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Bring on the Kerry champs says O'Leary


Millstreet's Oisin Murphy runs on to a breaking ball as Naomh Eoin's Patrick Geaney gives chase. Photo: Eric Barry

Millstreet's Oisin Murphy runs on to a breaking ball as Naomh Eoin's Patrick Geaney gives chase. Photo: Eric Barry

Millstreet's Oisin Murphy runs on to a breaking ball as Naomh Eoin's Patrick Geaney gives chase. Photo: Eric Barry


Bring on the Kerry champions.

That was the message delivered by Millstreet coach William O'Leary following their emphatic victory over Naomh Eoin of Clare last Sunday. While teams from the Kingdom have dominated the Munster club junior football championship since 2008 and Millstreet must travel across the county bounds for their next assignment, O'Leary appears to be brimming with optimism about their prospects of making further progress.

"Whenever Cork and Kerry meet in a championship game in Killarney, there is always a special feeling around Millstreet, because we are so close to the border.

"Now we have a chance to test ourselves against the Kerry champions, and it's going to be a major step up from today, but we are really looking forward to it.

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'After this performance, I'd be very hopeful we can rise to the challenge, and I believe we are in as good a shape now as we have been all year," he remarked.

O'Leary contends that Millstreet have shown steady improvement over the course of what has been a very long season and he sees no reason why the pattern won't continue at this stage.

"I honestly believe it's all coming right for us now, we played brilliantly today, and we were able to empty the bench during the second half. We feel we have a very strong panel, so it was great to give fellas who have been training hard all year a run, and, all in all, it was immensely satisfying."

O'Leary accepts, however, that Cork senior panelist Kevin Crowley, ruled out for the remainder of the season, is a huge loss to the team.

"Kevin has severe ligament damage, and he's going for an operation the week after next, so we had to plan without him today. I don't know how he played in the county final to tell you the truth, but, that's Kevin, he has unbelievable determination, and I have no doubt he'll come back stronger and better next year.

"It's expected he'll be out for three to four months, and I suppose to be ready for the Cork Under 21s is his target providing his recuperation goes according to plan.

"He's had a bad couple of years in terms of injury, it seems to be a case of just one knock after another, but he's bound to have a good run sometime, and we'll be giving him every support in the club, because he's such a terrific young fella."

Much as O'Leary would like to have Crowley on board, he still believes that the team can make a bold bid for provincial glory in his absence.

"We had to restructure our half back line today, and Paul Sheehan had a terrific game filling in for Kevin at centre back until he got a black card. I thought we always had the situation under control and I wasn't too worried that we kicked a lot of wides in the first half.

"The important thing was that we were creating the chances, and I felt, with Mark Ellis bombing through from midfield, it was only a matter of time before we got a goal. We got two before half-time and we got another early in the second half to kill off the tie."

O'Leary suggested the most encouraging aspect of Millstreet's performance was the firm foothold gained by Mark Ellis and Patrick Coleman at midfield for most of the game.

"When we played the Barrs in the county final, we didn't win enough of our own kick-outs, and we worked hard it training to try and remedy the problem.

"I thought it paid off big-time today, because I'd say the stats would reveal we won most of the kick-outs, and if we weren't always winning the ball cleanly, we were picking up the breaks around midfield.

"It was the best game I've seen Patrick Coleman play in a long time, he just attacked and won every ball that came in his direction, and I was absolutely delighted with him," O'Leary revealed.