Battling Brendan’s foil Fachtnas

ACTION all the way as battling St. Brendan’s, Killarney pulled out all the stops to deny St. Fachtnas in a free-flowing Corn Uí Mhuiirí (Munster Colleges SFC) game at Cloughduv yesterday.

Indeed, from being in a snug seven point winning position with 10 minutes remaining, it was the Skibb side who ultimately had to save the game which leaves the young Kerry sided with a great chance of qualifying. Fachtnas now meet St. Colman’s, Fermoy — who drew with St Brendan’s — in their final game and a win for either would put them through as winners, with the Sem runners-up.

In truth St. Fachtnas will wonder how they nearly lost this one. Far more potent in attack, they were the better side for three-quarters of the game but nearly paid the price for allowing St Brendan’s gain control in the final 10 minutes. St. Fachtnas set the tone for a lively contest when Alan Holland missed a sitter in the first minute. But the Clann Na nGael club youngster atoned with three super first-half points. However, it was St. Brendan’s who shot ahead with points from Keith and Chris O’Leary and they led 0-3 to 0-2 after the opening quarter.

St. Brendan’s were poor up front, Rob McCarthy, Holland and Tom Hegarty far more potent in the Fachtnas attack. The Sem relied too much on Chris O’Leary — he popped over all but one of their six first-half points, mostly frees, and 1-9 in all — while playing with the strong wind.

Once Rob McCarthy equalised in the 16th minute Fachtnas took off, a couple of points from Holland and one from Hegarty steering them clear and they also scored two cracking goals — the first from wing back Ger Minihane in the 25th minute, after good work by Peadar O’Driscoll, and the second from Hegarty in the 30th minute as Fachtnas led 2-7 to 0-6 at the break.

St. Brendan’s looked in trouble but some astute switches ultimately worked well. Gary O’Leary and James Coffey formed the new midfield partnership, Denis Sheahan moved to centre-back and Chris O’Leary to wing forward and there was a more balanced look about the side. But there was no sign of a Fachtnas slip-up as Danny O’Donovan and Rob McCarthy pushed the West Cork school further clear. Indeed it took a great save by St Brendan’s keeper James Barry to deny Rob McCarthy a goal in the 42nd minute which would surely have put the Killarney side away.

And the Sem grew in confidence as they at last began to trouble the Skibb defence, Keith O’Leary and Chris Davies missing great goal chances. Leading 2-10 to 0-10 entering the final quarter, St Fachtnas must have been confident, despite their dangerous forward trio being starved of possession. But they were in for a rude awakening as the Sem hit them hard.

Trailing 2-12 to 0-11 with 10 minutes remaining substitute Tom Moriarty give them hope with a 51st minute goal, followed by a point from James Coffey. Four minutes later Keith O’Leary was fouled when clean through and namesake Chris fired home the penalty. And when Keith O’Leary followed with another point Fachtnas must have been shattered.

But they put their heads down and a second point from O’Donovan and a beauty from Holland levelled it. They got one more chance to win it late on but Rob McCarthy’s free fell short.

Scorers for St. Brendan’s: C. O’Leary 1-9 (1-0 pen, 0-6 frees), T. Moriarty 1-0, K. O’Leary and J. Coffey 0-2 each, G. O’Leary 0-1.

St. Fachtnas: A. Holland 0-5, T. Hegarty and G. Minihane (0-1 ‘45) 1-1 each, D. MacEoin 0-3 (0-2 frees0, R. McCarthy (frees) and D. O’Donovan 0-2 each.

ST. BRENDAN’S: J. Barry; S. McCarthy, T. Slattery, P.J. Lawlor; C. Tobin, J. Coffey, N. O’Connell; D. Sheahan, C. O’Leary; G. O’Leary, K. O’Leary, C. Davies; C. Brady, P. Lucey, T. Ryan.

Subs: B. Falvey for Brady (25), T. Moriarty for Lucey (35), M. Galvin for Slattery (50).

ST. FACHTNAS: R. Price; D. Hazel, R. Hodnett, M. Collins; D. O’Donovan, C. McCarthy, G. Minihane; P. O’Driscoll, D. Hodnett; J. Walsh, R. McCarthy, A. O’Mahony; D. MacEoin, A. Holland, T. McCarthy.

Sub C. O’Driscoll for O’Mahony (35m).

Referee; M. Collins (Clonakilty).

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