Injury has been cruel to Moran in recent years, two cruciate knee ligament operations being the evidence of that. Nobody would begrudge him this moment of glory.
And, yet, at a wet Strand Road pitch in the heart of Tralee town the visitors will rue a missed chance. Dara Long had a great goal chance six minutes from time, his scuffed effort palmed away by Kerins O’Rahillys goalkeeper Gary Kissane. The scores were tied then at 0-9 apiece.
Sub Fiachna Mangan squeezed the ‘Rockies’ in front four minutes from time but then the game’s two key players, Barry John Keane and David Moran, sealed the title for Strand Road with excellent late points.
A four-point purple patch between the 46th and 52nd minute tilted the game in Kerins O’Rahillys favour. Keane hit two while Moran and his brother Brian hit the others. From trailing 0-9 to 0-5 they were level: that was the tipping point.
Austin Stacks were dominant for most of the game. William Kirby was ultra competitive at midfield while Ferghal MacNamara, Daniel Bohan and Barry Shanahan wrapped up Kerins O’Rahillys’ dangermen.
Stacks led 0-4 to 0-1 after 12 minutes, courtesy of three Shane Carroll frees and a point from wing-back Denis McElligott. In a fractious first term referee Eddie Walsh flashed eight yellow cards — as a result the contest was controlled and it never threatened to boil over.
Kerins O’Rahillys composed themselves towards the end of the half and trailed by two (0-5 to 0-3) at the break.
The heavens opened during the half-time and there was no let-up from Austin Stacks as they powered in the second period, opening up that 0-9 to 0-5. With Kirby substituted in the 46th minute Moran and Quirke took over at midfield and Keane put on a final quarter exhibition of long-range kicking.
The blue side of Tralee just about deserving of the title in the end.
Scorers for Kerins O’Rahillys: BJ Keane (0-6, 3 frees), D Moran (0-2, 1 45), D Quill (0-2 frees), B Moran (0-1).
Scorers for Austin Stacks: S Carroll (0-5, 4 frees), D McElligott, S Callaghan, P O’Donoghue, D Long, F Mangan (0-1).
KERINS O’RAHILLYS: G Kissane; S Brosnan, M Tierney, A Thompson; R O’Callaghan, B Moran, G Duffy; D Moran, M Quirke; K Walshe, K O’Mahony, J O’Connor; D Quill, BJ Keane, BJ Walsh.
Subs: J Savage for Quill (37), J Ferguson for BJ Walsh (41), D McLaughlin for J O’Connor (52).
AUSTIN STACKS: D O’Brien; F McNamara, B Shanahan, J Dennis; P McCarthy, D Bohan, D McElligott; S Carroll, W Kirby; G Horan, K Donaghy, P O’Donoghue; D Mannix, S Callaghan, D Long.
Subs: M Collins for Mannix (37), R Shanahan for McCarthy (37), F Mangan for Kirby (46), W Guthrie for Carroll (56)
Referee: Eddie Walsh (Rathmore).