Credit Union Co League Div 1
This Round 10 tie on Saturday evening saw the opposing sides enter the game with very different priorities. The home side needed both points on offer as they sat in joint second place with Austin Stacks, Dingle and Dr Crokes, just one point behind table-toppers Rathmore. On the other hand, St Mary’s were playing mostly for pride as they were anchored to the bottom of the table and already relegated. A win transpired for the Strand Road men after an early second half penalty extended their led to a commanding eight points and the Cahirciveen men were never able to eat into the home side’s advantage enough to give themselves a fighting chance.
Tom Hoare opening the scoring from play for Strand Road and John Ferguson then marked his return from injury with a fine point from 30 metres. Indeed, Ferguson proved to be very influential before he was replaced midway through the second half and his return is very timely with the draw for the first round of the championship taking place on Monday evening next. The teams then exchanged points from frees before two points in quick succession from St Marys made it three points apiece after 12 minutes. Ryan Carroll then picked out Ferguson with a pinpoint kicked pass and the centre forward was again unerring from 30 metres. David Murphy’s superb tackle then forced a turnover and the move culminated in a converted free by Hoare. The South Kerrymen responded with a pointed free of their own, but another turnover by Danny O’Sullivan saw Ross O’Callaghan feed Ferguson and this time he split the posts from 35 metres. St Marys responded in the best possible style by putting together a defence-splitting move and the final shot was rifled home, giving Gary Kissane no chance. Suddenly, the visitors were 1-4 to 0-6 in front, but this drew an instant reaction from O’Rahillys as they swept down the right with Ferguson passing to Hoare who found Murphy who had sallied all the way from corner back, but finished like a crack corner forward when he crashed the ball into the top of the net to restore their two-point lead. Ferguson added to the lead, from 40 metres this time after good work from Rory O’Connor and Gearoid Dillane and although St Marys responded with a converted free, fine defending by O’Sullivan and Carroll gave the Strand Road men a platform to attack and the remaining five minutes of the half belonged to them as they kicked four points without reply. Firstly, Sean Walsh and Ferguson combined to place Hoare who slotted over and then Dillane dissected the posts from 45 metres after very patient build-up play. Another point followed from Hoare from 20 metres and after a foul on Paidi Griffin and Ferguson converted a free from the hands from 35 metres to complete the scoring for the first half with O’Rahillys now 1-11 to 1-5 in front.
St Marys had the benefit of the steady breeze in the second half and after an O’Rahillys’ move broke down in the final third, the South Kerryman pieced together a fine move down the left flank before kicking a fine point. However, Strand Road swept back downfield and Ferguson’s attempt to pick out Gearóid Savage was only prevented by a foul on the corner forward and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which Carroll placed low to the keeper’s left to push O’Rahillys eight points in front. Tom Hoare then added another after a pass from Savage and Carroll was unlucky to see his 18-metre effort just fly past the post after he was picked out by Darragh McElligott. Carroll then had to leave the field through injury and his absence seemed to breath some life into the St Marys’ challenge as they kicked three unanswered points to make it a six-point game by the 51st minute. Johnny Keane ended the drought for O’Rahillys with a converted free and another fine passing move released McElligott who split the posts from 20 metres, before Dillane fisted another point to restore the nine-point gap. St Mary’s pulled a point back but with five minutes left, a flowing move up the left wing saw the ball floated across the square and Dillane dived full-length to punch the ball home – his bravery resulting in an injury which caused him to leave the field shortly afterwards. In scoring terms, the last four minutes belonged to St Marys as they kicked three points without reply, but O’Rahillys had emptied their bench at that stage and Aaron Roche, Donagh O’Brien, Gearóid Hartnett, Rob O’Connor and Barry Foley all got valuable gametime and showed to good effect in the process.
O’ Rahillys’ victory was matched however by wins for each of the other three sides in joint second place and with Rathmore favoured to beat Kilcummin on Sunday, it’s looks like it will be “as you were” entering the final round of games on Sunday 18th August next. On that day, O’Rahillys will be away to Kilcummin, Crokes at home to Dingle, Stacks away to St Marys, and Rathmore away to also relegated Na Gaeil.
Kerins O’Rahillys: G Kissane; D Murphy, R O’Callaghan, D O’Sullivan; R Carroll, C Coffey, D McElligott; S Walsh, S Brosnan; P Griffin, J Ferguson, R O’Connor; G Savage, T Hoare, G Dillane. Subs: S Foley, J Keane, A Roche, D O’Brien, G Hartnett, R O’Connor, J Foley, A Mangan, B Foley.