Mannix saves Stacks twice

County SFC Round 1: Austin Stacks 0-16 St Kierans 1-13 (aet)

Eighty minutes failed to separate both sides in Connolly Park on Saturday evening in this County Championship opener with Austin Stacks probably more pleased to have got the draw from the position they were in at half-time.

Simply put they were not at the races in the first period as St Kierans went through them with far too much ease at times with Eamon Kiely and Seamus Scanlon causing them no end of problems. It took the Rockies 12 minutes to score through Greg Horan as St Kierans started off with 1-3 without reply.

Vinny Horan scored their goal in the seventh minute after Daniel Murphy and Thomas Hickey combined to put him through but the latter could have gone for goal himself with St Kierans second point instead opting for a point. The wind was with the visitors in the opening period but they suffered a setback in the 16th minute when Ronan Shanahan was black carded for a foul on Hickey.

St Kierans' advantage was as high as 1-8 to 0-2 after 20 minutes but a Michael O'Donnell effort alongside a David Mannix free for Stacks left the half-time score 1-9 to 0-4 in the visitors favour.

Kieran Donaghy hadn't started due to a hamstring problem but his second half introduction was pivotal as despite not registering a score he lifted his team-mates morale and won vital possession that led to scores in covering a lot of the grass blades in Connolly Park.

Slowly but surely Stacks whittled the eight point deficit down, even accounting for St Kierans being against the wind they struggled to create any decent opportunities for scores. Mannix would have been very disappointed not to have added a goal in the 41st minute as his effort hit the butt of the post with a green flag at his mercy but Stacks didn't let their heads drop and slowly they got within range.

Team captain Shane O'Callaghan put over the equaliser in the 52nd minute and it looked like the hosts could push on for an incredible turnaround.

St Kierans finally ended their scoring drought three minutes later though thanks to a James Walsh free while Scanlon did well to set up substitute Adam Barry for a score that put them two clear. Stacks found their way again through two Mannix points, Donaghy giving him the pass for the latter, as it finished level at 0-14 to 1-11 after normal time.

Extra-time saw St Kierans make the better start with points from Tom McGoldrick and a third effort from Walsh. Some poor challenges proved costly for them however as Phillip O'Connor and Walsh picked up black cards before the interval with Mannix's penultimate point making it 1-13 to 0-15. His 10th point, seventh from a free, was the only other score early in the second period as Donaghy intercepted two late frees from Kierans dropped into the goalmouth.

Knocknagoshel's Padraig Reidy picked up a third black card for the visitors before the end as it all resumes in Scartaglin this Saturday evening, the visitors happy to have a competitive game under their belt no doubt.

Austin Stacks: David Hennessy, Ronan Shanahan, Fearghal MacNamara, Barry Walsh, Pa McCarthy, Denis McElligott, Jack O'Shea, Greg Horan (0-2), Wayne Guthrie, Shane Carroll, Shane O'Callaghan (0-1), Michael O'Donnell (0-2), David Mannix (0-10, 7f), Fiachna Mangan, Darragh O'Brien. Subs: Jack Morgan (0-1) for Shanahan (b/c), Kieran Donaghy for O'Brien, Sean Dukes for Mangan, Mikey Collins for Guthrie, Alan Duggan for Dukes, Denis Costelloe, Fiachna Mangan for McElligott, John Dennis for McNamara, David O'Sullivan for O'Callaghan.

St Kierans: Sean Óg Ó Ciardubháin (Cordal), John O'Connor (Currow), Dan O'Sullivan (do), Shane Fitzmaurice (Brosna), Micheál Walsh (Knocknagoshel), Eamon Kiely (Brosna, 0-1), Timmy Finnegan (do), Seamus Scanlon (Currow, 0-1), James Walsh (Knocknagoshel, 0-3, 2f), Daniel Murphy (Scartaglin, 0-1), Phillip O'Connor (Cordal, 0-2f), Aiden Breen (Ballymacelligott), Thomas Hickey (Castleisland Desmonds, 0-3), Vinny Horan (Ballymacelligott, 1-0), Thomas Lynch (Castleisland Desmonds). Subs: Cian O'Connor (Castleisland Desmonds) for Lynch, Adam Barry (Brosna, 0-1) for Hickey, Tom McGoldrick (do, 0-1), Mike Hanafin (Currow) for Finnegan, Padraig Reidy (Knocknagoshel) for Micheál Walsh, Michael Finnegan (Brosna) for Murphy, Brian Leonard (Castleisland Desmonds) for Fitzmaurice, Vinny Horan for O'Connor (b/c) and Micheál Brosnan (Knocknagoshel) for Walsh (b/c).

Referee: Padraig O'Sullivan (Firies).