DUHALLOW ground out a deserved win over St Kieran's in the Credit Union U20 Football Invitation Cup opening round played at inclement Knocknagree on Saturday.
Conditions were anything but suitable for the contest, but plaudits to both sets of players for serving up a fine standard of play given the difficult elements that prevailed in the wind and rain. For much of the opening half, the game looked up for grabs yet Duhallow by virtue of grabbing a pair of opportunist goals either side of the interval proceeded to dominate the exchanges and run out comfortable winners.
Duhallow dictated the early stages yet they failed to translate possession into scores. St. Kierans offered more promise, confirmed on a pair of points from both play and a free to Adam Barry. Steadily, Duhallow settled in for a real battle, Daniel Curtin, obliging from a pair of pointed frees prior to a lead point chalked up by Kevin Tarrant.
The game remained neck and neck, St. Kieran's holding their own from the focused play of Michael Brosnan, Mike Hannafin and Robert Shanahan with Barry and Seamus Brosnan ever threatening upfront on shooting prompt points.
Again Duhallow answered, Tarrant and Daniel Cullouty on target to tie up the game for the fourth occasion. However, the deadlock was broken coming up to the break, an element of good fortune to Duhallow's opening goal. A centre from Curtin failed to be cleared by the St. Kieran's defence and substitute Ian Walsh nipped in to net for a 1-5 to 0-5 interval advantage.
Duhallow wasted little time on consolidating their upperhand upon the resumption. Indeed, there was no disputing that Duhallow were now the better side, Michael Vaughan and Curtin, lording the key departments, well supported by Karl Daly and Tarrant. And Duhalllow turned a dominant spell into reward on Gearóid Twomey creating the space for Cullouty to finish with aplomb to the net. Though St. Kieran's attempted a recovery, the goalkeeping dynamics of David Quinlan stymied a brave St. Kierans effort.
Barry pointed and it took a brilliant deflection from Quinlan to deflect a piledriver from Hannafin over the Duhallow crossbar. The host always looked capable of stepping up a gear and they did so through well taken points from Vaughan. Kieran's battled gamely but found the outstanding Quinlan in defiant form between the Duhallow posts, the Kerry district side relying on a lone Barry point to add to their tally.
Scorers DUHALLOW: D Cullouty 1-1, M Vaughan 0-4 (0-1f), I Walsh 1-0, K Tarrant 0-3, D Curtin 0-2f, A O'Connor 0-1 ST. KIERANS: A Barry 0-5 (0-2f), S Brosnan 0-2, M Hannafin 0-1
DUHALLOW: D Quinlan (Newmarket); G O'Connor (Knocknagree), S Daly (do), P Allen (Newmarket); D Twomey (Cullen), T J Brosnan (Newmarket), C Noonan (Lismire); K Tarrant (Lyre), M Vaughan (Mill-
street); M O'Gorman (Boherbue), D Curtin (Rockchapel), G Twomey (Cullen); D O'Keeffe (Dromtariffe), D Cullouty (Newmarket), A Nolan (Cullen) Subs: K Daly (Knocknagree) for Noonan, I Walsh (Kanturk) for Nolan, K Cremin (Boherbue) for O'Keeffe, A O'Connor (Knocknagree) for Brosnan, A O'Keeffe (Kanturk) for O'Gorman ST KIERAN'S: C Kiely (Brosna); D O'Mahony (Scartaglin), M Brosnan (Knocknagoshel), M Lynch (Desmonds); M Hannafin (Currow), B O'Donnell (Ballymac), T O'Connell (Desmonds); R Shanahan (do), D O'Connell (do); J O'Connor (Cordal), M Finnegan (Brosna), S O'Connor (Desmonds); E Murphy (do), A Barry (do), S Brosnan(Currow) Subs: C O'Connor (Desmonds) for D O'Connell, M Walsh (Knocknagoshel) for Shanahan, S Fitzmaurice (Brosna) for T O'Connell REFEREE: E Walsh (Rathmore)