O'Connor on song as Ballyfoilmore retain the Jack Murphy Cup
WHILE it was a competitive affair for 40 minutes, there was no denying defending champions St Michaels / Foilmore their fourth South Kerry title in seven years as they retained the Jack Murphy Cup with a much improved second half display.
While they had led by 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time, Dromid Pearses had done a lot to keep themselves in the contest in the first half, making a quick start and having a decent share of possession. However they will look back on a 21 minute period without a score between the 26th and 47th minute as being ultimately where their hopes of winning a second South Kerry title went away from them.
The game was barely 20 seconds old when Dromid Pearses midfielder Tomas Curran fisted the ball over the bar and when Michael Sheehan followed up a second point soon after, the County League Division 3 side looked up for the challenge in Con Keating Park last Sunday.
Their Division 1 opponents would hit five unanswered points to lead by three after 10 minutes, however, their equalising point from Eanna O'Connor after a Damian Kelly pass the pick of that run as St Michaels / Foilmore punished some sloppiness by Dromid in possession.
The former All-Ireland Intermediate Club Champions would have to wait 23 minutes for their next score as the former Munster Junior Club Champions scored the only other two points of the first period.
Both defences were on top in the period up to half-time, so much that a point from Aidan O'Connor in the 19th minute and a well taken '45' by Curran four minutes later were the only other scores before the half-time whistle.
Matters nearly boiled over as the teams went off at half-time but if anything it refocused St Michaels / Foilmore on the task at hand and they went on to wrap up the match in a strong third-quarter period.
They hit 1-5 without reply during this time, Cian and Eanna O'Connor getting the points alongside Bernard Kelly, whose goal in the 37th minute really emphasised their dominance. After winning a Dromid kick-out the ball was worked into to the centre-forward who fisted the ball into the net as his side led by 1-10 to 0-4 with 14 minutes left.
Dylan O'Donoghue and Declan O'Sullivan broke Dromid's scoring drought, but any chance of a grandstand finish were quashed in the 53rd minute when Adrian O'Connell found Eanna O'Connor with a perfect pass and it was a simple finish past Alan Hogan for the St Michaels / Foilmore forward to score their second goal.
He capped a Man-of-the-Match performance with a superb effort from a sideline ball in the last minute of normal time. St Michaels / Foilmore's nine-point winning margin again emphasised their success in the South Kerry district since they finally broke their duck in winning their first title together back in 2007.
St Marys are the only other team to have won the competition in the intervening period and it's a duopoly that looks set to continue for the time being based on the current form of all the other teams down the Iveragh Peninsula.
St Michaels / Foilmore: Jason O'Shea, Colin Granfield, Mark Griffin, Brian Smith (0-1), Alan Smith, Brian Galvin, Adrian O'Connell (0-1), Sean O'Connor, Sean Fogarty, DJ Moran, Bernard Kelly (1-2), Padraig King, Cian O'Connor (0-2), Damian Kelly (0-1), Eanna O'Connor (1-4, 0-2f, 0-1 sideline) Subs: Ronan O'Connor for Moran, Darren O'Sullivan for D Kelly, Sean O'Shea for S O'Connor, Sean O'Sullivan for Granfield and Darragh Scanlon for C O'Connor
Dromid Pearses: Alan Hogan, Donal O'Sullivan, Dominic O'Sullivan, Padraig O'Sullivan, Joseph O Se, Caoimhín O Se, Denis O'Sullivan, Tomas Curran (0-2, 1'45'), Aidan O'Sullivan, Dylan O'Donoghue (0-1), Chris Farley (0-1), Michael Sheehan (0-1), Gearoid O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan (0-2, 1f), Aidan O'Connor (0-1) Subs: Colm O'Connor for A O'Connor, Cian Hallissey for O'Donoghue, Paul Fitzgerald for G O'Sullivan, John O Se for A O'Sullivan and Michael O'Connor for Sheehan
Referee: Peter Lyons (Cromane)