A magnificent Munster Club JFC final went to Beaufort, of Kerry, after extra-time in Mallow yesterday, but even Dromtarriffe diehards in the 3,377 attendance could have had no complaints. Far from the bright lights of the summer, the two sides played out a superbly entertaining game, even as the night closed in.
Beaufort defended the scoreboard end in the first-half, which meant Dromtarriffe had the slight breeze in their favour.
The Kerry side had a late, late withdrawal — Liam Carey appeared to pull a hamstring in the warm-up and was replaced by Daragh Coffey — but it didn’t faze them. In their very first attack, Padraig Doona picked out captain, Nathan Breen, up supporting his forwards, and Breen rolled his shot into the corner of the net.
Beaufort hit a couple of poor wides and Dromtarriffe surged upfield. Daniel O’Keeffe hit a good point for the Cork side, but then they hit a couple of poor wides. Beaufort began to exert a grip on midfield, however, and came close to another goal, before Mike Breen and Doona hit points.
O’Keeffe pointed a free and then Dromtarriffe struck: on 12 minutes. Midfielder Seamus O’Sullivan, switched to full-forward, won a high ball and finished to the net. O’Keeffe pointed from long-range immediately afterwards and it was 1-3 to 1-2 in favour of the Cork side.
Dromtarriffe were now defending well and frustrating Beaufort up-front, though they weren’t turning that good work into scores, until O’Keeffe pointed another free, on 23 minutes. The Kerry champions had their first score in 15 minutes when Ciaran Kennedy pointed just afterwards, and it was 1-4 to 1-3.
The Cork side butchered a goal-scoring chance in the closing stages of the half, but O’Keeffe hit another free to stretch their lead; yet another free, from Shane Collins, made it a three-point game, and it was all Dromtarriffe.
Deep in injury-time, they struck again. Mark O’Connor burst through and shot for goal, and Seamus O’Sullivan was on hand to bury the rebound: 2-6 to 1-3 at half-time, and Dromtarriffe left the field to a standing ovation.
Beaufort resumed with a Kennedy point, but hit wides either side of that score: by contrast, Conor O’Callaghan had a clever Dromtarriffe point from the kick-out. Fergal Hallissey responded for Beaufort immediately and the game was really alive, 2-7 to 1-5, on 36 minutes.
Hallissey added another point for Beaufort, and O’Keeffe responded with a fine, pointed free. Denis Donoghue chipped in with an improvised snapshot, and Dromtarriffe led 2-9 to 1-6.
However, Beaufort swept upfield and Doona dropped a ball in the Dromtarriffe goalmouth. The defence couldn’t control it, and Ciaran Kennedy swooped in to smash it home, leaving three between them.
With the rain spilling down, Beaufort began to swing, and Niall O’Connor hit a good point; then, a defensive mix-up allowed Beaufort a sight of goal, though Hallissey came away with a point: 2-9 to 2-8 on 45 minutes.
Kennedy struck with the leveller and Beaufort were now on top, their opponents struggling to get upfield against the breeze. The two Breens were dominating in the middle of the field for the Kerry side and Hallissey was getting on a lot of ball, also.
The latter got Beaufort’s lead point with eight minutes left, but O’Keeffe hit a superb point from the wing to tie the game once again.
Hallissey popped up with another lead point, with four minutes on the clock, only for O’Callaghan to strike a fine levelling score: 2-11 apiece on 59 minutes. Both sides had a sniff of a winning score, Conor Cremin’s last-gasp block for Dromtarriffe seeing us into extra-time.
Both sides began to flag in the heavy, underfoot conditions, but Beaufort were on top: Doona managed a point after six minutes of extra-time, but the Kerrymen also hit four wides to underline their dominance. Hallissey added one more point before half-time in extra-time, 2-13 to 2-11.
Dromtarriffe wouldn’t die. O’Keeffe hit a free on the resumption, as players on both sides struggled to keep going, and neither team managed another score. Dromtarriffe ended the game with a last-ditch effort at an equaliser, but it trailed agonisingly wide.
Scorers for Beaufort:
F. Hallissey (0-6, 1 free), C. Kennedy (1-3) N. Breen (1-0); P. Doona (0-2); N. O’Connor, M. Breen (0-1 each).
Scorers for Dromtarriffe:
D. O’Keeffe (0-8, 0-5 frees); S. O’Sullivan (2-0); C. O’Callaghan (0-2); D. Donoghue, S. Collins (free) (0-1 each).
M. Moriarty, MJ O’Connor, G. Hartnett, S. Kelliher, J. O’Sullivan, J. Kissane, C. O’Connor, N. Breen (c), M. Breen, P. Doona, D. Coffey, F. Hallissey, N. O’Connor, C. Kennedy, R. Ferris.
I. McGillicuddy for J. O’Sullivan (39); P. O’Sullivan for Coffey (55); S. Foley for MJ O’Connor (59); D. Healy for Kissane (blood, 65-7); J. O’Reilly for C. O’Connor (77).
D. Mann, T. Howard, C. Cremin, S. Howard, C. Mahony, J. Murphy, B. O’Keeffe, A. Buckley, S. O’Sullivan (c), E. Murphy, D. Donoghue, M. O’Connor, C. O’Callaghan, S. Collins, D. O’Keeffe.
D. O’Connor for Collins (45); E. Mirneagh for Mahony (46); M. Healy for O’Connor (50); G. Murphy for Donoghue (57); K. O’Sullivan for E. Murphy (black card, 69).
D. Grogan (Tipperary).