The Ennis College looked to be going out of the competition when a highly motivated DLS stormed into a four-point lead with 12 minutes to go. However, Kennedy became the hero for Flannan’s when he latched onto a huge clearance from majestic wing back Shane O’Brien before billowing the DLS net to cut the deficit to the minimum.
That goal knocked the stuffing out of the Waterford side and Flannan’s bounced back with Kennedy hitting that late point to put his side into another semi-final.
Goalkeeper Sean Murphy, Alan O’Brien, Donncha Kelleher and Shane O’Brien were magnificent. While it would be very easy to blame the DLS forwards for not putting the game beyond Flannan’s after they forged those four points clear, in truth, the Ennis defenders made it very difficult for them to get in a clear shot on goal.
At the other end, the DLS defence was equally as good with their half back line of Kevin Moran, Noel Delahunty and Tommy Power unbeatable. But Flannan’s had a couple of forwards, notably Jonathan Clancy and Ken Kennedy, who had the ability to pick off their scores that bit easier.
Despite the bitter cold, the game was played with great passion, particularly by DLS who were well worth their 0-3 to 0-1 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
However, poor finishing cost DLS a couple of scores that were to prove extremely costly and, after Ger Arthur and Jonathan Clancy levelled it for the second time with a point apiece, Flannan’s finished the half well.
Bernard Gaffney took over the free-taking duties for an out of touch Shane Carroll and it was his point from a 60 metre free which gave his side an interval lead of 0-5 to 0-4.
There was no let-up in the intensity of the exchanges on the change over, and after James Quirke tied the game for DLS, the Waterford side took a firm grip. Inspired by the brilliance of their half backline and midfielders Michael Doherty and Derek Alyward they laid siege to the Flannan’s defence. Four points followed in a row, notably however only one of them from a forward, but DLS were so dominant it hardly mattered.
However, you write Flannan’s off at your peril and in one sweeping move Kennedy turned this gripping encounter on its head. Winning possession through a forest of hurleys, Shane O’Brien launched a huge clearance where Kennedy won possession and his powerful shot nestled in the back of the net to leave just the minimum between the sides.
Undeterred, back came DLS and under enormous pressure, Tommy Power pointed a long range free to tie the game for a fifth time.
As the game drifted into injury time, Kennedy slipped over the lead point.
Again DLS refused to give it up and after Derek Alyward’s effort was cleared for a 65, Tommy Power was given the chance to level it. Unfortunately, his effort went narrowly wide and Flannan’s survived to meet the winners of today’s clash between Doon CBS and CSN in the semi-final.
Scorers for St Flannan’s: K. Kennedy 1-2 (0-2 frees); J. Clancy 0-3; G. Arthur, B. Gaffney (free), J. Cusack 0-1 each.
DLS: J. Quirke 0-4 (0-3 frees); T. Power 0-2 (frees); M. Power, T. Connors, M. Doherty, D. Alyward 0-1 each.
ST FLANNAN’S: S. Murphy; J. Moloney, A. O’Brien, D. Kelleher; S. Carroll, M. Moloney, S. O’Brien; J. McInerney, J. Cusack; J. Clancy, K. Kennedy, S. Hickey; B. Gaffney, D. O’Halloran, G. Arthur. Subs. A. Griffey for M. Moloney; M. Moloney for Carroll.
DLS: E. Martin; P. Kelly, D. Heffernan, A. Dunne; K. Moran, N. Delahunty, T. Power; M. Doherty, D. Alyward; T. Connors, S. Ivory, N. Quinlan; E. O’Neill, J. Quirke, M. Power. Subs. J. Kearney for O’Neill; S. Power for Connors; E. O’Neill for Quinlan.
Referee: W. Barrett (Tipperary).