Wednesday 24 January 2018

Egan's point lifts Kerry


Ciaran Clarke of Antrim tackles Kerry's Sean Weir at Parnell Park last Saturday
Ciaran Clarke of Antrim tackles Kerry's Sean Weir at Parnell Park last Saturday

Supersub John Egan was hailed a 'born leader' after firing a historic match-winning point to send Kerry up to Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League.

The St Brendan's man was only introduced in the 57th minute but scored the injury-time point that separated the sides at Parnell Park.

Few could gripe about Kerry going up having won their division for the past two seasons but falling to Offaly in last year's promotion/relegation tie.

A year on, they made up for that though they had to do it the hard way after slipping eight points off the pace at half-time.

But Colm Harty sniped two goals while Shane Nolan was excellent with 0-8. But Egan was the name on everyone's lips afterwards as he shot the historic point that secured Kerry's win.

"John is a born leader," said Kerry manager Eamonn Kelly. "We had the belief to try him again today and I'm absolutely delighted he got the winner.

"The odds were stacked against a 2A team going up. We had to do it the hard way with back-to-back league titles. Antrim, in fairness, gave it a right rattle and we thought we might have missed our chance after the first half, we had a lot of missed goal chances."

Kerry trailed 0-11 to 0-3 at half-time but weren't as poor as the scoreline suggests. They played into a gale-force wind and racked up nine wides as well as three goal opportunities.

Harty's goals came in the 44th and 55th minutes and Kerry did take a brief lead with nine minutes to go. But it was Egan's 71st-minute score that ultimately separated them.

Scorers - Kerry: S Nolan 0-8 (5f), C Harty 2-0, M O'Leary 0-4, D Collins, J Griffin, P Kelly and J Egan 0-1 each. Antrim: P Shiels 0-7 (7f), PJ O'Connell 1-2, C Clarke 0-3 (1f), N McAuley, N McManus, M Bradley, M Donnelly, C Johnson and M Dudley 0-1 each.

Kerry: S Murphy; D Fitzell, P Costello, B Murphy; S Weir, D Dineen, D Collins; J Griffin, P Kelly; C Harty, S Nolan, M O'Leary; M Boyle, P Boyle, K Carmody. Subs: J Egan for Carmody (57), J Flaherty for P Boyle (63).

Antrim: C O'Connell; O McFadden, N McAuley, A Graffin; E McAlonan, N McManus, C McKinley; E Campbell, M Bradley; P Shiels, C Carson, D McKernan; PJ O'Connell, M Donnelly, C Clarke. Subs: C Johnson for McAlonan (h-t), M Dudley for Carson (43), D Hamill for Bradley (59).

Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny).

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