Kenmare show mettle
County Club SFC semi-final: Kenmare 3-12 Legion 1-13
For anyone who doubted Kenmare's ability to last beyond one year as a senior club this is quite the turn of events!
Not only have their secured a second year at senior they have also now secured a place in a Senior Club final after surprising their County Championship opponents Legion with a five point success in Fitzgerald Stadium last Sunday.
They were full value for their win as well without the services of Paul O'Connor as Seán O'Shea gave the Legion defence a torrid afternoon from start-to-finish.
The visitors' intent was signalled within the opening minute as O'Shea blasted a goal chance wide and he would have the first four scoring opportunities of the game before finally opening the scoring in the fourth minute.
Finbarr Murphy converted a '45 for Legion's first score and the same player forced a decent save from Kieran Fitzgibbon in looking for a goal soon after.
However, three consecutive scores from Donal Lyne, Conor Keane and James O'Donoghue had Legion 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after 18 minutes.
Two minutes later saw Kenmare's first goal though as Dara Crowley did brilliantly to keep the ball in play first and foremost before finding Micheál McCarthy who passed the ball to Dean Cassidy for a good finish.
A second goal for the Munster Intermediate Champions came in the 28th minute as Cassidy was the provider on this occasion, intercepting a Brian Kelly kick-out and laying off to Stephen O'Brien for the green flag as Kenmare's lead at half-time stood at 2-4 to 0-7.
Seán O'Leary had nearly given the perfect ball into Brian O'Sullivan for another in the first period, but Legion found themselves level four minutes in the second period. James O'Donoghue was involved in the build-up as Denis Sheahan finished from close range to level the scores at 2-5 to 1-8. Their opponents response to this setback was telling, however, as they hit four consecutive points to stay in front of proceedings.
Kenmare's lead was 2-10 to 1-9 on the three-quarter mark, but Legion did halve the deficit to leave the game delicately poised at 2-11 to 1-12 in the 53rd minute after a point from substitute Jamie O'Sullivan.
It looked perilous for Kenmare two minutes later when team captain Kevin O'Sullivan was given a second yellow card and they would have to finish the game with 14 men.
They weren't for panicking, however, as O'Shea showed a great piece of skill to get past the Legion defence and also a cool head for the finish past Kelly in ensuring they would prevail.
In total O'Shea hit 1-7 as despite six points from James O'Donoghue, Legion only had one high and hopeful ball into the Kenmare area in injury time which was comfortably dealt with.
When the time comes to play Dr Crokes in the decider it will be Kenmare's third Club Final in six years to go with their appearances in the Junior and Intermediate deciders.
They will be rank outsiders but they do seem to be thriving in the lack of expectancy about their chances at this level. They won't have too much time to savour such a success of course with a return trip to Killarney this Sunday and the same opposition albeit this time in Direen.
You can rest assured Legion will be smarting from this defeat especially after the promise generated by their win over Dingle the previous week.
Sunday offers them the opportunity to make amends however with the County Championship bringing both sides together again for an interesting renewal.
Kenmare: Kieran Fitzgibbon, Denis Cronin, Dara O'Shea, Dara Crowley (0-1), Aidan Crowley, Shane O'Sullivan, Sean O'Leary, Kevin O'Sullivan, David Hallissey (0-1), Stephen O'Brien (1-3), Donal O'Connor, Sean O'Shea (1-7, 5f), Dean Cassidy (1-0), Micheál McCarthy, Brian O'Sullivan Subs: Kevin Price for Brian O'Sullivan, Gavin O'Shea for Cassidy and Brian Clifford for Crowley
Legion: Brian Kelly, Cathal Sheehan, Danny Sheahan, Chris Davies, Darragh O'Doherty, Denis Sheahan (1-0), Jonathon Lyne, Shaun Keane, Billy Maguire, Rob Leen (0-1), Conor Culloty, Donal Lyne (0-1), James O'Donoghue (0-6, 2f), Conor Keane (0-3, 2f), Finbarr Murphy (0-1, 1 '45') Subs: Alan Moriarty for Donal Lyne and Jamie O'Sullivan (0-1) for Murphy
Referee: Denis Sayers (Austin Stacks)