Kilcummin just hang on

KILCUMMIN just about survived one of the most dramatic comebacks witnessed in the Kerry SFC over the last few years when they edged out Ardfert in a second round thriller last night.

After two Jamie O’Sullivan specials stretched their six-point half-time lead out to eight, 1-10 to 1-2, early in the second-half, the home side Kilcummin, having bossed the opening half, were odds-on to advance to the third round with a bit to spare.

But Ardfert, who were kept on the pitch for their half-time team-talk, suddenly burst into life and pinned Kilcummin back as they chipped away at the home side’s lead.

In the end, however, Ardfert will rue their decision-making in that second period when they continually went for goals despite points being there for the taking, while Kilcummin’s second goal — the clinical Ian Devane grabbing his second of the game midway through the half — was a direct result of a poor Ardfert turnover when Michael Moloney gave away a cheap ball.

That Devane strike, when he was sent clean through by Gary O’Leary, undid all of the visitors’ hard-work beforehand because they had narrowed the gap considerably, with two Damien Wallace points for Ardfert in just 60 seconds followed by a John Egan score before Wallace, again, left his mark.

Having made it a four-point contest, Devane’s smart finish pushed Kilcummin’s advantage back out to seven, 2-10 to 1-6.

Also in this period, Kilcummin and Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy made two superb stops, denying Damien and Darren Wallace, while he also came up trumps in injury-time, saving a John Egan goalbound bullet when just three points separated the teams.

And at one stage in the closing moments it was a two-point game when the impressive Damien Wallace, Stephen Wallace and John Egan hit the target for Ardfert.

But the goal they craved never came — chiefly as a result of some heroic Kilcummin defending; Kealy, Eric O’Connor, Tommy Brosnan and Kevin McSweeney take a bow.

With just two points the difference in injury-time, 2-10 to 1-11, a rare Kilcummin attack saw Gary O’Leary punch over a point. But a goal chance presented itself only for Kealy to deny John Egan in a frantic finish.

Ardfert did find a way past the Kilcummin shot-stopper in the first half when John Paul Leen punched to the net from close-range early on to put his side ahead, 1-0 to 0-2.

And while the sides were level three times in the first 20 minutes, Kilcummin finished the half with a burst of 1-4 — Ian Devane (1-1), Jamie O’Sullivan (0-2) and Kevin Gorman (0-1) — to lead by six at the break.

That lead swelled to eight at one stage but despite a resilient Ardfert fightback, they left themselves with too much to do, though why they went for goals when points were an option is a real head-scratcher.

So it’s Kilcummin that move into round three while Ardfert must now fight to secure their senior championship status.

Scorers for Kilcummin: I Devane 2-2, J O’Sullivan 0-5 (1f), G O’Leary 0-2, K Gorman, S McSweeney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ardfert: Damien Wallace 0-7 (1f), JP Leen 1-1, J Egan 0-2, S Wallace 0-1.

KILCUMMIN: B Kealy; T Brosnan, K McSweeney, E O’Connor; K Murphy, C O’Leary, K O’Donoghue; K Gorman, S McSweeney; J O’Sullivan, G O’Leary, J Devane; D Brosnan, E O’Donoghue, I Devane.

Subs: Damien O’Leary for K O’Donoghue (44), Daniel O’Leary for Eamonn O’Donoghue (44); R O’Connor for C O’Leary (54); J Devane for K Murphy (57).

ARDFERT: T Wallace; D Dineen, E Corridan, N Clifford; S Skinner, C Wallace, M Moloney; J Dowling, M Ferris; JP Leen, J Egan, Damien Wallace; S Griffin, B O’Sullivan, Darren Wallace.

Subs: S Wallace for J Dowling; K Skinner for S Griffin (49).

Referee: Aidan Mangan (Austin Stacks).

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