UMBRO OSCAR TAYNOR CUP
Kerry District League 1 Defence Forces 2
A LACK of discipline and some poor refereeing cost Kerry dearly at Mounthawk Park on Thursday evening when they were forced to play the final half an hour of the game with just nine players after two dismissals which now leaves their Oscar Traynor Cup prospects in a precarious position.
It was an evening steeped in controversy with Kerry very unhappy with some of the referee'es decisions expecially the denial of a penalty in the first half when Con Barrett was brought down in the box. However, in the final analysis it was an evening when Kerry just could not stick the pace with the visiting side in the opening half and they paid the price of their shortcomings at the end. The visitors looked the quicker and sharper side from the very outset and they gave the Kerry defence a torrid time in the opening half hour.
Kerry had no answer for the speed, craft and trickery of Gerry Walsh at midfield who was the provider for Aidan Friel who was involved in every attack. The Defence Forces had eight corners in the opening half to Kerry's one and that showed the possession stakes clearly. The visitors had a few early chances with Stephen Bartlett required to make two saves to deny Gerry Walsh and Richard Crowe while Walsh should have scored in the 10th minute but he headed a Stephen Fisher corner wide from six yards with the goals at his mercy.
However, Kerry were up in arms in the 20th minute when they seemed to be denied a stone wall penalty. A superb ball from the left flank by Scott Monaghan put Con Barrett through on goals and he was brought down by Thomas Culhane but the referee was not interested. Gradually Kerry began to settle into the game and distribute the ball around to good effect. They almost equalised in the 35th minute when Con Barrett knocked down a Gary Keane corner kick and Maurice O'Rahilly effort was taken off the line by Thomas Culhane.
However, just a minute from the break a swift move by the Defence Forces put the Kerry defence under pressure and when Jonathan Burrows handled the ball in the box the referee pointed to the spot. Stephen Fisher put the penalty away in clinical fashion. This was a sucker punch for Kerry right on the stroke of half-time, but they were only a goal down and had everything to play for in the second half.
Five minutes in they created a good chance with a Maurice O'Rahilly free kick was knocked down by Con Barrett to Bryan Murphy who turned delightfully to get a shot in but with defenders in close attention his effort was wide. Shortly afterwards Con Barrett capitalised on a weak back pass to the goalie when he won the race jinked delightfully past him but his shot on goal was taken off the line by Thomas Culhane.
However, the horror story then unforlded when a late tackle by Jonathan Burrows led to a second yellow card and he was sent off. Four minutes later Brian Spillane got a straight red card when he needlessly took out his own retribution after being fouled.
On the hour mark Kerry gifted the visitors their second goal when a long ball into the goalmouth was let go by Stephen Bartlett and it came off the undeside of the crossbar and when the ball broke out Peter McCarthy brought down Richard Crowe for another penalty. Thomas Fitzgibbon took this one and made no mistake. To their credit Kerry battled gamely and with subs introduced they tried to pull one back.
They got a lifeline in the 82th minute when a great ball by Fergal Maunsell was dropped by the Defence Forces goalie Brian Sweeney and Peter McCarthy following up was taken down leading to a penalty. McCarthy himself took it and made no mistake. Kerry had one late chance from a free kick in which Peter McCarthy tried to set up Con Barrett but the kick was not accurate enough.
This defeat puts pressure on Kerry going into the last game in the group away to Cork AUL, but their fate will still be in their own hands but it may require a win if they are to advance to the knockout stages of the competition and on Cork soil that will be very difficult to attain on Cork soil. KERRY: Stephen Bartlett, Jonathan Burrows, David Hayes, Brian Spillane, Maurice O'Rahilly, Scott Monaghan, Stephen Hayes, Bryan Murphy, Gary Keane, Peter McCarthy, Con Barrett Subs: Fergal Maunsell for Stephen Hayes, Donnacha Higgins for Gary Keane and Sean Foley for Bryan Murphy DEFENCE FORCES: Brian Sweeney, Raymond Mc Gann, James Kelly, Scott Delaney, Thomas Culhane, Gerry Walsh, Stephen Fisher, Ian Cleary, Thomas Fitzgibbon, Richard Crowe and Aidan Friel Subs: Eddie Heavey for James Kelly, Adam Corboy REFEREE: Ken Hennessy (Cork)