KEANE’S COUNTY MFC SEMI-FINAL
East Kerry 0-15
North Kerry 1-12
(AET, East Kerry win 4-3 on penalties)
AFTER a monumental encounter played in atrocious weather conditions, it took a penalty shoot-out for East Kerry to finally subdue a heroic North Kerry outfit to advance to yet to another County MFC Final at a rain-soaked Austin Stack Park in Tralee this evening.
With both protagonists unable to be separated at full time (0-10 apiece) and at the end of another pulsating 20 minutes of extra-time, the reigning champions were just that bit more clinical from the penalty spot, converting all four of their spot-kicks, with Rory Mahony (over the bar) and substitute Keltyn Molloy (saved) missing for North Kerry.
This game had absolutely everything, and it is testament to the management teams and both groups of players that the contest remained in the melting pot all the way to Brian McCarthy’s superb stop from the final North Kerry penalty. On an occasion like this, between two such evenly-matched outfits, there didn’t deserve to be a loser. But such are the vagaries of knock-out sport.
North Kerry dominated the opening half, with Darragh Conway and Robert Stack in control at midfield, but the county’s newest divisional team didn’t really make their superiority count, only leading by three points, 0-5 to 0-2, at the break.
East Kerry raised their game considerably on the resumption, with the livewire Stephen Palmer unmarkable in attack, and it took two late points from North Kerry top scorer Cormac Dillon to bring the game to extra-time after it ended 0-10 each at the end of regulation.
A brilliant Conway-created goal, expertly finished by Molloy, just 20 seconds into extra-time appeared to give North Kerry the momentum to plough on to victory, but with Timmy Moynihan excellent off the bench, East Kerry notched five of the next six points to take the ascendancy again, 0-15 to 1-11, before goalkeeper Kieran Mackessy kicked an epic equaliser from a 40 metre free to send it to the dreaded shoot-out.
That, like the 80-plus minutes before it, was on a knife-edge too, the rising drama only slightly dampened by the cascading rain. Amid all the tension, it was the champions who kept their nerve that little bit better as they won with four converted spot kicks.
East Kerry will defend their title against Mid Kerry next weekend, after they beat St Kierans by 2-8 to 0-11 in the first of the two semi-finals in Austin Stack Park.
EAST KERRY: Brian McCarthy (Firies); Mike Dennehy (Rathmore) 0-1, Rian Colleran (Fossa), James Williams (Kilcummin); Sean Dineen (Fossa), Dara O’Callaghan (Kilcummin), Dara O’Shea (Kilcummin) 0-1; Darran Ryan (Fossa), Fionn Murphy (Rathmore) 0-1; James Horgan (Firies), Mark O’Shea (Kilcummin) 0-2, Conor Gammell (Legion); Darragh Nagle (Rathmore), Harry Kelly (Fossa) 0-1 (1f), Stephen Palmer (Firies) 0-5.
Subs: Rian O’Neill (Spa) for Dineen (half-time), Sam Benson (Legion) 0-1 (1f) for Gammell (half-time), Timmy Moynihan (Spa) 0-2 for Horgan (40 mins), Padraig Moynihan (Kilcummin) for Nagle (47 mins), Cathal O’Donoghue (Listry) 0-1 for Kelly (70 mins).
NORTH KERRY: Kieran Mackessy (Finuge) 0-2 (2f); Oisin Kennelly (Moyvane), Eddie Healy (Listowel Emmets), Conor Sweeney (Moyvane); Jack O’Keeffe (Moyvane), Adam Segal (Ballyduff), Daragh Carey (Listowel Emmets); Robert Stack (Beale), Darragh Conway (Finuge) 0-1; Jerh Brosnan (Moyvane), Cormac Dillon (Duagh) 0-8 (5f), Jack Sheehy (Ballydonoghue); Darragh Foley (Tarbert) 0-1, Rory Mahony (St Senan’s), Jack Sheehan (Tarbert).
Subs: Keltyn Molloy (Finuge) 1-0 for Sheehy (40 mins), Rian Quinn (Moyvane) for Sheehan (43 mins), Robbie Foley (Ballydonoghue) for D Foley (48 mins), Tony Boland (Listowel Emmets) for O’Keeffe (58 mins), Patrick O’Connor (Moyvane) for Segal, injured (69 mins), Jamie Moloney (Moyvane) for Quinn (76 mins), Cathal McElligott (St Senan’s) for Brosnan (80 mins).
REFEREE: Maurice Murphy (St Michael’s/Foilmore)