They’ll have to wait another couple of weeks to ascertain whether they will represent Kerry in the Munster club championship, but this success at least ensures silverware.
O’Rahilly’s were worthy victors principally due to the efforts of attackers Barry John Walsh and Declan Quill who amassed 1-11 between them. Ardfert pressed vigorously after the break to come within three points at one stage during the second half, yet O’Rahilly’s were always capable of stepping on the accelerator and extending their lead.
Their triumph was copper-fastened entering the finale but the match was marred by a late brawl sparked off by a challenge from Kerins O’Rahilly’s Michéal Quirke on Ardfert attacker John Egan. Players and substitutes from both sides waded into the exchanges and it took a few minutes before referee Con Carroll restored order.
Quirke and Ardfert’s Sean Flaherty were shown red cards, yet the dismissals had no influence on the game as Kerins O’Rahilly’s victory was already secured.
The first half was a largely dismal affair. Ardfert began brightly with John Egan, their best attacker, notching two early points. But thereafter Ardfert struggled to break down the Tralee side’s rearguard and string together scores, despite the continued good form of Sean Flaherty and Egan.
Kerins O’Rahilly’s were more economical with their shooting and pounced for two critical goals in the first half. Barry John Walsh fired in the first after 14 minutes, with Tommy Walsh fielding a long ball by David Moran and transferring inside. The second goal was on similar lines; another Moran long-range free seized by Tommy Walsh, but this time the Kerry senior attacker smashed to the net himself.
Kerins O’Rahilly’s held a 2-3 to 0-3 interval advantage, and built on that after the restart with points by Barry John Walsh and Quill. Yet Ardfert then enjoyed their best spell, with Damien Wallace landing three points and also punching to the net in the 41st minute after a long punt forward by John Dowling. Entering the final quarter Ardfert were only 2-6 to 1-6 adrift but critically they failed to score for the remainder of the exchanges. In contrast Kerins O’Rahilly’s wreaked havoc up front with Quill the star of the show with four beautiful points. Ardfert did have one last chance at the death but Michael Moloney’s penalty effort was saved by David Hennessy.
Scorers for Kerins O’Rahilly’s: BJ Walsh 1-4, D Quill 0-7 (0-2f), T Walsh 1-1.
Scorers for Ardfert: Damien Wallace 1-3 (0-2f), J Egan 0-2, M Moloney 0-1 (0-1 ‘45).
KERINS O’RAHILLY’S: D Hennessy; M O’Shea, P Begley, B O’Shea; R O’Callaghan, B Moran, G O’Grady; M Quirke, G Duffy; J O’Connor, D Moran, BJ Keane; BJ Walsh, T Walsh, D Quill.
Subs: T O’Sullivan for Duffy (47), B Quill for O’Callaghan (60), J Kelly for O’Connor (60).
ARDFERT: Dermot Dineen; C Flaherty, E Corridan, Darren Dineen; M Moloney, R Horgan, C Wallace; S Flaherty, J Dowling; J Egan, E Ferris, J Best; S Griffin, Darren Wallace, Damien Wallace.
Subs: M Ferris for Griffin (45), JP Leen for Best (48), T Wallace for Damien Wallace (48), E McCarthy for C Flaherty (50).
Referee: Con Carroll (Legion).