The first-half was wretched fare with two divisional sides struggling for cohesion and fluency, but in fairness, the second-half was an improvement and despite the five-point winning margin, West Kerry might well have lost this contest.
West Kerry spent most of the half on the attack but 10 wides tells the tale of why the home side only held a slender 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
Declan O’Sullivan opened the scoring in the first minute and Eamon Hickson added a second by the 10th minute but they had amassed seven wides to their opponents two by the 18th minute when David O’Callaghan opened St Brendan’s account from a free.
UCC Sigerson Cup winner Michael Griffin levelled with a fine point after an assist from 17-year-old Cillian Fitzgerald who himself looks an excellent prospect.
Points from Sean M Ó Conchúir and Alan Fitzgerald edged West Kerry in front but three more wides were added as Cillian Fitzgerald and Paudie Hurley levelled. It took a classy Alan Fitzgerald point to separate the sides at half-time.
Mercifully, the second-half was much more competitive with the introduction of Mike O’Shea helping West Kerry as they began to dominate. Points from Declan O’Sullivan, Tomás Ó Sé, Alan Fitzgerald, Colin O’Mahony, Jason Hickson, a pointed Fitzgerald free and another Ó Conchúir effort left West Kerry leading 0-12 to 0-6.
However, St Brendan’s moved Brendan O’Mahony from full back to midfield and his team took over but missed three gilt-edged goal opportunities in a frantic five-minute spell with Cillian Fitzgerald (twice) and Paudie Hurley failing to find the target from close range.
David O’Callaghan then closed the gap with a point before a Mike Griffin cross was punched by Cillian Fitzgerald and with Mac an tSaoir beaten, the ball struck the underside of the crossbar and James Farrell took it off the line.
Finally Daniel Doyle set up Mike Griffin for a 53rd minute St Brendan’s goal that reduced the deficit to just two points 0-12 to 1-7, but West Kerry thanks to Tomás Ó Sé and two excellent Alan Fitzgerald points pulled clear in the final five minutes to secure victory.
Scorers for West Kerry: A Fitzgerald 0-6 (2fs), D O’Sullivan 0-3 (2fs), S M Ó Conchúir 0-2, T Ó Sé, E Hickson, J Hickson and C O’Mahony 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Brendan’s: M Griffin 1-1, D O’Callaghan 0-3 (1f), C Fitzgerald, P Hurley and S Brennan 0-1 each.
WEST KERRY: T Mac an tSaoir (An Ghaeltacht); C Barry (Annascaul), D Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), P O’Sullivan (Lispole); Tomas Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), J Farrell (Annascaul), E Hickson (Annascaul); N McKenna (Annascaul), R Ó Flathartá (An Ghaeltacht); B O’Driscoll (Annascaul), A Fitzgerald (Castlegregory), S M Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht); L Maunsell (Castlegregory), D O’Sullivan (Lispole), J Hickson (Annascaul).
Subs: C O’Mahony (Castlegregory) for Maunsell (20), M O’Shea (Castlegregory) for McKenna (35), C Sills (Castlegregory) for E Hickson, James Crean (Annascaul) for J Hickson (60).
ST BRENDAN’S: P O’Sullivan (Churchill); C Moriarty (St Pat’s), B O’Mahony (J Mitchels), D Brasil (Na Gaeil); M Wrenn (Churchill), L Bastible (John Mitchels), L Mulligan (St Pat’s); L O’Sullivan (St Pat’s), D Doyle (Churchill); M Griffin (Na Gaeil), D O’Callaghan (St Pat’s), C Fitzgerald (Churchill); P Hurley (St Pat’s), B Poff (St Pat’s), S Brennan (Churchill).
Subs: S O’Neill (Na Gaeil) for Hurley (50), K Crowley (Churchill) for Brennan (54).
Referee: Eddie Walsh (Rathmore).