There were emotional scenes on the Kilmallock sideline when referee Barry Tiernan blew his final whistle and confirmed Oughterard’s spot in the All-Ireland Club IFC final.
But one emotion which wasn’t present was shock.
“I gave out the calendar for the year to the lads and the last date I had on it was the All-Ireland semi-final,” manager Tommy Finnerty said after this dramatic three-point win.
“The last date I had was the semi-final because I knew there was no need to put the final down because if we won the semi-final we would be in the final.”
The statement was very matter-of-fact. No cockiness or pomposity, just a self-assured confidence from a manager who believed in the potential of side.
Paul Walsh displayed such confidence when scoring his side’s crucial goal.
Walsh couldn’t believe his luck when Templenoe ‘keeper Dan Cahalane hit a clearance straight into his hands. The former Galway minor then held his nerve to strike past the retreating Cahalane from 25 metres to put his side 1-7 to 0-9 ahead.
“Just push up on them, don’t give them any time on the ball,” was how Walsh described their path to victory. “We knew if we ran at them, we’d get the rewards and thank God we did.”
That goal gave Oughterard their first lead of the match and after working so hard to get ahead, they were determined not to let the advantage slip.
“We were chasing the game the whole time so to get ahead, we knew we didn’t want to let them back into the game,” Walsh added.
Despite Kerry panellists Tadhg Morley, Gavin Crowley, Adrian Spillane, and Killian Spillane in their ranks, Templenoe couldn’t get back into the game as the Connacht champions booked their Croke Park date with Monaghan’s Magheracloone.
Throughout the hour, the underdogs weren’t just happy to contain the Kerry men, they wanted to put the game to them.
This approach was highlighted in the first-half with the superb team move which resulted in centre-back Ronan Molloy levelling the game at 0-3 apiece after 17 minutes. The score showed that the men from the west had the skills to live with their highly-rated opponents.
But they already knew that.
“We knew we had done the hard work at training,” Molloy said.
Oughterard didn’t have it all their own way though. In fact, Templenoe were the better side for large parts of Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final in Kilmallock. Five of their six starting forwards scored in the first half.
The Connacht men had no forward score from play in the opening 30 minutes, needing Molloy and wing-back Ryan Monaghan to come up the field to ensure the deficit was only two points, 0-7 to 0-5 at the change of ends.
It was Templenoe who came out stronger after the break, but they only managed to score two points in the third quarter – a period where they kicked four wides as they looked to take control.
Among that forlorn quartet of misses was their biggest goal chance of the game. Josh Crowley-Holland got onto the end of a team move but his shot flew wide. Minutes later Walsh punished the goalkeeping error to put his side in the driving seat. Late points from Enda Tierney and the impressive Matthew Tierney sealed the famous win.
Scorers for Oughterard: M Tierney (0-4, 2f); Paul Walsh (1-0); C Monaghan (0-2); N Lee(f), R Molloy, R Monaghan, Patrick Walsh, D Kenny, E Tierney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Templenoe: B Crowley (0-3); T Doyle (45, f), K Spillane, S O’Sullivan (f) (0-2 each); G Crowley, C Hallissey, P Spillane (0-1 each).
OUGHTERARD: J Walker; C Hanley, E O’Sullivan, L Moran; C Monaghan, R Molloy, R Monaghan; E Tierney, PJ McGauley; Patrick Walsh, M Tierney, E Lee; B Lambert, N Lee, Paul Walsh.
Subs: D Kenny for PJ Gauley (ht); C Harte for B Lambert (48).
TEMPLENOE: D Cahalane; M Halissey, T Morley, K O’Neill; G Crowley, T Spillane, P Clifford; S Sheehan, A Spillane; T Doyle, B Crowley, J Crolwey-Holland; S O’Sullivan, K Spillane, C Hallissey.
Subs: J Spillane for P Clifford (ht); K McCarthy for T Spillane (52); P Spillane for T Doyle (58).
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin).