PATIENCE and honest graft won out for Na Martra on wearing down Kildorrery in a highly entertaining County Intermediate Football Championship opening round at Kilbrin on last Saturday evening.
The contest was always going to be a close affair and two evenly matched sides were level six times. But when the big questions were asked, it was Cill na Martra who stood up to be counted. With the game on a knife edge, the Gaeltacht boys utilised their greater degree of possession to swing the outcome. Favoured by the breeze in the opening half, Kildorrery drew encouragement from a Peter O'Brien lead point. Those early minutes were frantic, the busy Kevin O'Sullivan helping to tie up matters for Cill na Martra.
Thereafter, the game lacked sparkle with both defences enjoying a spell of dominance. However Cill na Martra received a timely boost in the 15th minute, midfielder Seán Kelleher feeding Danny O'Connell to pull and his effort from close range cannoned off the underside of the crossbar into the net for a 1-2 to 0-2 advantage.
Kildorrery attempted a recovery and the Western Muskerry outfit were thankful to a fine block by custodian Eoin Dineen from Dave Kelly. A more enterprising Cill na Martra added to their tally from white flags raised by Martin O'Connor and Michael Dineen. After passing up a number of chances, Kildorrery dug their heels in a timely recovery. Central to their improvement was the key input of the O'Brien brothers, Andrew and Peter along with Michael Walsh and Eamon O'Connor.
And their hopes brightened in the 24th minute Cill na Martra 'keeper Dineen producing a brilliant stop from David White, but the perfectly positioned Kelly was on hand to goal from the rebound. That score lifted Kildorrery, quick fire points to Kelly, White and Andrew O'Brien squared the game 1-5 each at the interval.
And on the restart, the sides were content to trade points. Crucially at the three quarter stage, Cill na Martra's appetite for hard work increased, spearheaded by the key contributions of Noel O'Leary and Tim Dineen in defence along with Kelleher and Charlie McSweeney strong at midfield.
Powering forward, the Gaeltacht side fluffed gilt edged chances yet their dominance told from points to Kevin Hoare, Darragh McLoughlin and Dineen. Kildorrery did answer from O'Brien yet their attempts for an equalising goal were shut out by a competent Cill na Martra rearguard.
Victory sets up Cill na Martra a place in round 4 into the summer while Kildorrery must avail of a back door encounter against Mayfield in round 2 to revive their fortunes.
CILL NA MARTRA: E Ó Duinnín; T Mac Suibhne; C Ó Laoire, M Ó Goillí; A Ó Mocháin, N Ó Laoire, T Ó Duinnín; C Mac Suibhne, S Ó Ceallachair 0-1; C Ó hUidhir 0-1, C Ó Suilleabháin 0-2(0-1f), M Ó Conchúir 0-4 (0-3f); D MacLochlainn 0-1, M Ó Duinnín 0-2, D Ó Conaill 1-0
KILDORRERY: D Roche; S Kelly, R McEniry, T P Murphy; C Baoil, M Walsh, E O'Connor; A O'Brien 0-4(0-3f), S Fitzgerald; D White (0-1), P O'Brien (0-1), F Stapleton; J McEniry, D Kelly 1-2(0-1f), J O'Sullivan Subs: D McCarthy for O'Baoil (41), F Daly for Stapleton (53)
Referee: D Carroll (Kanturk)