Dingle strike to sink Stacks
Garvey's County SFC Quarter-Final - Dingle 3-9 Austin Stacks 0-9
Rumours, which swirled all day and possibly all week back west, were confirmed as soon as the public announcer called out the team. Number eighteen, Marc Ó Conchúir, was to replace number two, Micheál Ó Flannúra.
A murmur of approval rippled around the stand and the terrace. Presumably the only people not to be pleased to see the Geelong star back on home soil - albeit temporarily - were those of a black and amber persuasion.
The Rockies had reason to be wary of Dingle's secret weapon. The AFL player went straight away to pick up Austin Stacks' most dangerous player - Kieran Donaghy. It worked a treat. Ó Conchúir pretty much totally negated Donaghy's influence on the game.
He had the size and the strength to grapple with Donaghy, but more than that it was abundantly clear that his time Down Under has made him an even better, more intelligent footballer than he was before and, given how good he was before making the move to Oz, that's saying something.
As a defender for Geelong, the decision to play him on Donaghy was near a no-brainer for Seán Ó Géibheannaigh and his management team. With Donaghy out of the game to a greater or lesser extent, the Rockies' challenge was badly blunted.
Despite getting off to a decent start with a point from Darragh O'Brien, Austin Stacks looked second best from very early in the contest. After O'Brien's point Dingle went on to score 2-3 unanswered in a seven minute spell, starting with a point by Pól Ó Dubháin on five minutes.
A pair of goals on the twelfth and thirteenth minutes sent Dingle on the path to victory. The first came when Pól Ó Géibheannaigh showed a poacher's instinct to be alive to the possibilities when a Tomás Ó Súilleabháin effort for a point came off the upright.
The ball landed to the left of Robbie Murphy's goal, Ó Géibheannaigh snapped it up and from there the All Star award winner was never, ever going to miss. Predator's instinct, predator's finish.
Ó Géibheannaigh was central the second goal too. This time flicking on a high ball and drawing a save from Murphy before Maitiú Ó Flaitheartaigh followed up to finish decisively.
Trailing by eight points Austin Stacks chances were fading fast. What they really needed to get back into the game was a goal and true to form an under-the-cosh Kieran Donaghy almost fashioned one for Joseph O'Connor whose effort was saved by the impressive Gavin Ó Corráin.
A couple of Stacks' points brought it back to a six point game - a free for O'Brien, a point from play by Shane O'Callaghan - before Dingle struck the decisive blow in the game with a third goal in the thirtieth minute.
This time Liam Ó Conchúir and Ó Dubháin combined to send the ball across the face of goal to be finished by Ó Géibheannaigh. When Ó Géibheannaigh assisted Ó Dubháin for a point on the stroke of half-time, the men from back west held a commanding ten point lead - 3-4 to 0-3.
It was very hard to imagine a way back into the game for Wayne Quillinan's men at that stage. They did, however, show a lot of character in the second half. The Rockies started the second half with five points unanswered.
One each from defenders Jack O'Shea, Ronan Shanahan Dylan Casey and a couple of points from Darragh O'Brien (one a free), made it a five point game eleven minutes into the second half.
Dingle, though, remained deadly dangerous. On thirty nine minutes they should have been in for a goal, but Tomás Ó Súilleabháin chipped just wide into the Horan's end of the ground.
Indeed, it was a point by Ó Súilleabháin on forty three minutes, which settled Dingle down and eased any nerves they may have been developing. A subtle switch on emphasis by the management team helped too and Stacks were held to just a single score from there to the end of the match.
Not even the dismissal of Marc Ó Conchúir on a black card on the three quarter mark halted Dingle's momentum or ignited a further challenge from the townies. Dingle were simply the better side on this occasion. No stopping them.
For Stacks a disappointing end to the campaign, albeit one that's understandable. This was a pretty young Stacks side, the experience gained this year - not to mention their promotion - will stand to them in the long run.
Dingle: Gavin H Ó Corráin, Tomás Ó Súilleabháin, Marc Ó Conchúir, Pádraig Ó Conchúir, Micheál Ó Baoighill, Tomás Ó Súilleabháin (0-3), Aodhán Ó Conchúir, Liam Ó Conchúir, Barra Ó Súilleabháin, Brian Ó Conchúir, Micheál Ó Géibheannaigh, Pól Ó Dubháin (0-2), Tomás Mac an t'Sithigh (0-1f), Pól Ó Géibheannaigh (2-3, 2f), Maitiú Ó Flaitheartaigh (1-0) Subs: Seán B Ó Brosnacháin for P Ó Dubháin, 63, Gareth Hicí Ó Brosnacháin for T Mac an t'Sithigh, 63 Black Card: Micheál Ó Flannúra for M Ó Conchúir, 46
Austin Stacks: Robbie Murphy, Dylan Casey (0-1), Ronan Shanahan (0-1), Jack Morgan, Pa McCarthy, Conor Jordan, Ciaran Ó Reilly, Michael O'Donnell, Joseph O'Connor, Greg Horan, Darragh O'Brien (0-5, 3f), Wayne Guthrie, Ferdia O'Brien, Kieran Donaghy, Shane O'Callaghan (0-1) Subs: Jack O'Shea (0-1) for P McCarthy, half-time, David Mannix for F O'Brien, half-time, Mikey Collins for D O'Brien, 52
Referee: Pádraig O'Sullivan (Firies)
THE Game in 60 seconds
Marc Ó Conchúir has to be in the mix after the job he did on Kieran Donaghy. Tomás Ó Súilleabháin kicked some great scores and was unlucky not to have added a second half goal to his total. Pól Ó Géibheannaigh, however, has to be the man. He tormented the Stacks' full-back line and delivered an impressive 2-3 (2-2 from play). That was the difference between the sides.