County IFC semi-final
A timely third quarter goal from Kieran Dennehy and a man of the match performance from Liam Carey were central to Beaufort accounting for Rathmore in this second county intermediate football championship semi-final to book their place in the yet to be scheduled final against Na Gaeil.
For a short spell following Chrissy Spiers goal after his penalty kick was well saved by Sean Coffey, Rathmore assumed control on the scoreboard and looked as if they might have the goods to reach the club’s first intermediate final since 1999 – which they won to go senior for the next 20 years. They led 1-4 to 0-5 at half time, but by the second water break Beaufort had wrestled back control, winning he third quarter by 1-4 to 0-3, and they never looked in trouble in the fourth quarter as Rathmore’s challenge petered out.
Rathmore started the game on the front foot, with plenty of possession and forward momentum, but inside the first two minutes they had kicked three wides, and that lack of conviction in front of the goal would betray them throughout. They did kick the first score through Paul Murphy, but Beaufort were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead at the water break, with Dennehy, Mike Breen and Carey on target from play.
A Jack O’Connor free put the Mid Kerry club three ahead in the 19th minute before a wayward pass from a Beaufort defender was seized upon by Mark Reen who ran in and slipped the ball to the net past Coffey. However, referee Seamus Mulvihill saw a foul, awarded a penalty and black carded Beaufort full back Sean Kelliher.
Spiers’ low shot was well stopped by Coffey but the Rathmore forward was able to get to the parried shot and poke it to the goal at the second time of asking to level the score, 1-2 to 0-5.
Two late Mark Reen frees had the East Kerry club 1-4 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Ronan Murphy – who showed fine leadership throughout at midfield – and Carey kicked early second half points to level the score, and then Dennehy made a fine driving run in near the endline and smashed his shot beyond Kenneth O’Keeffe to make it 1-7 to 1-4 and shift the momentum back Beaufort’s way.
At the second water break Beaufort were 1-9 to 1-7 ahead, and there was more about them overall, with the Breen brothers, Murphy and Fergal Hallissey controlling matters around the middle of the field, and Carey, Dennehy and Jack O’Connor providing the outlets in the forward line.
Beaufort lost Carey to injury in the 51st minute, when they were four points ahead, but it didn’t unnerve them. Brendan O’Keeffe converted a free for Rathmore, but with Aidan O’Mahony and Spiers gone off at the stage Rathmore lacked for a focal point in attack, and the former will be disappointed with a couple of poor misses in the first half.
In the end Beaufort were cruising, Jack O’Connor converting a ‘45’ and scoring from play, and Hallissey knocking over his third free as the recently beaten 2020 IFC finalists earned themselves a second final appearance in what will be just a couple of months.
Beaufort lost that 2020 final to Spa in mid-September; they will have another chance to get their hands on the title when they face Na Gaeil in a repeat of the 2018 Premier Junior Championship final, which Beaufort won by 4-13 to 2-18 after extra-time.
Would it be too much to hope for a similar classic when the clubs meet again in this IFC final whenever it goes ahead?
BEAUFORT: Sean Coffey, Ger Hartnett, Sean Kelliher, Kieran O’Sullivan, Ethan Coffey, Mike Breen 0-1, Nathan Breen, Fdergal Hallissey 0-3 (all frees), Ronan Murphy 0-2, Sean O’Brien, Liam Carey 0-4, Ciaran Kennedy, Padraig Doona, Jack O’Connor 0-4 (2f, 1 ‘45’), Kieran Dennehy 1-2. Subs: Danny Healy for P Doona (45), Mark Neary for L Carey (inj, 52)
RATHMORE: Kenneth O’Keeffe, Dan Murphy, Alan Dineen, Colm Kelly, Darragh Rahilly 0-1, Cathal Murphy, Thomas Houlihan, Mark Ryan, Brendan O’Keeffe 0-1 (f), Mark Reen 0-3 (2f), John Moynihan, Paul Murphy 0-2, Chrissy Spiers 1-2 (1-0 pen, 2f), Aidan O’Mahony, Brian Friel. Subs: Donal O’Sullivan for B Friel (ht), Cillian O’Connor for T Houlihan (ht), Cathal Ryan 0-1 for A O’Mahony (40), David Dineen for C Spiers (47), Mike Joe Kelliher for M Reen (58).
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (St Senans)