It took hot favourites Templenoe a while to get to grips with St Breckan’s in the Munster club IFC final at Mallow but they survived the test, making a strong push for the finish line.
St Breckan’s, who played the final quarter with 14 men and also lost two players to black cards, were only three points behind midway through the second half. They did so much right for long periods but Templenoe responded to kick the last six unanswered points.
So, Templenoe become the fifth Kerry team to achieve a Munster junior and intermediate championship double. They also continue the good run of Kingdom clubs in this competition, claiming the county’s 13th title and sixth in a row. And a place against Oughterard in the All Ireland semi-final in January.
Templenoe manager John Rice said their attitude maybe was ‘a bit off at the start.’
“Fair play to St Breckan’s, they came here determined. We said inside in the dressing room at half time, this is going to be a fight. We were two up. At half-time in other games, we were more comfortable.
“Adrian Spillane’s point at the start of the second half set the tone. We weren’t going to get too many goal chances. It was a case of kicking your points and being solid in what you did.
“This is the pinnacle for our lads. A second Munster final and a second Munster medal.”
St Breckan’s took the game to Templenoe. Neither side were firing on all cylinders resulting in a low-scoring first half, at the end of which Templenoe led 0-5 to 0-3. Stephen O’Sullivan (2), Brian Crowley, Killian Spillane and Sean Sheehan had the Templenoe scores, while Padraig Kelly (2) and Stephen Tierney answered for St Breckan’s.
The margin stayed at three midway through the second-half, 0-8 to 0-5. But a black card for Kelly — Maccon Byrne got one in the first half — and a second yellow card issued to Liam Tierney in the 43rd minute left St Breckan’s with it all to do.
They didn’t score again, Templenoe’s Patrick Clifford, Adrian Spillane, Cian Hallissey and Stephen O’Sullivan (3) landing crucial points in the fourth quarter.
St Breckan’s manager Donie Garrihy felt a goal opportunity at the start of the second half that went amiss was a turning point.
“Early in the second half we had a gilt-edged goal chance, which would have been game on. We gave Templenoe the chances and they capitalised.
“We still kept our integrity, we kept playing after the black cards and the sending-off. Even with 14 men, we still ran, ran, ran. We asked lots of questions of Templenoe for a full 45 minutes.”
Scorers for Templenoe: S O’Sullivan (0-6, 0-2 frees), K Spillane (0-1 free) and A Spillane (0-2 each), S Sheehan, P Clifford, C Hallissey and B Crowley (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Breckan’s: A Davidson (frees) and P Kelly (0-1 free, 0-1 45m) (0-2 each), S Tierney (0-1).
TEMPLENOE: D Cahalane; M Hallissey, T Morley, K O’Neill; G Crowley, T Spillane, P Clifford; S Sheehan, A Spillane; T Doyle, B Crowley (Capt), J Crowley Holland; S O’Sullivan, K Spillane, C Hallissey.
Subs: J Spillane for T Spillane (49), P Spillane for J Crowley Holland (53), K McCarthy for P Clifford (57), M Reilly for B Crowley (59), J Rice for M Hallissey (59), J Sheehan for G Crowley (62).
ST BRECKAN’S: T O’Callaghan; D Carey, E Barrett, C Burke; J Sheedy, A Sweeney (Capt), R Danaher; L Tierney, D Masterson; M Byrne, P Kelly, S Tierney; C O’Brien, J McGann, A Davidson.
Subs: C Shannon for M Byrne (13 BC), R O’Connell for D Carey (43), M Hogan for P Kelly (45 BC), P Nagle for E Barrett (59), K Blood for S Tierney (61), D Flaherty for C Burke (61).
Referee: John Ryan (Cork).