Match Report - Junior Premier Final - Beaufort V Na Gaeil
Castleisland Mart Premier Junior Football Final: Beaufort win classic shoot-out with Na Gaeil after extra time
Beaufort 4-13 Na Gaeil 2-18 (after extra time)
By Murt Murphy
The County Junior Premier curtain raiser was one of those truly great county finals that neither Beaufort nor Na Gaeil deserved to lose but Beaufort prevailed by a point after extra time on a 4-13 to 2-18 score-line. It was an amazing game as Stefan Okunbor served notice to Kerry fans and Eamonn Fitzmaurice that he may be ready for senior duty.
It was a game that displayed what is best about football when it played the properly and both Beaufort and Na Gaeil deserve huge credit for battling it out, man to man in the trenches and it was the Mid Kerry side who prevailed by a single point.
Na Gaeil raced 0-4 to 0-0 in front inside the opening ten minutes, Jack Barry kicking a massive point but Beaufort got a goal from Fergal Hallissey after the Na Gaeil fullback line failed to deal with a Liam Carey cross.
Okunbor was brilliant at fullback and later at midfield as Na Gaeil lead 0-10 to 1-5 at half time as Beaufort only converted 46% of their chances while Na Gaeil were on 83% with Andrew Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor to the fore.
But Beaufort never panicked as is the wont of top flight sides and Na Gaeil did not score in the third quarter as Beaufort moved two clear. Na Gaeil thanks Diarmuid O’Connor and Darragh Carmody restored a two point leading entering injury time but Beaufort levelled through points from Liam Carey and Ciarán Kennedy.
Extra time was incredible as a Dara Devine goal and two points saw Na Gaeil move five points clear but Beaufort took advantage of poor defending to score two rapid goals from Ronan Murphy and Padraig Doona for an eight point swing.
Na Gaeil thanks to two Devine frees cut the gap to a point but Beaufort with Nathan Breen, Mike Breen, Ronan Murphy and Liam Carey outstanding then struck the killer blow when the Na Gaeil keeper was caught in no man’s land and Ciarán Kennedy finished to the net.
But Jack Barry refused to give up and when Andrew Barry crossed, Diarmuid O’Connor finished to the Beaufort net and it was a one point game and one minute left. Na Gaeil and Okunbor were in possession when the referee blew for full time and Beaufort were winners but it was some exhibition of attacking football and a feast for the large crowd who witnessed a classic.
Beaufort: Fergal Hallissey (1-4, 3 frees, ’45), Ciarán Kennedy (1-3), Liam Carey (0-4, 2 frees), Ronan Murphy and Padraig Doona (1-0 each), Niall O’Connor and Daragh Coffey (0-1 each)
Na Gaeil: Dara Devine ( 1-6, 6 frees), Diarmuid O’Connor ( 1-2), Jack Barry and Andrew Barry ( 0-2 each ), I McCarthy, Eoin O’Neill, Dan O’Connor, Kieran O’Donovan, Eoin Walsh and Seamie O’Neill ( 0-1 each)
Teams and Scorers:
Na Gaeil: Timmy Culloty; Ryan O’Neill, Kieran Dineen, Fergal Barry; Eoin O’Neill, , Andrew Barry, Eoin Doody; Jack Barry, Stefan Okunbor; Kieran O’Donovan , Diarmuid O’Connor, Ian McCarthy; Diarmuid Herlihy, Dan O’Connor, Dara Devine
Subs: Darragh Carmody for Diarmuid Herlihy ( 38), Eoin Walsh for Eoin O’Neill ( 48), Dan Goggin for Kieran O’Donovan ( 48), Eoghan Sheehy for Dan O’Connor ( 48), Seamie O’Neill for Darragh Carmody ( 58), Colm Lyons for Fergal Barry ( e/t), Jamie Lowham for Ian McCarthy ( e/t) Diarmuid Herlihy for Kieran Dineen ( e/t)
BEAUFORT: Mike Moriarty; Michael J O’Connor, Gerard Hartnett, Sean Kelliher; James O’Reilly, Mike Breen, Jonathon Kissane; Nathan Breen , Ronan Murphy; Padraig Doona , Liam Carey , Fergal Hallissey; Niall O’Connor , Ciarán Kennedy ( 0-1) , Ronan Ferris
Subs: Darragh Coffey for Ronan Ferris (35), Ian McGillycuddy for James O’Reilly (52), Cormac O’Connor for James O’Reilly (e/t), Pádraig O’Sullivan for Liam Carey (e/t)
Referee: Eddie Walsh (Rathmore)