O'Rahillys blitz Dingle early doors

County SFC, Winners Round: Dingle 3-9  Kerins O'Rahillys 2-13

Paul Devane, Dingle puts pressure on David Moran, Kerins O'Rahillys during the county championship game played in Dingle last Sunday afternoon. Photo by Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus
Paul Devane, Dingle puts pressure on David Moran, Kerins O'Rahillys during the county championship game played in Dingle last Sunday afternoon. Photo by Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus

Timmy Sheehan, Páirc an Ághasaigh

Certainly a game of contrasting and fluctuating fortunes. This was a game, which ebbed and flowed at varying intervals and was delicately poised in a frantic finish.

Contested with a lot of fervour the contest never maintained a constant pattern with both sides enjoying periods of supremacy, and struggling at other stages in the game, when both were forced to play second fiddle in most aspects of proceedings.

To sum it all up and make sense of it all would require a pretty detailed and complicated assessment given the dominance and lapses, which both sides experienced in equal measures at different stages.

Dingle would probably have been the marginal favourites coming into the game, but they were at sixes and sevens at the outset of proceedings with O'Rahillys exerting a firm grip early on and opening up a sizable lead.

Dominant in midfield the visitors poured forward in waves of attacks. Defensively, the locals were really found wanting, both collectively and individually as the Blues with pace and purpose repeatedly unlocked their rearguard formation.

O'Rahillys lost the services of Tommy Walsh through injury in the very first minute, but were three points in front after just six minutes with Dingle being particularly tentative in their approach to proceedings.

A John Ferguson goal in the sixth minute driven low to the corner of the net across the face of the goal consolidated O'Rahillys situation even further and after Barry O'Sullivan had opened Dingle's account two minutes later O'Rahillys struck for a second goal in the tenth minute when Gearoid Savage was on hand to steer the ball home from close range after Karl Mullins initial effort had been blocked on the line.

They could well have had a third goal shortly afterwards when Gavin O'Brien's low shot was cleared off the line rather spectacularly by Breandan Kelliher.

Successive points from Barry John Keane, one from a free, meant that O'Rahillys dominant in all sectors held a commanding lead (2-5 0-1) as the encounter entered its second quarter.

Behind by ten points Dingle were in complete disarray, but they dug deep and resurrected their challenge with some admirable industry and endeavour in the middle third.

Firmly on the back foot for a period, O'Rahillys struggled under sustained attacks with, both Conor and Paul Geaney influential figures. Both combined for Dingle's first goal with Paul Geaney palming to the net from close range in the twenty second minute.

He added a point to reduce the deficit to four points, 2-5 to 1-4, by the 24th minute. Three minutes later the encounter was deadlocked at 2-5 apiece after Conor Geaney had outpaced his marker and finished superbly to the roof of the net.

Con Barrett restored a one-point lead in added time in favour of the Blues (2-6 2-7) by the interval, but the initiative and the momentum seemed to have transferred fully in favour of Dingle and one expected them maybe to build on the dominance which they enjoyed throughout all of the second quarter.

However, it was the visitors who restarted with far greater urgency and exposed some glaring gaps in the Dingle defence. David Moran was very much a leading light, and, four unanswered points inside the opening six minutes of play meant that they had opened up a pretty sizeable gap, 2-6 to 2-11.

It could well have been greater with both Barry John Keane and Gearóid Savage failing to capitalise in goal scoring situations. A superb long-range effort from David Moran extended their lead even further to 2-13 to 2-7, but the game took a decisive twist at the end of the third quarter.

Mikey Geaney's thunderous drive came down off the crossbar, with the possibility that it might well have crossed the goal line. Appeals, and confusion followed, with the Referee after consulting with his umpires awarding a penalty, a decision which certainly confused myself and those in close proximity.

Paul Geaney's initial effort was blocked, but he followed up and applied the finish to the O'Rahillys net to leave just a goal (3-7 2-13) between the sides going into the final quarter.

O'Rahillys again failed to finish off another clear-cut goal chance at the end of some very good build up play, and indeed they failed to add to their tally for the remainder of the contest.

The pendulum swung back fully in favour of the locals who regained full control, but, they kicked a number of wides, bringing their tally in this regard into double figures.

Admittedly they had to cope with a pretty difficult swirling breeze, but, they were guilty of some needless misplaced passes.

Cathal Bambury was denied of a goal with a last gasp block from close range, but with a monopoly of possession they continued to create all of the chances with both Mikey Geaney and Tom O'Sullivan providing the impetus with some surging runs from deep.

They did reduce the deficit to the bare minimum, but ultimately O'Rahillys held out to shade the verdict and given that they had never been headed, one couldn't dispute their right to progress to the knock-out stages.

A contest that was extremely exciting and entertaining, and one which had more twists and turns than a roller-coaster ride.

Dingle: Gavin H Curran, Tom 'Leo' O'Sullivan, Conor O'Sullivan, Patrick O'Connor, Aiden O'Connor, Breandan Kelliher, Tom O'Sullivan, Barry O'Sullivan (0-1), Darragh O'Sullivan, Matthew Flaherty (0-2), Mikey Geaney (0-2f), Paul Devane, Tomas Sheehy, Paul Geaney (2-2), Conor Geaney (1-2, 0-1f) Subs: Cathal Bambury for T Sheehy, Eoin Murphy for A O'Connor

Kerins O'Rahillys: Gary Kissane, Tommy Begley, Ross O'Callaghan, Danny O'Sullivan, Cian Sayers (0-1) Cormac Coffey, Karl Mullins, David Moran (0-3, 1 '45'), Con Barrett (0-1), Gavin O'Brien, Jack Savage (0-1), Padraig Griffin, Tommy Walsh, Barry John Keane (0-6, 3f), John Ferguson (1-0) Subs: Gearoid Savage (1-1) for T Walsh (inj), Shane Brosnan for G O'Brien, Rory Molloy for P Griffin, Ryan Carroll for K Mullins

Referee: Padraig O'Sullivan (Firies).


The game in 60 seconds

Main Man

No player exerted an influence for the duration, but during O'Rahillys periods of supremacy David Moran was very much the leading light and orchestrator in chief. Paul and Conor Geaney had their moments for Dingle while Barry John Keane was also seen to good effect intermittently for the Blues, but the All Star midfielder did most to influence his side's success.

Key Moment

Such was the nature of the scoring that one couldn't really pick out singularly a moment or an incident which had a significant bearing on the eventual outcome. It was all about scoring surges followed by spells with scores at a premium. Maybe O Rahillys final score, converted superbly by David Moran, which ultimately decided the issue.

Talking Point

Probably the penalty awarded to Dingle. In real time it looked as if the decision to be made was whether the ball had crossed the line or not. The award after consultation with the umpires led to a lot of head scratching. However, the umpires were closest to the action, and in the best position, while the referee's reaction and decision was pretty decisive.