Wednesday 25 April 2018

Colfer's goal the difference as Kingdom gain sweet revenge

Kingdom Kerry Gaels 1-7 Tir Chonaill Gaels 0-9

Kingdom Kerry Gaels captured their first senior title in nine years after downing defending champions Tir Chonaill Gaels at a windswept Ruislip.

Kingdom Kerry Gaels captured their first senior title in nine years after downing defending champions Tir Chonaill Gaels at a windswept Ruislip.

Lloyd Colfer's 35th-minute maximum proved the difference, the forward firing home after Caoimhin Carty's initial shot came back off the post.

The Kingdom looked to be in trouble at the interval, their lead standing at the minimum, despite playing the opening half with the strong breeze at their backs.

However, Colfer hit a quickfire 1-1 early in the second period to propel them into a four-point lead, and they withstood a late Tir Chonaill rally to atone for last year's final defeat to the same opposition.

Kingdom Kerry Gaels opted for a two-man full-forward line, deploying an extra man around the middle of the park. It didn't bear fruit as Tir Chonaill swept up the breaking ball and the holders led by the midway point of the half through Barry Mitchell's second score from play. KKG hit back with three unanswered points, but a free from John McGrath halved their advantage at the short whistle – 0-5 to 0-4.


Tir Chonaill were level within three minutes of the restart when Cathal Magee's punt bounced over the bar, but they were dealt a severe blow moments later when Colfer rattled the back of the net.

Anto Daly spotted the onrushing Carty in space and played a neat pass over the top. The wing-back's shot hit the foot of Shaun Howard's right-hand post, but Colfer was perfectly placed to hammer the rebound into the net.

A stunning solo score from Magee momentarily lifted TCG's spirits, but the wides began to stack up through some poor decision-making from their forwards.

Colfer cancelled out an Eoin O'Neill free with eight minutes remaining and Ciaran Deely should have secured victory when he weaved in from the wing, but the full-forward shot wildly into the side netting.

O'Neill and Kevin McMenamin both converted placed balls as the game entered injury-time and the latter was presented with the chance to level proceedings when TCG were awarded a 60-metre free in the fifth minute of injury-time, but his sliced shot flew wide.

Scorers – Kingdom Kerry Gaels: L Colfer 1-4 (3fs), K Holland 0-2, C McCallion 0-1. Tir Chonaill Gaels: B Mitchell, J McGrath (2fs), C Magee, E O'Neill (2fs) 0-2 each, K McMenamin 0-1 (f).

Kingdom Kerry Gaels – S Howard; P Kelly, P Stack, C O'Neill; C Carty, P Horkan, D McGreevy; A Daly, S Browne; A Kenny, K Holland, C McCallion; C Hands, C Deely, L Colfer.

Subs: N O'Connell for Kenny (ht), K Waldron for Hands (45), A Dillane for McCallion (60).

Tir Chonaill Gaels – G McEvoy; B Ross, B Collins, P Butler; B Mitchell, T Gribben, G Magee; L Kavanagh, A Bradley; J McNicholas, J McGrath, L Gavaghan; C Magee, E O'Neill, K McMenamin. Subs: E Mageean for McGrath (50), J Feeney for Gavaghan (52).

Ref – G O'Shea.

Irish Independent

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