The most significant event of our senior club championship game on Sunday took place before a ball was kicked, when we lost the toss and Dingle signalled their intention to play with the aid of the strong breeze.
A team, whose self confidence has been dented in recent weeks by defeats to Rathmore and Dr Crokes needed to start on the front foot, gain momentum and get the large crowd behind them.
Instead we found ourselves facing the elements and a non stop wave of attacks as Dingle sought to put up a match winning score - we defended well, broke at pace and picked off good scores of our own.
Dingle had the first two points but Tom Hoare found Conor Hayes following a good run and Conor split the posts for our first score; Dingle had raced into a 6 point to 1 lead by the 12th minute with Kerry senior panellist Dylan Geaney very much to the fore, before Tom Hoare, from a free lifted the siege.
Tom O’Sullivan had points either side of a Ben Hanafin score, before Rob O’Connor effected a fine save to keep us in the game; however, Conor Geaney fired over from a free with further scores flowing to leave the score at 0-10 to 0-05 by the 28th minute. The following five minutes proved most damaging as we conceded a further 4 points without reply to leave us trailing at the break by 9, 0-14 to 0-05.
We dominated the opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half and despite hitting a couple of wides we added 3 points without reply through Ben, Darragh and David - Dingle were finding it hard to make any inroads up front due to the efforts of Shane, Darragh and most especially Jake, who belied his tender years popping up all over defence to intercept, block and tackle ensuring we kept our shape and thwarted the best efforts of the westerners.
Paul Geaney was awarded a free in front of goal but his shot was mis-hit and dropped into the grateful arms of Ross who essayed upfield in a counter attack - unfortunately an interception left us open at the back and Paul Geaney found the net. This was a huge blow given how we had played up to then but though Conor raised another white flag, disaster again struck when a sideline ball, played back to Rob was intercepted, leaving Conor Geaney with the simplest of tasks in rolling the ball into an empty net.
The result was now a foregone conclusion and we ran the bench from here to the finish, rewarding those squad members who have made a big effort throughout the year.
We will now face a relegation play off with near neighbours Na Gaeil, to determine our senior status for the coming year.
As this contest will result in another Tralee side competing at intermediate level, we again raise the issue of having only 8 senior clubs in the county - large urban areas like Tralee need teams to be competing at the highest level possible for the good of the county and football in general.
The play off has been slated for Nov 5th but should both sides exit the county championship early, the tie is most likely to be played much earlier.
The campaign has seen us come up short, losing all 3 games but having lined out without 8 of the starters from last year’s All Ireland semi final vs eventual winners Kilmacud Crokes, we are a team in transition and we commend the players and mentors for their efforts to date.
We wish Dingle all the best in their quest for county honours in the coming weeks.