Kerins O’Rahillys B 3-11 Dr Crokes C 1-15
Our Senior B team looked to be very much up against it in the early stages of their clash with Dr Crokes. The Killarney side had three early points from play and although O’Rahillys replied with a pointed free from Darragh Fitzgerald and a ‘45’ from Donagh O’Brien, Crokes soon added another 1-1 from play to lead 1-4 to 0-2 after the first quarter. Conor Hayes then breathed life into the Strand Road challenge when he goaled after being played through by Barry Foley and although Crokes replied with a free, it was O’Rahillys who controlled the game up to half time and they made sure that their superiority was reflected on the scoreboard. Firstly, Fitzgerald embarked on a fine solo run before finding O’Brien who slotted over and then they reversed roles with O’Brien the provider as Fitzgerald pointed to make it a one-point game. They were soon two points to the good when a fantastic diagonal ball from Gearóid Hartnett found Kevin Johnson-Horgan and when the goalkeeper could only parry his shot, O’Brien followed up to slam the rebound to the net. Crokes were stung by this reversal and it took a great stop by Rob O’Connor at the expense of a ‘45’ to preserve the home side’s two-point lead, but Strand Road then extracted the maximum dividend in the 27th minute when Foley again found Hayes who finished to the far corner of the net. Hayes then notched the last score of the opening half when he dropped his shoulder, turned inside and floated over a lovely point to leave the half time score at 3-5 to 1-5 in O’Rahillys’ favour.
Dr Crokes stormed into the second half, kicking two points in the first two minutes and it took two
superb saves at point blank range from O’Connor to keep the score at 3-5 to 1-7. Then, Kieran Mangan won a ball in defence and Strand Road transitioned through O’Brien and Rory Molloy before Hayes restored the five-point gap. It was short-lived though as Crokes kicked three points from play inside the next four minutes to reduce the margin to two points once more. Back came O’Rahillys and Jason O’Leary placed Hayes who was again unerring in his point-taking and four minutes later, Johnson-Horgan fielded O’Brien’s ‘45’ and slotted over the bar to restore the Blues’ four-point margin. It wasn’t to last long however as Crokes rattled over two points in reply to make it 3-8 to 1-12 after 24 minutes, but the home side responded again with two points inside the next minute. The first came when Fitzgerald found Hayes who jinked inside to raise a white flag and O’Brien then gained possession and ran at the heart of the Crokes defence before guiding the ball between the sticks. This seemed to give Strand Road some breathing space at 3-10 to 1-12, but Crokes pointed almost immediately to make it a one-score game once more. Undeterred, the Blues swept back downfield and with three minutes to go, O’Brien found Hayes who went on a mazy left to right solo before flighting the ball over the black spot for what proved to be the insurance score. Try as they might, Crokes could only find two points in reply and stout defending from Tom McGrath, Darragh McElligott, Cillian Gallagher and skipper Kieran Mangan meant that this time O’Rahillys preserved their two-point lead and saw the game out to move onto six league points.
Kerins O’Rahillys: R O’Connor; T McGrath, K Mangan, B Foley, J O’Leary, G Hartnett, R Molloy, D McElligott, D O’Brien (1-3,1’45’), C Gallagher, K J-Horgan (0-1), D Fitzgerald (0-2, 1f), C Hayes (2-5).