COUNTY SFC ROUND THREE
THE threadbare adage is that goals win games. Well, never was that old chestnut as true as at Kilcummin on Saturday evening as Dingle plundered five to see off a spirited challenge from the home side to book their place in the last eight of this year's Senior Football Championship. The final scoreline says it all – Kilcummin got 11 scores, Dingle just 10, however five of those were goals. QED.
To a certain extent Dingle were fortunate on Saturday night. They played second fiddle to a spirited home side for the opening period of this strange encounter yet only found themselves in arrears by a single point at the break, 0-8 to 2-1. Their fortune was due, in no small part, to full forward Billy O'Connor's eye for goals – he got three. His first kept Dingle in with a fighting chance in this tie; his second completely changed the mindsets of the teams as they headed for the half-time break, while his third nudged Dingle into a commanding lead and extinguished Kilcummin's challenge.
The eventual winners, apart from O'Connor's goals, had a first half that they would rather forget. Their shooting for points was in a word, awful. Time and time again, Dingle player's shot selection was poor and they clocked up a huge amount of wides. Kilcummin, on the other hand, were far and away more economical and they deserve credit for the way in which they brought the game to their opponents in that first period.
Mike McCarthy ranged all over the pitch and his intelligent use of possession had Dingle on the backfoot. In midfield, Kevin Gorman and Shane McSweeney competed well, while in attack, Kevin McCarthy, Gary O'Leary and ace freetaker DJ Fleming kept the Dingle defence on their toes. Dingle took the lead after just five minutes when Paul Geaney tapped over a close-in free, but once Kilcummin equalised less than a minute later, it took until the fourth minute of the second half for the Corca Dhuibhne side to get their noses in front again.
Kilcummin's leveller came courtesy of DJ Fleming and his side edged in front through a Shane McSweeney effort two minutes later. Fleming increased Kilcummin's advantage to 0-3 to 0-1 in the 12th minute, before hat-trick hero Billy O'Connor struck for his first goal. In a pattern that repeated itself later in the game, Kilcummin's goalkeeper and defence hesitated as a long ball was floated in to their square; O'Connor took advantage of their hesitancy to palm the ball to the net. 0-4 to 1-1 after 15 minutes.
The goal was a setback for Kilcummin, however undaunted they set about restoring their advantage. Shane McSweeney's midfield partner, Kevin Gorman, slotted over the home side's fourth point in the 21st. Dingle's cause at this stage was not helped by the sending off of defender Paul Devane in the 17th minute for his part in an off- the- ball tussle with Kilcummin's John Devane.
Sensing blood, Kilcummin went for the jugular and they racked up a further four points in the first half – Daniel O'Leary, DJ Fleming, Mike McCarthy and Brendan Kealy from a 45 all obliging. Kilcummin had their tails up as halftime approached.
They lead 0-8 to 1-1 and were good value for it. Up popped O'Connor again, and in a carbon copy of his first goal, he palmed the ball to the net from a Paul Geaney delivery.
The second half was, for the most part one-way traffic, and it all headed towards Kilcummin's goal. Buoyed by their good fortune, Dingle set about winning this game in earnest. In a 10 minute spell after half-time, they scored 2-3 and finished the game as a contest. Points from Paul Geaney, Colm Moriarty, O'Connor's third goal and a further three-pointer from Geaney saw Dingle lead 43 to 0-8 after 40 minutes.
Kilcummin did rally and scored three further points, however a Paul Geaney point followed by a fabulous Mark Evans goal put the gloss on an eventually comfortable Dingle win. DINGLE: Sean O'Flaherty; Tomas B Brosnan, Jason Murphy, Gavin Curran; Paul Devane, Adrian Devane, Sean B Brosnan; Colm B Moriarty (0-1), Darragh O'Sullivan; Micheal Slattery, Micheal Geaney, Joe Sheehy; Paul Geaney (1-4, 01 free), Billy O'Connor (3-0), David Geaney Subs: Brendan Kelliher (capt) for M Slattery (ht), Mark Evans (1-0) for M Geaney (56), Brian Devane for J Sheehy (56) KILCUMMIN: Brendan Kealy (0-1 45); Sean Brosnan, Kevin McSweeney, James Devane, Damien O'Leary, Tommy Brosnan, Chris O'Leary; Shane McSweeney (0-1), Kevin Gorman (0-1); John Devane, Michael McCarthy (0-1), Daniel O'Leary (01); Kevin McCarthy (0-1), Gary O'Leary, DJ Fleming (0-5, 0-4 frees) Subs: Ian Devane for Daniel O'Leary (40), Kieran Murphy for J Devane (48), John McCarthy for James Devane (56), John O'Keeffe for G O'Leary (58), Ritchie O'Connor for K Gorman (59) REFEREE: Pat Sheehy (Clounmacon)