In the end it was all about ensuring we are in tomorrow’s semi final draw and though we laboured at times we were full value for our game win by two points against a spirited and courageous St Brendans side who battled to the final whistle.
St Brendans were forced to make 3 changes to their intended line up with Jack Barry, Kevin Shanahan and Cillian Fitzgerald being replaced by Brendan Poff, Sean Moloney and Alan O’Donoghue.
The opening minutes saw Brendans hit the first two points before a great catch and run by Gavin O’Brien saw us find the net when his initial shot was parried but finished to the net by David Moran who was up in support. Prior to this, we were dealt a blow when Cian Sayers fell awkwardly and had to be replaced after only 5 minutes – Tom Hoare entered the fray with Cormac Coffey taking his place in the more usual surroundings of wing back.
The next attack saw Tommy Walsh fire over and from the resultant kick out, Gavin again out fielded his opponent and offloading to Tom Hoare after a fine run, Tom found the net with a powerful drive. Jack Savage added a free shortly after and though Niall Sheehy replied in kind Tommy was on the end of a free kick from Jack to punch to the net leaving us nine points to the good, 3-02 to 0-02. Jack, who was unerring all night from frees then pointed a “45” and it looked like it was going to be a one sided affair from there on. However, St Brendans had other ideas and a goal on 23 minutes from Niall Sheehy, when their initial attack was stymied, saw them finish with a flourish and go in at half time five points in arrears, 3-07 to 1-08. A feature of their play was the strong running from deep from the likes of Brandon Barrett, Diarmuid O’Connor and the ever dangerous Alan O’Donoghue but we defended well and never allowed them to penetrate our defence.
The second half saw us struggle as we too often took the wrong option or seemed to panic in possession close to goal, lacking the composure we showed against Dr Crokes in the previous round. St Brendans chipped away at the lead and three points in a row coming up to the 50th minute saw them reduce the deficit to two points; Barry John then broke through and when his floated ball across the square was finished to the net by Gavin O’Brien it looked like we had weathered the storm – however, the referee ruled a square ball and when another move broke down, Alan O’Donoghue was on hand to reduce the margin to the minimum with only 8 minutes plus added time left.
A promising move from Brendans was thwarted by a great block down by substitute John C O’Connor and when Eoghan O’Brien came up to take the resultant “45” extra time was looming – however his shot was short and taken superbly in the air by David Moran – a quick inter change of passing saw the ball end up with Karl Mullins who fired over to allow some breathing space.
In one last attack, Tommy was the saviour this time, and with a numerical advantage as we surged forward the ball was eventually sent wide when a goal seemed most likely – it probably summed up our night but the time was up and referee Edmund Walsh signalled the end from the kick out.
The result sees us advance to the semi finals and whilst we were never going to emulate the heroics performed against Dr Crokes the display fell short of what was expected – credit to St Brendans for much of that but with two weeks to the semi finals there is much to work on if we are to have aspirations of taking the field in the final on 28th October.
Final score: Kerins O’Rahillys 3-11, St Brendans 1-15.
The semi final draw will take place tomorrow Sunday after the two remaining quarter finals take place in Killarney.
Team: Gary Kissane, Danny O’Sullivan, Ross O’Callaghan, Shane Brosnan, Cian Sayers, Karl Mullins ( 0-01), Ryan Carroll, David Moran ( 1-01), Con Barrett, Gavin O’Brien, Jack Savage ( 0-06fs), Cormac Coffey ( 0-01), Barry John Keane ( 0-01), Tommy Walsh ( 1-01), John Ferguson.
Subs: Tom Hoare ( 1-0), John C O’Connor, Gearóid Savage, Darragh McElligott,