Saturday 15 December 2018

Talty keeps head after 'goal' storm

Michael O'Dwyer of Kilmurry Ibrickane falls awkwardly during the first half of his team's Munster Club SFC final against Kerins O'Rahilly's
Michael O'Dwyer of Kilmurry Ibrickane falls awkwardly during the first half of his team's Munster Club SFC final against Kerins O'Rahilly's

It's best to deal with the manner in which this Munster club football final was lost before accounting for how it was won.

One minute into injury-time, 14-man Kerins O'Rahillys, facing into a strengthening gale that blew hard down through Limerick's Gaelic Grounds, won a free about 30 metres out which David Moran, just back from Australia, elected to take.

That in itself was a surprise as his striking all afternoon hadn't been crisp and Declan Quill had already landed three points from frees.

Still, it was a kick that favoured a right-footer and Moran stood up to it knowing that a point would probably win his club their first ever provincial title. The kick hung in the wind, however, and hovered above the square, almost coming to a standstill in mid-air before dropping vertically for Quill to get a fist to it and punch a goal, almost out of nothing.

A quick exchange of glances between referee Maurice Condon and both his umpires soon pinpricked the celebrations as Quill was adjudged to have been in the square when the ball flew into Kilmurry/Ibrickane 'airspace'.

In this opinion, at first glance, it looked like a goal though perhaps the replay will reveal otherwise.

Naturally, the Kerins O'Rahillys players were livid, a feeling only compounded some seconds later when Kilmurry substitute Evan Talty nonchalantly kicked the winner from which there was certainly no comeback.

Ignoring a possible foul on Barry John Keane at the other end, Condon then brought the match to an immediate conclusion, sparking more fury from the Kerry club champions.

At least two officials and the same number of supporters confronted Condon as he made his way off the field and if it wasn't for the vigilance and protective instincts of Micheal Quirke who escorted the Waterford official, in the presence of local stewards, off the field the situation could have turned nasty.

Quirke was on the wrong side of the decision but he had the presence of mind and leadership to do what he did and avert further conflict, something he should be commended for.

For Quill, the anger couldn't be contained and he was certain the score should have stood as he recounted his footwork in the build-up.

"It was a goal, straight and simple. I waited outside the square. I thought the ball was going over the bar then when I saw it hanging up short, I went for it. And then I was inside the square," he reflected.

Ironically, the decision came just 24 hours after the GAA announced that experimental playing rules will be used during the forthcoming leagues, one of which is thought to be a modification of the square -ball rule.

Kerins O'Rahillys will despair at the turn of events. Almost 12 months ago, they lost the Kerry championship final replay to a last-minute Mid Kerry penalty when they led by two points. Now the dose was being doubled.

As much as they will lay the blame at the officials' door, they should make themselves more accountable for their failure to have any impact when the wind favoured them in the first half.

Rearguard

Kilmurry/Ibrickane had managed to stay in touch and keep parity, 0-4 each, as they turned to take advantage of the wind that blew out towards the city end. That rearguard action was critical to the Atlantic seaboard club's success.

"We lost it in the first half," acknowledged the Tralee side's captain Quirke afterwards. "We played heroically down to 14 men in that second half against an experienced, battle-hardened team. We kicked too many wides (nine in that first half) and that's the bottom line."

He was philosophical about the defeat and was willing to be optimistic even minutes after the final whistle.

"They are a seriously experienced side at this level and we are not. We're a young side at this level. We just came up short. That's life, that's the way it goes.

"It's the second kick in the stomach we're after taking as a team," reflected the midfielder.

"I was away during the week and I was reading Ronan O'Gara's autobiography and he talks about losing Heineken Cup finals. They lost two and came back to win two. So who knows maybe we can do something next year."

Kilmurry were as battle-hardened as their opponents suggested and once again their defence was magnificent, superbly marshalled by captain and centre-back Enda Coughlan.

In three Munster club championship games, they have conceded just 17 points, a serious reflection of how they defend.

It looked grim for them early on when they trailed by three points inside eight minutes, a significant lead in such testing conditions.

One of those trio of points was scored by Moran who started at full-forward but gradually made his way out to provide plenty of energy around midfield for the Strand Road outfit.

Kilmurry hung in however and midway through the half they were level as Coughlan and Declan Callinan made the opening for Stephen Moloney to score the equalising point (0-3 each).

They had the temerity to then take the lead through a Johnny Daly free as O'Rahillys repeatedly got turned over in possession and only a well-worked Moran point from a quick Quill free spared them some blushes as half-time approached.

Robust

The second half was robust, manly and, most of the time, honest. The Tralee side lost John O'Connor to two yellow cards in quick succession on 36 minutes but it only served to strengthen their resolve.

Kilmurry half-back Shane Hickey fired over a superb point on the three-quarter mark to level it again at 0-5 each after a Quill free had given the Kerry side a slim cushion.

It looked to be heading for a draw, then a Kerins O'Rahillys win but Kilmurry manager Michael McDermott sensed fate was at play after their defeat in last year's final to Dromcollogher-Broadford.

"It took us 12 months to get back here and we knew we would be in a battle. But we knew we had to put them under pressure out the field to stop the quality ball going in," figured McDermott.

Getting breaks like that disallowed goal was as much as they deserved.

"Last year we came here to a Munster final and the breaks didn't go for us all. When your day is in, it's in. I always say fate plays a huge part in everything. It's a wonderful achievement for a west Clare club to win two titles in a decade."

No one could disagree with that.

Scorers -- Kilmurry/Ibrickane: I McInerney 0-2 (0-2f), P O'Connor, S Hickey, J Daly, E Talty, S Moloney all 0-1 each. Kerins O'Rahillys: D Quill 0-3( 0-3f), D Moran 0-2, J O'Connor 0-1 (0-1f).

Kilmurry/Ibrickane -- D O'Brien; D Hickey, M Killeen, M McMahon; S Hickey, E Coughlan, D Callinan; P O'Connor, P O'Dwyer; M Hogan, I McInerney, S Moloney; M O'Dwyer, O O'Dwyer, J Daly. Subs: E Talty for Hogan (41), N Downes for O O'Dwyer (48), P O'Dwyer for Moloney (54), M McCarthy for Daly (60),

Kerins O'Rahillys -- D Hennessy; P Begley, M O'Shea, B O'Shea; G O'Grady, B Moran, R O'Callaghan; G Duffy, M Quirke; J O'Connor, B J Keane, T O'Sullivan; B J Walsh, D Moran, D Quill.

Ref -- M Condon (Waterford).

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport