Na Gaeil take spoils in battle of the champs

Division 1 Round 3: Templenoe 1-11 Na Gaeil 0-18

After sharing the bill the previous weekend in Austin Stack Park, the two newly crowned county champions came face-to-face in Templenoe on Saturday evening.

All things being equal you would have expected the Intermediate champions to have too much for the Premier Junior kingpins, but it was never likely to be all that straightforward.

For one thing as the fact they're operating in the same division proves, there shouldn't be altogether that much between these two sides. For another county players were off limits for both these club sides as preparations for the Munster senior football championship continue apace.

Na Gaeil were down their starting midfield - Diarmuid O'Connor and Jack Barry - from the previous weekend, but Templenoe were arguably the more affected of the pair.

Temple lost the lynchpins of their defence - Gavin Crowley and Tadhg Morley - their midfield - Adrian Spillane - and their attack - Killian Spillane - and that being the case it was always going to be something of a rearguard action.

Granted it's the kind of rearguard action they're used to fighting over the last couple of seasons, but, after losing four players of that quality, it was always going to be hard to maintain momentum. Na Gaeil too had the absolute necessity for points having been beaten in their opening two games and it told.

The match was played in ideal conditions, with Na Gaeil playing with the aid of the breeze in the first half. Stephen O'Sullivan opened Templenoe's account with a point from play, but Na Gaeil quickly countered with Mike Griffin hitting the target for their first score.

Stephen O'Sullivan and Niall O'Mahony swapped points, before the former was fouled just as he was about to pull the trigger in the area and the referee awarded a penalty for Templenoe.

Brian Crowley stepped up and clinically despatched the ball to the net from the spot kick. Buoyed by this, Crowley followed up his goal with two points either side of an Ian McCarthy effort to make the score 1-4 to 0-3 after 15 minutes of action.

Na Gaeil also had a few goal chances in the first half, but were denied no less than three times due to the superb shot stopping display from Templenoe keeper Danny Cahalane.

While Templenoe came close to adding a second goal themselves, only to see a well struck effort from Stephen O'Sullivan come off the post. Four unanswered points from the visitors through Dara Devine, Ian McCarthy (2) and Jamie Lowham brought the scores back to level terms.

The home side had the last say in the half with a long range point from Stephen O'Sullivan, following good work by Teddy Doyle and Brian Crowley - half-time score Templenoe 1-5, Na Gaeil 0-7.

One minute after resumption, Teddy Doyle nailed a '45 for Templenoe to extend their lead to two points, but Na Gaeil replied with Dara Devine slotting over a free. A lovely lay off from Brian Crowley paved the way for Sean Sheehan to thump over the home side's next score, before further points from Stephen O'Sullivan and Teddy Doyle with another 45, put Templenoe four points clear.

Dara Devine responded for the Tralee side, but Stephen O'Sullivan quickly restored the host's four points advantage, with John Spillane providing the assist. This made the score 1-10 to 0-9 after 47 minutes of play.

Everything appeared to be going to plan for Templenoe at this stage, but the home side soon started to run out of steam, with Na Gaeil bringing in a few fresh legs to help them take control of proceedings.

Two of their substitutes Diarmuid Herlihy and Darragh Reen along with the unerring accuracy from frees through Dara Devine (2) all contributed to bring the sides back level with eight minutes remaining.

Then in the 55th minute another placed ball effort from Dara Devine put Na Gaeil ahead for the first time. Templenoe tried hard, but the away side had all the momentum in the remaining minutes and Na Gaeil duly closed out the game with further points from Diarmuid Herlihy, Eoin O'Neill, Dara Devine and Andrew Barry.

Templenoe's last score of the game came courtesy of a pointed free from Teddy Doyle, after Michael Hallissey was fouled.

Templenoe: Danny Cahalane, Michael Hallissey, Kieran O'Neill, Joseph Sheehan, Dara O'Connor, John Spillane, Kieran McCarthy, Sean Sheehan (0-1), Tom Spillane, Martin Reilly, Teddy Doyle (0-3, 2 '45s, 1f), John Rice, Stephen O'Sullivan (0-5, 1f), Brian Crowley (1-2), John Moriarty Sub: Eoin Murphy

Na Gaeil: Eamon O'Neill, Ryan O'Neill, Kieran Dineen, Dara Sheehy, Niall O'Mahony (0-1), Andrew Barry (0-1f), Fergal Barry, Eoin O'Neill (0-1), Dan O'Connor, Ian McCarthy (0-3, 1f), Eoin Doody, Kieran O'Donovan, Mike Griffin (0-1), Jamie Lowham (0-1), Dara Devine (0-7f) Subs: Diarmuid Herlihy (0-2), David Culloty, Darragh Reen (0-1), Padraig O'Sullivan, Rory Murphy

Referee: Edmund Walsh