Fitzmaurice puts retirement on hold after late equaliser
Spa 0-8 Finuge 0-8
EAMONN FITZMAURICE ensured that his football career will last for at least one more game when he kicked a last-gasp equaliser to give Finuge another bite at the cherry.
Fitzmaurice had hinted that he would hang up the boots after this game, but he'll have to postpone any decision for another week after his side snatched a draw in Austin Stack Park, Tralee.
Alternating between full-forward and midfield, the incoming Kerry boss popped up in the last minute of normal time to steer over a left-footed effort after James Flaherty had done well to keep an Enda Galvin miscue in play.
Despite playing against the breeze in the first half, Spa seemed to be in control for long periods, but were only a point up (0-4 to 0-3) at the interval, with Spa's Damien O'Sullivan doing a fine job on curbing Paul Galvin's influence. It must be said, however, that Galvin had carried a calf injury into the game.
Spa also seemed more comfortable in the second half and, when Cormac Cronin's second free put them three points to the good with just under 15 minutes to play, they looked home and hosed.
But 11 of the Finuge team had already experienced a county final defeat after losing the senior hurling decider to Lixnaw and they kept themselves in the game with a close-range free from Paul Galvin.
Impressive Pat Corridan closed the gap to the minimum with an effort that looked like it had dropped wide of the post, before Fitzmaurice coolly slotted the leveller to give the north Kerry outfit another day out.
The replay has been fixed for this Sunday, with the time and venue to be confirmed by the Kerry County Board.
SCORERS -- Spa: M O'Donoghue 0-4 (4f); C Cronin 0-2 (2f); R O'Connell, C Tobin 0-1 each. Finuge: E Fitzmaurice, P Corridan 0-2 each; P Galvin (1f), J Flaherty, J Griffin, J Corridan 0-1 each.
Spa -- J Devane; D O'Sullivan, H O'Donoghue, B Gleeson; M Murphy, S Lynch, E Cronin; A Garnett, M O'Donoghue; R O'Connell, A Giles, C Hickey; C Cronin, I Flynn, C Tobin. Subs: J Spillane for Flynn (43), P Courtney for Hickey (58).
Finuge -- C Fitzmaurice; C Allen, T McKenna, D McCarthy; P Galvin, P Corridan, C Fitzmaurice; J Corridan, M Corridan; R Galvin, J Griffin, F Fitzmaurice; J Flaherty, E Fitzmaurice, R Galvin. Subs: S Power for F Fitzmaurice (h-t), M Conway for R Galvin (44), E Galvin for J Corridan (58).
Ref -- P O'Sullivan (Dromid).