Star shines as Stacks snatch league crown

DESPITE scoring a spectacular own goal two minutes from the end, Kieran Donaghy inspired Austin Stacks to an extra-time win over Dingle in a fiery Kerry SFL final in Dingle on Saturday.

Dingle will be kicking themselves for not ending their 33-year wait for a county senior title, when they failed to close out the game in normal time, despite having an extra man and a three-point lead as the game drifted into the 60th minute.

The opening half was tight and fiercely competitive as Dingle got off to a great start thanks to Paul Geaney goal in the 12th minute, following an assist from his cousin David, but they failed to build on this fillip, as Stacks thanks to Donaghy’s ball-winning at midfield, kept in touch.

Points from Shane O’Callaghan, Dara Long, Graham O’Connell, and a spectacular effort from Donaghy and Mikey Collins saw the sides retire level on a 1-2 to 0-5 scoreline, with all scores coming from play.

Then the game exploded into life early in the second half, and momentum seemed to have swung in Dingle’s favour, when two David Geaney points pushed them two clear and Stacks lost promising wing forward Shane O’Callaghan, who was shown a red card, after an altercation with Gavin Curran.

However Stacks, thanks to the promptings of Donaghy and Daniel Bohan, levelled the contest in the 55th minute, with a TJ Hogan point but then three minutes later, Dingle were celebrating when a Marc Evans free from the sideline was turned into his own net by Donaghy.

However Donaghy’s blushes were saved two minutes into added time, by his inter-county team-mate, Daniel Bohan, who picked up a loose ball following a TJ Hogan 45, to shoot to the Dingle net through a forest of legs.

This seemed to shift the momentum in extra time, coupled with an injury picked by Paul Geaney, as Stacks took over with Donaghy imperious. Despite Dingle leading 2-8 to 1-10 at the end of the opening half, it was the Stacks bench who proved stronger, and two Fiachna Mangan points, plus two from O’Connell and another from Donaghy, saw Stacks add the Division 1 league title to last year’s Division 2 success.

Scorers for Austin Stacks: G O’Connell (0-5, three frees), D Bohan (1-0), D Long (0-1, free), K Donaghy, F Mangan (0-2 each), D McElligott, S O’Callaghan, TJ Hogan, M Collins (0-1 each).

Scorers for Dingle: D Geaney (0-5. three frees), P Geaney (1-2), K Donaghy (1-0, og), J Sheehy (0-1, free), W Devane 0-1.

AUSTIN STACKS: D O’Brien; P McCarthy, D Leonard, F McNamara; P McCannon, D Bohan, D McElligott; K Donaghy, W Kirby; S O’Callaghan, TJ Hogan, M Collins; G O’Connell, P O’Donoghue, D Long.

Subs: F Mangan for Long, D Clifford for O’Donoghue, D Mannix for O’Connell, W Guthrie for Kirby, J Dennis for McCannon (et), G O’Connell for Collins (et), P O’Donoghue for McCarthy (et).

DINGLE: D Murphy; J Kelliher, G Curran, E O’Connor; P Devane, T Griffin, B Kelliher; CB Moriarty, D O’Sullivan; M Evans, M Geaney, A O’Neill; P Geaney, B O’Connor, D Geaney.

Subs: TB Brosnan for Devane (inj), R Begley for O’Neill, M Slattery for Geaney, S Dowd for Evans, J Sheehy for Slattery (et), P Geaney for Dowd (et), W Devane for Kelliher (inj, et).

Referee: J O’Sullivan (Firies).

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