The Rockies were the overwhelming favourites and it seemed to be going according to the form inside the opening minutes with Stacks three points clear.
Points from Kerry U21 Edmund Walsh and Tom McGoldrick (two) had St Kieran’s level before Daniel Bohan and Kieran Donaghy showed their intercounty class with magnificent scores for the Tralee men.
The potent McGoldrick made it a one point game before capitalising on Bohan’s error to score a precious goal just before half time.
Two Darragh Long frees steadied the ship for the Stacks before St Kieran’s against upped the temp with points from Walsh, McGoldrick and the Seamus Scanlon to put four points between them with eight minutes remaining.
Donaghy, anonymous for long spells, then came to life and began to turn the game in Stacks favour, scoring and then setting up William Kirby to cut the margin to two points. With three minutes remaining Donaghy was fouled in the square only to have his penalty brilliantly saved by Sean Óg Ciardubháin. He quickly made ammends, winning a high ball and sending a shot towards goal that sub David Clifford guided to the net.
With darkness descending and rain falling Mikey Collins looked to have given Stacks the win before Thomas Hickey guaranteed extra time with a wonderful point three minutes into stoppage time.
Stacks finally got the better of their tired opponents in extra time. Three unanswered scores from Shane Carroll, Long and Collins and a point from O’ Brien in the second half after Padraig Reidy had scored for Kieran’s ensured Stack’s bid to win their first title since 1994 remains alive.
Scorers for Austin Stacks: D Long 0-4 (2fs); D Clifford 1-0; K Donaghy, M Collins, S Carroll, 0-2; D Clifford, D Bohan, S O’Callaghan, D Mannix, D O’Brien, 0-1.
Scorers for St Kieran’s: T McGoldrick 1-05 (3fs), E Walsh 0-2 (1f), J Walsh, S Scanlon, T Hickey, P Reidy, 0-1.
AUSTIN STACKS: D O’Brien; F MacNamara, D Bohan, D Costello; D McElligott, TJ Hogan, R Shanahan; K Donaghy (c), P O’Donoghue; S Carroll, W Gutherie, S O’Callaghan; D Mannix, D O’Brien, D Long.
Subs: M Collins for D Mannix, P McCarthy for R Shanahan, W Kirby for S O’ Callaghan, J Dennis for F McNamara, D Clifford for TJ Hogan.
ST KIERAN’S: S Óg Ciardubháin; D O’ Sullivan, P Reidy, P Galvin; J Walsh, E Kiely, F McAuliffe; S Scanlon, E J. O’ Donoghue (c); D Murphy, E Walsh, A Breen; P O’Connor, J Buckley, T McGoldrick.
Subs: M Coakley for D Murphy, M Galvin for F McAuliffe, G Griffin for P O’Connor, A Barry for A Breen, T Hickey for J Buckley.
Referee: C O’Dubhda-An Ghaeltacht.