Walsh packs winning punch as South Kerry edge out Legion
South Kerry 1-13 Legion 1-12
South Kerry annexed their ninth Kerry senior title when they edged out Killarney Legion in a pulsating replay at Fitzgerald Stadium.
Despite losing man of the match Bryan Sheehan towards the end of normal time through a black card, South Kerry dug deep into their reserves to record a deserved win.
With Declan O’Sullivan taking over the leadership mantle, they finished the stronger in extra-time and it was a punched point from South Kerry and St Mary’s Aidan Walsh that saw them seal the win.
Sheehan dragged South Kerry back into the contest in the second half after his side fell seven points behind to Legion, who had kicked the opening three points of the second half.
It appeared that Killarney Legion were about to cruise to their first county title win since 1946, but Sheehan produced a masterclass, setting up Walsh for a point and then in the 39th minute, collecting a ball from O’Sullivan and beating a number of Legion defenders before slamming the ball to the net.
Legion seemed to be crumbling when in sight of the finish line and points from Sheehan and Conor O’Shea narrowed the gap to a point with 10 minutes remaining.
Legion edged two clear, but South Kerry’s Daniel Daly reduced the gap to a point again before Killian Young sent over the equaliser with five minutes remaining. There was no score in the first period of extra-time, but Sheehan picked up a black card.
Then came the late drama and after Legion turned the ball over in the 79th minute, Aidan Walsh punched over the winning score.
The Killarney side had made a better start. However, South Kerry were 0-3 to 0-2 in front by the 18th minute.
Legion were not to be deterred, however, with Conor Keane finding the inrushing Jamie O’Sullivan, who finished to the South Kerry net in the 18th minute and four unanswered points followed.
The men from Killarney looked to be in the driving seat at half-time, leading 1-7 to 0-6, but they did not bargain for the experience of Sheehan, Young and O’Sullivan.
Scorers – South Kerry: B Sheehan 1-5 (1f, 1 ’45); A Walsh 0-3; Daniel Daly 0-2 (1f), K Young, P O’Donoghue and C O’Shea 0-1 each. Killarney Legion: C Keane 0-5 (4f); J O’Donoghue 0-3 (3f); J O’Sullivan 1-0; P O’Connor 0-2; B McGuire and T Moriarty 0-1 each.
South Kerry – B O’Connor; B Sugrue , K Young , P O’Sullivan; Padraig O’Sullivan, B Walsh, Denis Daly ; Bryan Sheehan, B O’Sullivan ; P O’Connor, D O’Sullivan , A Walsh; I Galvin, P O’Donoghue, C O Shea . Subs: R Wharton for O’Connor (36), G Gibson for O’Sullivan (36); D Daly for Galvin (42), B O’Sullivan for Sheehan (BC, 71), A Shine O’Sullivan for Sugrue (73 ), O Clifford for P O’Sullivan (79).
Killarney Legion – B Kelly; P O’Connor , D Sheehan, C Davies; J Lyne, Damian O’Sullivan, D O’Doherty; S Keane , J O’Sullivan; B McGuire, J O’Donoghue, D Lyne; T Moriarty , C Sheahan, C Keane. Subs: K Breen for Lyne (49); J O’Neill for McGuire (56); D Sheahan for Moriarty (57); A O’Sullivan for Sheahan (BC, 59) D O’Sullivan for O’Donoghue (66); J O’Donoghue for Sheahan (72), T Slattery for Keane (79).
Ref – P Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys)