By Murt Murphy
After a most unusual Munster Colleges Corn Uí Mhuirí all Kerry clash, St Brendan’s College Killarney finally came to life to overcome the Intermediate School Killorglin at Farranfore, but the winning margin slightly flatters them.
The SEM can thank their two half-time substitutes Darragh Fleming and Neil O’Shea for breathing life into a side that sleepwalked through the opening half and they also had their tall keeper Mark Kelliher to thanks because he made a wonder save in the 55th minute to deny Rory O’Connor an equalizing goal, with a full length dive that drew applause from the crowd.
But St Brendan’s manager Gary McGrath must have been pulling his hair out looking at his star-studded side that included Kerry minors, Kieran O’Donoghue, Paul O’Shea, Darragh Lyne, Michael Lenihan and Patrick D’Arcy, struggle in the opening half against a dominant ISK side driven on by Kerry minor David Mangan at centre back.
ISK were 0-4 to 0-0 in front at the end of the opening quarter as they moved the ball around with ease and Darragh Casey, Gabriel Griffin, Gearóid Hassett, Eoin Clifford and free taker Matthew Leslie had St Brendan’s chasing shadows. But Killorglin despite four first-half points from Matthew Leslie and a point each from David Mangan, Eoin Clifford and Darragh Casey wasted a lot of possession.
St Brendan’s with the exception of Darragh Lyne and Paul O’Shea were hopeless going forward and Darragh Donohue scored their only first-half point in the 26th minute as ISK led 0-7 to 0-1 at the interval.
But we saw a different St Brendan’s in the second half, due mainly to the introduction of Darragh Fleming from Glenflesk who appeared to spark his side into life. Michael Lenihan moved to full-forward and Paul O’Shea to the forty and within five minutes of the restart, they had closed the gap to a single point.
Fleming and Emmet O’Shea had quick points and when a Darragh Lyne '45 was not cleared by ISK, Fleming pounced for a goal. Then ISK suffered a body blow when David Mangan had to retire with a knee injury and by the three quarters stage Neil O’Shea had nailed the equalizer.
Despite kicking some bad wides St Brendan's were in control with Peter O’Sullivan, Terry Sparling and Kieran O’Donoghue shutting up shop at the back and they moved three points clear of an ISK side, who failed to score in the second half.
Then in the 55th minute, ISK came looking in search of an equalizer and Darragh Casey crossed to the inrushing Rory O’Connor who looked certain to score from close range but Mark Kelliher sprung to his right to keep the ball out.
St Brendan’s finished the stronger with points from Emmet O’Shea, Paul O’Shea and Darragh Fleming before Michael Lenihan put the icing on the SEM cake with a 62nd minute goal.
Scorers for St Brendan’s: D Fleming ( 1-2), M Lenihan ( 1-0), E O’Shea ( 0-2 frees), D Donohue, N O’Shea, P D’Arcy, K O’Donoghue, M Cooper and P O’Shea ( 0-1 each)
Scorers for ISK: M Leslie (0-4 frees), D Casey, D Mangan and E Clifford (0-1 each)
ST BRENDAN’S COLLEGE KILLARNEY: M Kelliher; P O’Sullivan, T Sparling, M Cooper; R Doyle, K O’Donoghue, E O’Sullivan; P O’Shea, D Lyne; D Donohue, M Lenihan, E O’Shea; R O’Grady, P D’Arcy, S Magann
Subs: N O’Shea for S Magann (28), D Fleming for R O’Grady (h/t), R Kelliher for E O’Shea (60), E Fennan for D Donohue (60)
INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL KILLORGLIN: C Knight; E Coffey, K O’Sullivan, K Suter; G Griffin, D Mangan, R O’Connor; D Casey, S O’Brien; J Hurley, R O’Shea; E Clifford: M O’Connor, G Hassett, M Leslie
Subs: T J Palmer for D Mangan (inj 40), L Roche for G Griffin (53)
Referee: P Hayes (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)