Newest divisional team knocks out last club standing in minor football championship
COUNTY MINOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
North Kerry 2-13
Kenmare Shamrocks 0-6
North Kerry booked their place into the county minor football final with a comprehensive 13-point win over Kenmare Shamrocks in a fashion that suggests they will be very hard to deny a first such county title for the new amalgamation.
A couple of first half goals from Oisin Healy laid a sound formation for the winners, who led by eight points at half time, and had a much easier evening of it than their one-point quarter-final win over Austin Stacks a week earlier might have foretold.
Kenmare – the only club side to reach the last four of the competition – opened the scoring with a wonderful free from Darren Allman, but things went awry for them rapidly as North Kerry took control on a dreadfully wet evening in Fitzgerald Stadium. Oisín Healy opened their account before Kerry minor Cormac Dillon went on a shooting spree, kicking three frees (having won two of them himself and another by Healy) and adding a point from play off his left leg.
Darragh O’Sullivan won another free converted by Allman, but Kenmare’s slow build-up was suiting a tenacious North Kerry defence, who were cohesive and disciplined.
North Kerry missed two chances at scoring before Kenmare kicked a sideline ball backwards, only to spill it, but goalkeeper Vaughan O’Brien saved their bacon by brilliantly saving Jamie Moloney’s effort.
Nevertheless, the writing was on the wall, though, for Shamrocks whose luck was about to run our, and the first goal wasn’t long in coming, Oisín Healy driving confidently to the net with 24 minutes gone. Eddie Healy then picked out his namesake Oisín for a simple mark, and North Kerry were 1-6 to 0-2 ahead.
Kenmare rallied, with Darragh O’Connor winning another free for the accurate Allman to convert, and Zack O’Shea added their first point from play straight from the kick-out.
There was still time for one last North Kerry hammer-blow, however, Jack Enright neatly flicking the ball to Oisín Healy to volley home from close range to leave the half-time score 2-6 to 0-4 in North Kerry's favour.
The second half always carried with it a whiff of Kenmare playing for respectability, and they Kenmare were very nearly in on goal at the start of the half, but David Mulvihill deftly robbed Darren Allman at the last second. A goal at that stage might have really ignited Kenmare – they did play good football at this stage – but they just couldn't translate whatever good they did into scores.
North Kerry missed a few chances of their own, but quickly aligned their sights and Rober Heffernan, and a Jerh Brosnan brace of points had them ahead by 2-9 to 0-4.
A foul on Jack O'Sullivan saw Darren Allman pull one back in the 45th minute, but realistically Kenmare’s resistance was starting to crumble. Jack Enright was just wide of goal from a tight angle before setting up Oisin Healy for a potential hat-trick, but again Vaughan O'Brien made a good save.
Enright pointed himself then and the outstanding Dillon showed his pedigree by adding another three points to his tally, with the hardworking Darragh O'Connor supplying a lone and futile reply for a gallant but outclassed Kenmare Shamrocks.
NORTH KERRY: Jake Heffernan, Conor Sweeney, David Mulvihill, Conor Egan, Shaun Wren, Eddie Healy, Patrick Walsh, Seán McElligott, Evan Boyle, Darragh O’Keeffe, Cormac Dillon 0-7 (5f), Jerh Brosnan 0-2, Oisín Healy 2-2 (0-1m), Jamie Moloney, Jack Enright 0-1. Subs: Robert Heffernan 0-1 for Jamie Moloney (ht), Thomas Kelly for Seán McElligott (44 mins), Aaron Carey for Darragh O’Keeffe (49 mins), Fionn Mulvihill for Shaun Wren (54 mins), Aindréas Rodriguez for Oisín Healy (58 mins)
KENMARE SHAMROCKS: Vaughan O’Brien, Denis Twomey, David O’Connor, John O’Sullivan, Tom Crushell, Ben O’Callaghan, Michael Tangney, Darragh O’Connor 0-1, Jack O’Sullivan, Jimmy Kelliher, Darragh O’Sullivan, Zack O’Shea 0-1, Eoghan O’Brien, Darren Allman 0-4 (4f), Jack Tangney. Subs: Neal O’Shea for Jimmy Kelliher (ht), Mort O’Shea for Tom Crushell (45 mins)
Referee: John Michael Fitzgerald