Kerry SFC Final
Courtesy of GAA.ie
East Kerry 2-10
Mid Kerry 0-15
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park
Goals from Paudie Clifford and Luke Crowley were the platform for East Kerry to successfully defend their Kerry County SFC title, albeit was a close-run thing at the end as Mid Kerry hunted a late equaliser.
In a repeat of last year’s final – and the 2020 decider – East Kerry might have been expected to win their fourth county title in five years with a little more breathing room, but Mid Kerry never threw in the towel.
An even if lacklustre opening 25 minutes had the teams deadlocked at 0-4 apiece before Darragh Roche set up Paudie Clifford for a cool finish past Sean Coffey to give the champions the lead for the first time.
Under heavy skies and occasional heavy rain, East Kerry finished the half with points from David Clifford and Roche to lead 1-6 to 0-5 at half time, a lead that felt it was worth twice that as Mid Kerry had placed with a strong breeze in the opening period.
An early exchange of points at the start of the second half was followed by Mid Kerry’s best period up to then, with two Eanna O’Connor pointed frees and a third from midfielder Gavin Horan closing the gap to just a point, 1-7 to 0-9.
It was still only a two-point game when substitute Luke Crowley drilled home the champions second goal with his very first touch after coming on, but Mid Kerry still weren’t ready to concede defeat without a fight.
Despite Mid Kerry losing full back Nathan Breen to injury after 18 minutes, they still defended heroically, restricting David Clifford to just two points from play, and Paudie to that goal, with the Fossa brothers held as much as Mid Kerry would have hoped.
Roche and Donal O’Sullivan pointed for the champions, but Mid Kerry produced a storming finish with points from O’Connor (two frees), O’Grady, Mike Breen, Sean O’Brien and Liam Carey to bring the game to a nail-biting conclusion, but try and they did, Mid Kerry couldn’t eke out an equalising point or a winning goal.
Scorers for East Kerry: D Roche 0-5 (3fs), D Clifford 0-3 (1f), P Clifford 1-0, L Crowley 1-0, D O’Sullivan 0-2.
Scorers for Mid Kerry: E O’Connor 0-6 (6fs), G O’Grady 0-2, F Clifford 0-2 (1f), M Breen 0-1, S O’Brien 0-1, G Horan 0-1, C Burke 0-1, L Carey 0-1
East Kerry: Brian Kelly (Legion), Cian Lynch (Glenflesk), Chris O’Leary (Kilcummin), Dara Callaghan (Kilcummin), Cian Gammell (Legion), Jack Sherwood (Firies), Dan O’Brien (Glenflesk), Kieran Murphy (Kilcummin), Ronan Buckley (Listry), Darragh Lyne (Legion), Paudie Clifford (Fossa), Patrick D’Arcy (Glenflesk), David Clifford (Fossa), Darragh Roche (Glenflesk), Dónal O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan).
Subs: Niall Donohue (Firies) for D Callaghan (24), Luke Crowley (Glenflesk) for P Darcy (45), Emmett O’Shea (Fossa) for D Lyne (53), Matt Rennie (Fossa) for K Murphy (53), Finbarr Murphy (Legion) for D O’Sullivan (58).
Mid Kerry: Seán Coffey (Beaufort), Pa Wrenn (Milltown/Castlemaine), Nathan Breen (Beaufort), David Mangan (Laune Rangers), David Roche (Milltown/Castlemaine), Mike Breen (Beaufort), Pa Kilkenny (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Seán O’Brien (Beaufort), Gavin Horan (Milltown/Castlemaine), Darren Houlihan (Cromane) Fiachra Clifford (Laune Rangers), Keith Evans (Keel), Gavan O’Grady (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Cillian Burke (Milltown/Castlemaine), Éanna O’Connor (Milltown/Castlemaine).
Subs: Ethan Coffey (Beaufort) for N Breen (inj, 18), Daire Cleary (Laune Rangers) for D Houlihan (39), Gearóid Hassett (Laune Rangers) for F Clifford (45), Jack Brosnan (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for G Horan (47), Liam Carey (Beaufort) for J Brosnan (inj, 53).
Referee: Paul Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys).