The St Kieran’s division outfit had lost three deciders to date and they played with the zeal and passion of a squad who had no stomach for suffering the pain any longer.
Inspired by captain and ex-Kerry midfielder Seamus Scanlon, and the surging runs of wing back Ian Somers, they brought the game to St Mary’s from the start.
The Caherciveen men looked good going forward, thanks to the promptings of Bryan Sheehan and Denis Daly, but they were in trouble defensively where, despite dropping Ray Keane back to protect the full-back line, they singularly failed to handle the pace of Currow full-forward Buckley.
The Currow flyer might well be on the Kerry senior panel but for breaking a leg a few years back, and when the man designated to mark him, Stephen Curran (who played with London in Connacht SFC) picked up an early yellow card and had to be switched off Buckley, St Mary’s were in trouble.
Currow dominated most of the opening half but failed to convert possession into scores, as St Mary’s, thanks to two Bryan Sheehan frees and another from Sean Cournane, led 0-4 to 0-3 after 20 minutes.
Then Currow struck for an important goal when Dan O’Shea worked the ball in from the left and set up the inrushing wing back Mike Hanafin, who rifled the ball to the net. A Paul O’Donoghue point was matched by another by Buckley as Currow led 1-4 to 0-5 at the interval.
St Mary’s introduced Conor O’Shea for the second-half, and they blitzed Currow with O’Shea landing a point from the throw in, followed a 60-yard free from Bryan Sheehan. Further points from Denis Daly (2) and Sheehan had St Mary’s two clear and looking good.
However, Currow never panicked and with their defence, marshalled by Timmy O’Leary and Ian Somers working hard, two Buckley points and another from Seamus Brosnan, had Currow a point clear by the 46th minute. Conor O’Shea levelled (0-12 to 1-9) three minutes later before Currow raided again — this time with deadly effect.
Mike McCarthy found John Buckley, who turned his marker and ignoring the option of the point, planted the ball low to St Mary’s net, a sublime finish worthy of winning any final.
St Mary’s never gave up but the goal they needed never came though Shane O’Leary turned a late Conor O’Shea effort behind for a ’45.
Scorers for Currow: J Buckley (1-5, two frees); M Hannifin (1-0); M McCarthy (0-3, two frees), J Daly, S Brosnan and P O’Shea (0-1 each)
St Mary’s: B Sheehan (0-3, frees); Denis Daly and C. O’Shea (0-2 ), S Cournane (0-2, frees), K O’Driscoll, Daniel Daly, Aidan Walsh, P O’Donoghue and A Cournane (0-1)
CURROW: S O’Leary; D O’Sullivan, T O’Leary, J O’Connor; M Hanafin, P O’Sullivan, I Somers; S Scanlon, P Collins; C Daly, J Daly, S Brosnan; M McCarthy, J Buckley, D O’Shea.
Subs: E Cronin for J O’Connor (54); P O Shea for C Daly (56)
ST MARY’S: D Horgan; B Curran, S Curran, K Curran; Daniel O’Sullivan, Darragh O’Sullivan, K O’Driscoll; B Sheehan, N O’Driscoll; Denis Daly, Daniel Daly, A Walsh; Sean Cournane, P O’Donoghue, R Keane.
Subs: C O’Shea for N O’Driscoll (half-time); S Horgan for K O’Driscoll (52); A Cournane for R Keane (56)
Referee: S Joy (Laune Rangers).