West Kerry proved too strong for our U-21s in this first round tie played in Strand Road this evening.
Both teams started tentatively with scores at a premium, the sides tied after 14 minutes on 2 points each, our scores coming from Sean Griffin in the first minute and Shane McElligott soon afterwards from a free. West Kerry began to dominate however from here to the half time whistle where they had the upper hand at midfield with good support from their centre back and they hit 2-02 without reply in the following 10 minutes – we continued to scrap for possession and with captain Karl Mullins, now at midfield we had the next 3 points, Karl firing over after a good run and Kevin Johnson with two pointed frees – we retired at the break, 7 points in arrears – 2-06 to 0-05.
The second half saw West Kerry continue to dominate scoring 6 points without reply with 3 coming from their midfielder and 2 points from their full forward – we continued to battle and were rewarded on the 14th minute when full forward James O’Connor palmed to the net following good work from Karl Mullins and Rory O’Connor. A strong run from midfield from Karl saw him find the net to leave us seven points in arrears and when he again found his range to raise a white flag, we had the deficit down to six- 2-12 to 2-06. West Kerry again raised the siege with a score from their wing forward but in another attack Rory O’Connor outjumped the keeper to fist to the net to leave just five points between us with 6 minutes plus injury time to be played. This was as good as it got as the westerners continued to drive forward and though we matched them score for score to the end it was not enough and we finished five points down, 2-17 to 3-09 at the final whistle.
The loss of senior panellists Tom Hoare and Gearóid Savage was too much to bear and on the night the divisional side were deserving winners. Karl Mullins along with Sean Collins, Rory O’Connor, Darragh & Shane McElligott were our stand out performers and never gave up in a game we were always chasing.
Unfortunately West Kerry were unable to furnish a team sheet in advance of the game.
Team: Cillian Moran, Aidan Mangan, Kieran Mangan, Seán Collins, Rory O’Connor (1-0), Karl Mullins ( 1-02), Jordan Foley, Darragh McElligott, Donagh O’Brien ( 0-01), Shane McElligott ( 0-02), Padraig Griffin, Seán Griffin ( 0-01), Gearóid Dillane, James O’Connor ( 1-0), Kevin Johnson ( 0-03).