It may not have been pretty, in fact it was fairly ugly, but determined Feale Rangers will not complain after bridging a long gap to win the Kerry championship for the first time since 1980 at Austin Stack Park.
In doing so, they managed to stop an all-star South Kerry outfit who were attempting to become the first Divisional side in the Kingdom to win a four titles in-a-row.
It was yet another shock in a year of upsets as the great Maurice Fitzgerald was summoned from the bench with 10 minutes left, but the man who hasn't played since last year's final just could not perform the Houdini act.
Instead it was the other Fitz -- Eamon Fitzmaurice -- back only a week from his honeymoon, who kicked the winning point minutes from time and so Feale Rangers had denied South Kerry that coveted four in a row.
Fitzmaurice, along with four of his team-mates including Paul Galvin, thus completed a hurling and football double in the one year -- with Galvin becoming the first Kerry player to complete that double as well as an All-Ireland Senior Football medal with Kerry, since Johnny Culloty back in 1969.
It was a game that had so many fascinating duels and connotations. Eamon Fitzmaurice marked Declan O'Sullivan, Killian Young went head to head with Paul Galvin while Bryan Sheehan was shadowed by Brendan Guiney. Also on the line were the Kerry captaincy for 2008 and a certain tilt at the three in a row.
As things transpired the north Kerry team Feale Rangers totally dominated their southern rivals in the first half. They managed to keep six of the best forwards seen anywhere in club football scoreless for the entire game and when you throw in a brief cameo appearance by the legendary Maurice Fitzgerald, it really shows the quality of the Feale Rangers defence, with corner back Kieran Quirke giving a man-of-the-match display.
Feale Rangers made a perfect start to the game. Ronan Hussey tapped over an early free for South Kerry but this was quickly cancelled out by Noel Kennelly.
The vital score of the game came in the eighth minute
Paul Galvin played in a beautiful diagonal ball which Anthony Maher managed to flick into the path of Brian Scanlon, who made no mistake with a superb finish for the game's only goal. Bryan Sheehan added another free for South Kerry before Derek Galvin and Brian Scanlon both scored good points from play to leave an interval score of 1-3 to 0-2 in favour Feale Rangers.
South Kerry considerably upped the ante in the second half. Sheehan from two frees and Kerry fitness trainer John Sugrue from play reduced Feale's lead to a point. Both sides fought like tigers as the half drew to a close. Ronan Hussey kicked over South Kerry's equaliser from a close range free and a draw looked the most likely outcome. But no one had bargained for the grit and determination of Feale Rangers' captain Eamon Fitzmaurice. The former Kerry star drove forward and kicked a great point from all of 50 metres, (Feale Rangers' only score of the second half) to secure the title for his team and the Kerry captaincy for his brother-in-law Paul Galvin in 2008.
Scorers -- Feale Rangers: B Scanlon 1-1, N Kennelly 0-1(0-1f), D Galvin and E Fitzmaurice (0-1) each South Kerry: B Sheehan 0-3 (0-3f), R Hussey 0-2 (0-2f), J Sugrue (0-1).
Feale Rangers -- S Quinn; J Mulvihill, P Corridan, K Quirke; B Guiney, E Fitzmaurice, D Griffin; B Whelan, M Corridan; E Galvin, P Galvin, A Maher; B Scanlon, N Kennelly, D Galvin. Subs: S McCarthy for D Galvin, L Keane for D Griffin, C Galvin for B Scanlon, B O'Connell for B Whelan.
South Kerry -- M Drummond; W O'Sullivan, S O'Sullivan, A O'Connell; D O'Sullivan, B Hickey, K Young; A O'Sullivan, J Sugrue; P Curran, D O'Sullivan, B Sheehan; R Hussey, R O'Connor, S Fogarty. Subs: M Fitzgerald for S Fogarty, G O'Driscoll for A O'Sullivan.
Ref-- P O'Sullivan (Firies)