An epic encounter in Tralee, adorned by stunning displays on both sides — none more so than Kerin’s O’Rahilly’s David Moran.
However it was his inter-county colleague David Clifford who provided the decisive contributions in extra-time as East Kerry prevailed against their crestfallen opponentsfrom Tralee.
The Strand Road side lost captain and key inside forward Barry John Keane to a straight red card early in the second period following an off-the-ball incident, and that cost Mike Quirke’s side dearly.
But if club sides are supposed to have the edge in terms of team spirit, no-one told East Kerry, who looked in trouble at several junctures, but kept their nerve to forced extra-time — and allow Clifford add a pair of winning points.
Strand Road, inspired by the brilliant fielding of David Moran and superb play from Tommy Walsh on the edge of the square, had the dream start, with a goal from Keane in the opening minute.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for East Kerry: Karl Mullins (10) and Jack Savage (14) also netted and O’Rahilly’s had raced 3-2 to 0-4 clear by end of the opening quarter.
But Clifford, Mike Foley, and Ronan Buckley had closed the gap to 3-2 to 0-9 at half-time.
East Kerry had a gilt-edged chance to equalise. They were awarded a penalty early in the second-half, but O’Rahilly’s goalkeeper, Gary Kissane, denied Paudie Clifford.
The tempo began to rise when Clifford converted a long-range free and the gap was down to one. O’Rahilly’s responded with points from Savage and Walsh, to lead 3-4 to 0-10 with 13 minutes remaining.
But scores from Clifford (2), Foley, and Liam Kearney edged East Kerry a point clear with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Ryan Carroll and Tommy Walsh gave O’Rahilly’s the lead again, before Shane Cronin popped up to force extra-time. Both sides added three points in the opening period of extra-time, with Clifford and Moran landing sensational scores (3-9 to 0-18).
Rahilly’s then recorded three wides, before Clifford sealed the deal for East Kerry, with two late points.
Scorers for East Kerry: D Clifford (0-8, 3f), M Foley (0-4), D Roche (0- 3, 2f), L Kearney, S Cronin, R Buckley, B O’Donoghue, P Clifford ’45’( 0-1 each).
Scorers for Kerins O’Rahilly’s: J Savage (1-4, 0-3f), K Mullins (1-1), BJ Keane (1-0), T Walsh (0-2), D Moran and R Carroll (1f) (0-1 each).
EAST KERRY: J Devane (Spa), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), S Courtney (Glenflesk), N Donohue (Firies), D O’Donoghue (Spa), J Sherwood (Firies), P Warren (Gneevguilla), L Kearney (Spa), S Cronin (Spa), R Buckley (Listry), P Clifford (Fossa), B O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), D Clifford (Fossa), D Roche (Glenflesk), E Cronin (Spa).
Subs: M Foley (Spa) for Sean Courtney (23), P Doyle (Gneevguilla) for B O’Donoghue (58), P De Brun (Firies) for R Buckley (59), B Lynch ( Spa) for P Warren ( 72) B O’Donoghue (Glenflesk) for S Cronin (76).
KERINS O’RAHILLY’S:G Kissane; D McElligott , R O’Callaghan, C Coffey: R Carroll, K Mullins, S Brosnan; D Moran, G O’Brien; T Hoare, J Ferguson, G O’Brien; J Savage, T Walsh, BJ Keane.
Subs: C Hayes for T Hoare (37), G Savage for J Ferguson (57), S Walsh (extra-time) for red card, J Ferguson for C Hayes (74), D O’Sullivan for K Mullins (79).
Referee: B Griffin (Clounmacon).