Supersub O’Rourke blasts Ballyduff into semi-final

AN injury-time goal from sub Thomas O’Rourke fired Ballyduff to the last four of the Kerry Senior Hurling Championship at Austin Stack Park, Tralee yesterday.

The sides were deadlocked on 2-9 apiece with five minutes remaining but Ballyduff finished stronger thanks to the never-say-die spirit of the five Boyle brothers, Colm, Aidan Liam, Mikey and 16-year-old Padraig.

It was tense for the opening 20 minutes with Padraig and Mikey Boyle shooting a brace of points each from play while John Egan converted four frees for St Brendan’s.

Sean Flaherty gave St Brendan’s the lead in the 26th minute with his side’s first point from play and Brian O’Sullivan doubled their advantage a minute later.

Ballyduff struck for a goal on the stroke of half time when Joe Bunyan’s high centre was caught by Garry O’Brien who fired to the net. A Liam Boyle point saw Ballyduff lead 1-5 to 0-6 at the interval.

The second half was frenetic as the Boyle brothers struck in quick succession – Mikey with a superb goal from an acute angle, and Padraig with a superb point.

However St Brendan’s were handed a lifeline in the 35th minute when Darren Wallace picked out Steven Leen in the corner and he rifled a spectacular strike to the net.

Ardfert came to life. Ballyduff didn’t score for 10 minutes as they shot a series of wides and points from Darren Dineen and Denis Moriarty were followed by a spectacular goal from Dineen in the 45th minute to give Brendan’s a one-point lead.

Bobby O’Sullivan (free) levelled two minutes later, before Ally O’Connor and Darren Dineen swapped points and the sides were deadlocked on 2-9 with five minutes left. However as Ardfert tired, Ballyduff finished stronger with an O’Sullivan 65 and a sublime Mikey Boyle point before Gary O’Brien set up O’Rourke for a goal in injury time. Ballyduff join Kilmoyley in the semi-final, while St Brendan’s join Causeway, Crotta O’Neill’s and the winners of the Lixnaw/Ballyheigue replay to decide the two other semi-finalists.

Scorers for Ballyduff: M Boyle 1-3, G O’Brien 1-0, T O’Rourke 1-0, P Boyle 0-3, B O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-1 ‘65, 0-1 free), A O’Connor, L Boyle and E Joy 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Brendan’s: D Dineen 1-2, J Egan 0-4 (4f), S Leen 1-0, S Flaherty, B O’Sullivan and D Moriarty 0-1 each.

BALLYDUFF: N Leen, J Bowler, A O’Grady, P O’Grady, P Costello, C Boyle, A O’Connor, A Boyle, J Bunyan, P Boyle, P O’Carroll, M Boyle, L Boyle, G O’Brien, B O’Sullivan Subs: E Joy for P O’Carroll, T O’Rourke for E Joy

ST BRENDAN’S ARDFERT: TJ Stack, R Horgan, C Flaherty, E McCarthy, J Galvin, E Corridan, J P Leen, Darren Dineen, Darren Wallace, B O’Sullivan, J Wallace, S Flaherty, S Leen, J Egan, K Dineen. Subs: A Dineen for K Dineen, D Moriarty for S Flaherty, N O’Sullivan for J Wallace.

Referee: D Kirwin (Cork)

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