Terrific Tralee blaze trail into all-Kerry decider

JUSTIFYING favouritism, Tralee CBS carved out a comprehensive 12 points win over Coláiste An Spioraid Naoimh in a lacklustre Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final at Knocknagree yesterday.

Backed by a strong wind in the first-half, Tralee opened up an intimidating nine points interval lead and only came under brief threat when Spioraid Naoimh upped their game for a spell after the interval.

Tralee kicked nine wides to their opponents’ one in the first-half and finished the game with a total of 14 misses and they will have to address that issue before the final.

Corner-forward Alan O’Donoghue and corner-back Gary Rolls quickly found the target before O’Donoghue kicked a superb goal after receiving from full-forward Paul Culloty in the 10th minute.

Under constant siege, Spioraid Naoimh were unable to mount a telling challenge. Their football was laboured and Tralee, despite a litany of wides, increased their lead to 1-5 before Paul Honohan broke Spioraid Naoimh’s duck with a point from a free in the 24th minute.

Honohan, a class act despite being repeatedly fouled, was the only Spioraid Naoimh forward to score, and that tells its own sad story as Tralee powered their way into an interval lead of 1-8 to 0-2, Honohan converting his second free a minute into injury-time.

With Honohan leading the way, Spioraid Naoimh made a gallant bid to rescue the situation after the resumption. Honohan kicked over one from play then added two from frees to reduce the deficit to six points.

Barry John Walsh stemmed Spioraid Naoimh’s comeback when he kicked a delightful point in the 41st minute, but then came the defining moment.

The speedy Honohan broke free down the centre but, unfortunately for Spioraid Naoimh, his blistering drive hit the side netting. Sadly, that marked the Cork college’s last opportunity to put it up to their rivals.

Tralee countered in the most telling fashion when the impressive Barry John Walsh outpaced the Spioraid Naoimh defence to score an absolute gem of a clinching goal in the 47th minute.

Now 10 points to the good, Tralee sealed victory with a succession of points from top scorer O’Donoghue and fine substitute Barry John Keane to clinch a place against St. Brendan’s of Killarney in the final.

Scorers: Tralee CBS: A. O’Donoghue (1-3, 0-1 free), B.J. Walsh (1-2), B.J. Keane (0-2, 0-1 free), G. Rolls, S. Browne, R. O’Callaghan, S. O’Carroll, B. Dillon (free) (0-1 each). Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh: P. Honohan (0-5, 0-4 frees), M. Power (0-1).

TRALEE CBS: K. O’Shea; D. O’Sullivan, J. Scully, G. Rolls; D. McElligott, B. Costello, S. Higgins; S. Browne, B. Sheahan; R. O’Callaghan, B. Dillon, P. Hurley; A. O’Donoghue, P. Culloty, BJ Walsh.

Subs: S. O’Carroll for Hurley, L. Kissane for Scully, B.J. Keane for Dillon, J. Keane for O’Callaghan.

COLÁISTE AN SPIORAID NAOIMH: E. O’Shea; C. Luttrell, M. Power, M. O’Donovan; S. McCarthy, J. Neville, I. Jones; R. Fitzgibbon, J. O’Sullivan; D. Lynch, R. Buie, E. Forde; K. Divane, P. Honohan, B. O’Callaghan.

Subs: O. McCarthy for Lynch, I. Wycherly for O’Callaghan, S. Power for Divane.

Referee: M. Condon (Waterford).

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