O'Rahillys cruise past East Kerry

County SFC quarter-final: Kerins O'Rahillys 3-12 East Kerry 1-6

Tommy Walsh, Kerins O’Rahillys, is well marked by East Kerry’s Dan O’Brien, Dan O’Donoghue and Shane Cronin during their County SFC quarter-final in Austin Stack Park, Tralee last Saturday
Tommy Walsh, Kerins O’Rahillys, is well marked by East Kerry’s Dan O’Brien, Dan O’Donoghue and Shane Cronin during their County SFC quarter-final in Austin Stack Park, Tralee last Saturday

Timmy Sheehan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee

Initially it took some time to transfer their distinct superiority onto the scoreboard, and their three-point half time lead was marginal, but ultimately Kerins O'Rahillys coasted to a most comfortable victory over a somewhat disappointing East Kerry combination in this quarter-final last Saturday.

Conditions were difficult and both sides experienced problems at times in terms of ball control and retention, even if they didn't impact on the failure of the winners to capitalise with a number of gilt-edged goal opportunities in the first half, and really the outcome could and probably should have been a foregone conclusion from a very early stage in proceedings.

Eventually it was Tommy Walsh's spectacular strike that put the issue beyond doubt in the 36th minute. Apart from a brief period in the first half O'Rahillys were superior in most facets of play with David Moran a commanding figure, even if, they didn't have to work that hard to manoeuvre themselves into scoring positions, given that, East Kerry didn't always track the trailing runner, and, a tendency to be attracted to the ball in numbers left players completely unmarked inside the last line of their defence. It didn't always yield rewards in terms of scores, especially in the first half, but, as the game progressed the gaps remained, and it was inevitable that O'Rahillys would ultimately profit, which they did, at times in pretty emphatic style.

O'Rahillys were two points in front inside the opening two minutes of play, and, it was noticeable that East Kerry were somewhat at odds with the situation, even at this early stage, with Jack Savage under no pressure whatsoever kicking his team into a first minute lead. Dara Roche, who was lively and resourceful even with a limited supply opened his side's account in the seventh minute, with Tommy Walsh making it a three-point game, 0-4 to 0-1, a minute later. A David Moran penalty went wide off the butt of the upright in the ninth minute, and it was just one of a number of goal opportunities created by the Tralee side, with John Ferguson being denied by a tackle which could well have yielded another penalty kick.

A Dara Roche free reduced the deficit to just two points 0-4 0-2 by the sixteenth minute, as East Kerry got more to grips with the situation for a period. However the goal which was on the cards was duly delivered by David Moran in the nineteenth minute when he wasn't picked up as he linked and jinked, and finished with aplomb with his left foot. However, it was negatived almost immediately at the other end with Jack Sherwood finishing in style after Dara Roche had created the chance for him.

Indeed it came shortly after East Kerry had created another clear-cut goal opportunity when Fintan Coffey carved open the defence with a surging run, and saw his shot come off the post when a pass to the unmarked Mike O'Donoghue might well have yielded richer rewards. Certainly, it exposed frailties in O'Rahillys defence, even if one would have to credit Colin Myers for his save from Barry John Keane at point blank range. It meant that O'Rahillys retired just 1-7 to 1-4 in front at half time and really having survived a first half throughout which they were on the back foot for long periods one expected a response from the Divisional combination in the second half.

Despite a lot of effort it never really materialised and after Barry John Keane and David Clifford had swapped pointed frees at opposite ends a quickly taken free by Barry John Keane, out near the sideline was aimed at the edge of the square where Tommy Walsh was positioned, and, favoured by the break between himself and his marker, he reacted superbly and rifled a volley to the roof of the net within six minutes of the restart. Not exactly game, set and match, but a six-point lead, 2-8 to 1-5, at this juncture made the final outcome look pretty predictable. Tommy Walsh created another goal chance for Gavin O'Brien in the fortieth minute who tucked it low and neatly beyond the goalkeeper's reach.

Thereafter the contest drifted to its inevitable conclusion. Con Barrett, after he skipped past three defenders, really should have added goal number four, and with East Kerry scoring just two points in that second half, one from play in the dying moments, the encounter never really developed into the type of contest one anticipates at this level. That won't unduly worry O'Rahillys whose only objective was to progress to the penultimate stage of the competition.

Understandably a lot of the focus was on the performance of David Clifford given his five-star showing in Croke Park the previous Sunday. The supply to him was pretty sporadic, but he didn't make the type of impact one anticipated, which was a credit to his direct marker Ross O'Callaghan. Hopefully the spotlight will be switched away from him for a period to allow him to develop into the top class performer he is fully equipped and destined to be, because despite an awful lot of opinion and advice being expressed about his future, with some feeling that he should be fast tracked into the Kerry senior squad, it should be one step at a time for the multi-talented teenager.

Kerins O'Rahillys: Gary Kissane, Danny O'Sullivan, Ross O'Callaghan, Tommy Begley, Ryan Carroll, Cormac Coffey, Karl Mullins, David Moran (1-1), Tommy Walsh (1-1), Padraig Griffin, Jack Savage (0-2), Gavin O'Brien (1-1), Barry John Keane (0-6, 4f), Con Barrett, John Ferguson (0-1). Subs: Cian Sayers for P Griffin, Shane Brosnan for D O'Sullivan (B/C), Rory Molloy for J Ferguson, Tom Hoare for G O'Brien, Gearoid Savage for C Barrett, Dave Murphy for T Begley

East Kerry: Colin Myers (Fossa), Stephen Foley (Firies), DJ Murphy (Gneevguilla), Darren Brosnan (Gneevguilla), Shane Cronin (Spa), Dan O'Donoghue (Spa), Daniel O'Brien (Glenflesk), Fintan Coffey (Fossa), Kieran Murphy (Glenflesk), Jack Sherwood (Firies) (1-0), Mike O'Donoghue (Spa), Ronan Buckley (Listry) (0-1), David Clifford (Fossa) (0-1f), Paudie Clifford (Fossa) (0-1), Dara Roche (Glenflesk) (0-2, 1f). Subs: Padraig De Bruin (Firies) for F Coffey, Lee O'Donoghue (Glenflesk) for P Clifford, Brian Lynch (Spa) for S Cronin, Jeff O'Donoghue (Glenflesk) (0-1) for M O'Donoghue, Evan Cronin (Spa) for K Murphy, Shane Courtney (Glenflesk) for S Foley.

Referee: Jonathan Griffin (Glenbeigh-Glencar)