerry 1-15 (18); Austin Stacks 4- 7 (19).
We have reached the quarter final stage of the Co. Championship for the 9th time in the last ten seasons (the only year we missed out was in 2015) with the narrowest of victories in a dry, sunny but breezy Cahersiveen on this Sunday afternoon (9th Sept).
Our opening score came after just two minutes when a quickly taken free by Darragh O’Brien, after a foul on Wayne Guthrie, found the on-running Pa McCarthy who split the posts. Our second point came four minutes later when Darragh’s direct free on this occasion sailed over the bar. Just before that South Kerry were in on goal but a super block-down by Ronan Shanahan saved the day. However, the southerners made amends in the 8th minute when they rattled the net from close range for their opening score. They followed this in the 10th minute with a point from play.
Then in the 15th minute came our first goal of the game when a high ball into Kieran Donaghy was tapped down into the path of Shane O’Callaghan and Calla made no mistake with rasper of a shot. Two quick points from play had the South Kerry boys back in the lead again after 16 minutes.
We, however, had a brilliant second quarter scoring five unanswered points between the 17th and 24th minutes to extend our lead to four points – all those five points came from play and from five different players – Greg Horan, Michael O’Donnell, Star, Pa McCarthy and Darragh O’Brien. The final score of the half came in the 29th minute for the opposition to leave us with a three points lead at the break (1-7 to 1-4).
If somebody had put on a bet at half that the Rock would score no point in the second half they would have won a fortune – because that’s exactly what happened. Or if they said that South Kerry would score eleven times during that second half to just three scores for the Rock and would still come out losers they wouldn’t be believed either. But again that’s exactly what happened. South Kerry put over 11 points during that second half while our tally was three goals – Shane Callaghan in the 33rd minute, Kieran Donaghy in the 37th minute and full back, Conor Jordan with the most vital goal of the game, from our point of view, in the 55th minute. That goal left us four points clear at that stage but we had to endure the last five minutes of normal time and an additional six minutes of extra time during which South Kerry piled on the pressure, scoring three more points during those 11 minutes. But in fairness to our lads they withheld that pressure to come away with a well-deserved victory in the end.
It was good to see two men back in action again after an absence – David Mannix missed the last eight games while Jack Morgan was even out for a longer period and both played exceptionally well when introduced during the second half.
Team: Robbie Murphy, Dylan Casey, Conor Jordan (1-0), Ronan Shanahan, Pa McCarthy (0-2), Jack O’Shea, Ciarán O’Reilly, Michael O’Donnell (0-1), Joseph O’Connor, Greg Horan (0-1), Darragh O’Brien (0-2 – one free), Wayne Guthrie, Ferdia O’Brien, Kieran Donaghy (1-1), Shane O’Callaghan (2-0).
Subs used: Jack Morgan (33m), David Mannix (42m), Shane Carroll (45m), Fiachna Mangan (59m), Shane Guthrie (63m).
With round 3 due to take place on the coming week-end we, along with the other three R2A winners (East Kerry, Legion and Kerins O’Rahillys) have a break until the quarter finals which are provisionally fixed for the last weekend of September. And let us take this opportunity to congratulate our near neighbours on their great come-back on Sunday to defeat the reigning Champions, Dr. Crokes.