Kenmare Shamrocks hold out against parent District in high-scoring contest
County SFC, 2A: Kenmare District 3-8 Kenmare Shamrocks 3-13
Despite a quick turnaround from the previous Sunday, Kenmare Shamrocks made fast starts to both halves that sent them on their way to a deserved success over their team-mates from last year in Kenmare District.
The game didn't have the cut and bite one might expect from a derby encounter but that was as much to do with the Shamrock's brilliance early on in putting themselves in the ascendancy from the off. Dara Crowley made an early interception from the throw-in as the ball went down the other end and Paul O'Connor laid off to Sean O'Shea for a goal after only 45 seconds for the club side.
District had a sniff of a goal after five minutes themselves but they had to be content with Patrick O'Shea putting over their first score as even though Adrian Spillane returned to competitive action, Tadhg Morley had to take a role on the sideline in filling in for their manager Shane Cremin who was unavailable on the night.
O'Shea and O'Connor were the main tormentors of their native district on the night as dropping an extra man back into defence proved to be effective in stopping their opponents making any progress. Indeed it took a great save from Peter Healy near the end of the first-half to stop Dara O'Shea scoring a second for the district as Shamrocks' advantage at half-time was 1-7 to 0-3.
The district made three changes at half-time but Paul O'Connor put pay to any thoughts of a change in proceedings as he goaled from the restart to give his side a double digit lead. Their opponents did manage to snuff out the concession of that goal quickly after when Cian Hallissey was fouled and a penalty was awarded which Killian Spillane converted but Shamrocks weren't long in re-establishing their dominance.
A patient move in the 42nd minute saw Shane O'Sullivan cut through for their third goal and an 11 point lead at 3-9 to 1-4. Points from Sean O'Leary and Dara O'Shea meant their entire half-back line scored as their opponents still kept battling for their own pride as much as anything else.
With 13 minutes left John Mark Foley worked well for Adrian Spillane to get a second goal for the hosts but despite two decent points from substitute Pat Spillane there was a sense of inevitability about the final 10 minutes. O'Shea would finish with 1-5 (three frees), O'Connor 1-4 and Stephen O'Brien two points for the Shamrocks as the district scored 1-3 without reply near the end to put a better reflection on the scoreboard for themselves.
Teddy Doyle was somewhat fortunate in scoring their third goal in the 63rd minute but it meant that last year's Runners-Up bowed out with heads held a little bit higher. Danny Cahalane was one of the most consistent performers for the district but this win was all about the continuity and momentum a club side can create with an extended run of games as opposed to the difficultly divisional outfits can have in getting together for the county's biggest competition.
The Shamrocks now await either Dingle, Feale Rangers or St Brendans in Round Three while the district face an uncertain future as regards the 2018 Championship. It is one that might well be determined by the progress of Templenoe in the Intermediate Championship later in the year.
Kenmare District: Peter Healy (Tuosist), Mike Hallissey (Templenoe), Gavin Crowley (do), Kieran O'Neill (do), Patrick O'Shea (Kilgarvan, 0-1), John Mark Foley (do), Danny Cahalane (Templenoe, 0-1), Peter O'Shea (Tuosist), Sean Sheehan (Templenoe), Adrian Spillane (do, 1-1), Darragh Siochrú (Tuosist), Gearóid Fennessy (Kilgarvan), Stephen O'Sullivan (Templenoe), Teddy Doyle (do, 1-0), Killian Spillane (do, 1-3, 2f). Subs: Cian Hallissey (Templenoe) for Fennessy, Pat Spillane Jnr (do, 0-2) for Peter O'Shea, Josh Crowley-Holland (do) for Mike Hallissey, John Rice (do) for Siochrú.
Kenmare Shamrocks: Kieran Fitzgibbon, Denis Cronin, Tommy O'Sullivan, Dara Crowley, Sean O'Leary (0-1), Dara O'Shea (0-1), Shane O'Sullivan (1-0), Donal O'Connor, David Hallissey, Dean Cassidy, Sean O'Shea (1-5, 3f), Micheál McCarthy, Kevin O'Sullivan, Paul O'Connor (1-4) Stephen O'Brien (0-2) Subs: Brian Clifford for Hallissey, Aidan Crowley for Cassidy, Brian O'Sullivan for Donal O'Connor, Kevin Price for McCarthy.
Referee: Tom Moriarty (Legion).
The game in 60 seconds
Sean O'Shea's stock continues to rise as he not only gave a great display in scoring but also in creating scores with the quality of some of his passing. Whether he features with the Kerry Seniors or not this year remains to be seen but he is a definite prospect for the highest level in the coming years.
District were not without a number of chances but nine wides in the first-half was a big illustration in the difference between the two sides in Templenoe. Paul O'Connor's goal after the restart reinforced just how much better Shamrocks were in nearly every aspect last Friday evening.
A lot of debate over the rights and wrongs of fixing a Championship game on a Friday night with the logicists involved for players based around the country. Maybe not so much an issue during the months of July & August but during school and exam time it is certainly is a greater pressure.
District Chairman rues missing players
While many wondered how would such an historic encounter between the two Kenmare sides would pan out on Friday evening, Shamrocks manager John O'Sullivan Morgan said the ambition of the club side from the off was to take the occasion out of the equation.
"We didn't want the lads to think too much about the significance of the match and treat it like any other game. We stuck to our task in getting a fast start and definitely the run of games that we have had over recent weeks has brought us on," he said.
He agreed that Sean O'Shea's performance had a big impact on the game as well as the performance of their half-back line. "It's an interchangeable one with our half-forward line in a lot of ways and we would have bitten anyone's hand off to be where we now in terms of the County Championship and the Club final," Morgan said.
The District side, meanwhile, appeared to be behind the curve from the start this campaign and district board chairman Flor O'Brien said fielding a team was a job in itself.
"You have to look at the reality of the fact there were only two training sessions held and we were without Brian Crowley and Tadhg Morley. We're not using that as an excuse but on the other side Kenmare Shamrocks are after coming off a month of some serious competitive games which have brought them on no end. There are some promising footballers coming up in the district in Kilgarvan and Tuosist but there are very young and a lot will be determined by how Templenoe do in the Intermediate Championship, something we wish them well in," Mr. O'Brien said.
He said it was too early to determine what the future might be at senior level for the district depending on how the Intermediate Championship pans out.
"The purpose of district sides is to give every player the chance to play at County Championship level but we are limited as it is, particularly with the size of the district altogether in comparison to the others in the county."