DID St Brendans deserve this victory? Absolutely. WIll South Kerry be left wondering where the hell it all went wrong from them? Again, absolutely.
For the majority of this match South Kerry were on top. Even then there was a sneaking suspicion that St Brendans would have what it takes to sqeak through – yet the manner in which this game progressed never failed to surprise. More so in the second half than the first to be fair. South Kerry, unsurprisingly, made the first half running with the breeze at their backs. Eoghan O'Sullivan was first off the mark for the Iveragh men before Cillian Fitzgerald struck back with two from play for Brendans.
After a slow start to the game the decisive moment of the first half came after quarter of an hour with Conor O'Leary finding the back of Kevin Hanafin's get – Sean O'Sullivan providing the wing-back with the assist. Darragh Carmody did reply with a free straight after, but from then until the end of the half it was all South Kerry. Points from Dara O'Sullivan (two)and the impressive Denis Daly from midfield gave them a respectable four point lead a t the break.
Respectable but by no means insurmountable. This South Kerry side are made of stern stuff it would seem. Against the breeze they remained competitive. They were competitive before Cillian Fitzgerald's goal and they were competitive after. St Brendans, despite Jack Barry coming more into the game and despite the leathal touch of Fitzgerald, remained second best. Daly remained the dominant figure at midfield, while at the back Fionan Clifford and Robert Wharton were steadfast in their resistance.
South Kerry remained strong despite having their half-time lead erased after just three minutes of the second half. They were still in the lead, but only just. That they maintained that lead up until the 54th minute of the second half is a credit of their resilience. The fact they lost it is due to their profligacy in front of the posts. They hit an unacceptable amount of wides. There's no other way of putting it.
St Brendans on the other hand made excellent use of nearly all the chances that came their way. Largely thanks to FItzgerald who finished the game with 1-3 from play in backets after his name. Darragh Carmody was coolness personified with his four points from placed balls, while Brendan Savage really came into his own going down the home straight. His point on the 41st minute from wide on the right was a thing of beauty.
For all of South Kerry's resilience the fact remains they were outscored six points to none in the final fifteen minutes of the game. Breeze or no breeze that's not good enough. St Brendans will need to up their game somewhat for the final, but with guys like Fitzgerald, Carmody, Barry and Daniel Collins (who is on for a minor championship double as he plays for Kilmoyley in next month's minor hurling final) they could well do the business in the final. ST BRENDANS: Kevin Hanafin (Ardfert), Fionan Horgan (Ardfert), Paul McMahon (St Pats), Conor Moore (St Pats), David Moynihan (Na Gaeil), Daniel Collins (Ardfert), Colin Kirby (Ardfert), Jack Barry (Na Gaeil), Kevin Shanahan (Ardfert), Paudie Carroll (Ardfert), Cillian Fitzgerald (1-3) (Churchill), Eoin Courtney (Ardfert), Darragh Carmody (0-4f) (Na Gaeil), Andrew Byrne (St Pats), Brendan Savage (0-2) (St Pats). Subs: Andrew Barry (0-1) (Na Gaeil) for C Kirby, Darragh Sheehy (Na Gaeil) for E Courtney SOUTH KERRY: Padraig O'Sullivan (Skellig Rangers), Fionan Clifford (Waterville), Ronan O'Shea (Skellig Rangers), Brian Sugrue (Renard), Conor O'Leary (1-0) (Renard), Kevin Curran (Renard), Robert Wharton (Renard), Denis Daly (0-1) (St Marys), Oran Mahony (Waterville), Conor O'Shea (01) (St Marys), Dara O'Sullivan (0-2, 1f) (St Michaels / Foilmore), Morgan O'Donoghue (0-2) (Sneem / Derrynane), Sean O'Sullivan (St Mls / Foilmore), Eoghan O'Sullivan (0-1) (Waterville), Darren O'Sullivan (St Mls / Foilmore) Subs: Sam O'Dwyer (Waterville) for S O'Sullivan, Dara Scanlon (St Michaels / Foilmore) for O Mahony
REFEREE: Mike Brosnan (Spa)