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Tenacious Templenoe topple champions Austin Stacks in senior club opener

Goals from Josh Crowley-Holland and Stephen O’Sullivan set Templenoe on their way to famous victory


Templenoe's Adrian Spillane being tracked by Austin Stacks' Joe O'Connor during their County Club SFC clash in Dirreen on Sunday afternoon Photo by Adrienne McLoughlin

Templenoe's Adrian Spillane being tracked by Austin Stacks' Joe O'Connor during their County Club SFC clash in Dirreen on Sunday afternoon Photo by Adrienne McLoughlin

Templenoe's Adrian Spillane being tracked by Austin Stacks' Joe O'Connor during their County Club SFC clash in Dirreen on Sunday afternoon Photo by Adrienne McLoughlin



Templenoe 2-12

Austin Stacks 1-8

There weren't too many who expected Templenoe to see off the reigning club and county champions in a sun-drenched Dirreen, but that was exactly what transpired.

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The county players on both sides stood out, but Templenoe's lesser lights blazed with raw hunger on the day and the Rockies had no answer to the composure of the likes of Morley and Crowley at the back and the razor accuracy and menace of Stephen O'Sullivan and Killian Spillane in the corners.

A foul on Greg Horan saw David Mannix open the scoring for Stacks, but Gavin Crowley won a similar free easily pointed by Stephen O'Sullivan. Joe O'Connor was just short with a good effort before John Rice pointed a beauty at the other end and good pressure on the defence led to Killian Spillane pointing a free. 0-3 to 0-1.

Stacks' produced a sweeping team move that ended with Jack O'Shea cutting in on goal and finishing neatly to put them in front. It didn't last long, as Killian Spillane broke a high ball down to himself and split the posts.

Seán Sheehan picked off a good point – all four midfielders were impressive, with Joe O'Connor making some brilliant fetches, but Sheehan was probably the most influential overall.

Gearóid Fitzgerald won a free converted by Mannix but Stephen O'Sullivan replied in kind after Adrian Spillane was fouled. Templenoe were playing a patient, controlled game, with Tadhg Morley calmly dictating the pace (as with Kerry this year, he was unspectacularly awesome), and they were gradually beginning to set the terms. Colin Crowley was narrowly wide from the Stacks' kick-out, but a turnover by Kieran O'Neill saw Killian Spillane split the posts. 0-7 to 1-2.

Disaster struck for Stacks as Wayne Guthrie's kick-out went uncharacteristically awry and into Stephen O'Sullivan's hands. With the goalkeeper frantically scrambling back, O'Sullivan took one look and neatly swung his left leg, lifting the ball beautifully over the hapless keeper and into the top corner – Guthrie got a futile touch, no more. One had to reminded of Mikey Sheehy's famous free over Paddy Cullen's head away back in 1978.

Stacks were unquestionably rattled now, despite their efforts, and Stephen O'Sullivan won and converted a free before closing out the first half scoring after a great run by Aidan Crowley. Half-time Templenoe 1-9 Austin Stacks 1-2.

Stacks rang the changes at half-time, and their subs all impressed when they came in. A foul on Seán Quilter saw David Mannix close the gap, and he quickly added another.

Stacks were clearly in determined mood, and were a trifle unlucky as Templenoe keeper Mark Looney brilliantly parried a Joe O'Connor pile-driver. However, their revival was mercilessly snuffed out by a scintillating run from Stephen O'Sullivan that left Josh Crowley Holland to fist into the empty net.

Stephen added a stupendous point a minute later and it was 2-10 to 1-4. Looney wisely opted to tap a dangerous high ball from Colin Griffin over the crossbar rather than knocking it down in a crowded square. Seán Quilter added a free but a great Templenoe move saw Killian Spillane offload to Aidan Crowley for a point.

Stacks were not going to go down meekly, and Wayne Guthrie made a raid out to midfield in an attempt to ignite a revival. Instead, the ball was turned over and launched into a lurking Stephen O'Sullivan. It was just over his head and by the time he controlled it, Adam Curran had made it back to make a spectacular block.

The full-forwards Gearóid Fitzmaurice and Aidan Crowley traded points before David Mannix closed out the scoring. This one will sting for Stacks, who are away to their derby rivals Rahillys next week, while Templenoe will host Dr. Crokes and have shown that they are very real contenders for the title.

Things are about to get very interesting all round!

TEMPLENOE: Mark Looney, Mike Hallissey, Kieran O'Neill, John Rice (0-1), Kieran McCarthy, Tadhg Morley, Gavin Crowley, Sean Sheehan (0-1), Adrian Spillane, Mark Casey, Josh Crowley Holland (1-0), Colin Crowley, Stephen O'Sullivan (1-5, 3f), Aidan Crowley (0-2), Killian Spillane (0-3, 1f). Subs: Tom Spillane for K McCarthy, 60 

AUSTIN STACKS: Wayne Guthrie, Colin Griffin (0-1), Barry Shanahan, Jack O'Shea (1-0), Niall Fitzmaurice, Conor Jordan, Paul O'Sullivan, Joe O'Connor, Greg Horan, Micheal O'Donnell, Shane O'Callaghan, Michael O'Gara, Seán Quilter (0-1, 1f), Gearóid Fitzgerald (0-1), David Mannix (0-5, 4f) Subs: Adam Curran for N Fitzmaurice, half-time, Conor Horan for S O'Callaghan, half-time, Eoghan Carroll for P O'Sullivan, 35, Cian Purcell for S Quilter, 45, Jordan Kissane for B Shanahan, 45

REFEREE: Seamus Mulvihill (St. Senans)