They dominated for long periods but bowed out of this year’s Sigerson Cup against a determined NUI Galway side in Tralee yesterday.
But today, with hindsight burning, they will look at the eight wides in the first half and two spurned goal chances by John Egan and Daniel O’Shea. That ensured Tralee’s lead was a mere four points, 0-7 to 0-3, at half time.
NUI Galway took over in the last 15 minutes of the second half and with the three Galway U21 stars — Damien Comer, Seán Moran and Adrian Varley — on form, they dominated. By that stage IT Tralee lost their way and the Galway university tied, 0-8 apiece, through Johnny Kelly. It was one-way traffic in extra time and NUIG were deserving winners in the end.
“Tralee were all over us in the first half but we made a lot of mistakes,” said Galway boss Tommy Joyce. “It was our first game. We had a full-strength team today and it is a worry that Tralee should have led 2-7 to 0-3 at a minimum by half time, so we were lucky to be only four down at the interval.”
Tralee had the wind in the opening half and defenders Seán T Dillon, David Larkin and Pádraig Óg Ó Sé put Galway under the cosh.
Denis McElligott opened Tralee’s account and points from the impressive Daniel O’Shea (two), Kieran Mulvihill (two), Eamon Hickson and John Egan put them four up at the break.
With a new-found resilience the Galway side took over in the second half and swamped Tralee. Points from Varley, David McCormack, Sean Driscoll and the equaliser from Kelly forced extra time. It was 0-10 to 0-8 at the end of the first period and with Tralee unable to breach a tight Galway defence, points from Kelly, Varley, McCormack, Conor Guckian and Shane Gaffney, ensured that NUI Galway will be travelling to play DCU next week.
Scorers for NUI Galway: A Varley (0-5, 0-4 frees), J Kelly and D McCormack (0-2 each), D Comer, I Galvin, S Driscoll, Shane Moran, C Guckian and S Gaffney (0-1 each).
Scorers for IT Tralee: K Mulvihill (0-4, 0-3 frees), D O Shea (0-2), R Deane (free), D McElligott, E Hickson and J Egan (0-1 each).
IT TRALEE (Kerry unless): N O’Sullivan; ST Dillon, G O’Grady, D Larkin (Wexford); D McElligott, P Óg Ó Sé, E Hickson; R Deane (Cork), D Somers; D Wallace, M Finnegan, D O’Shea; J Egan, S Carroll, K Mulvihill.
Subs: B O Hare (Louth) for Carroll (50), S McCarthy for Ó Sé (inj 55), S Carroll for Wallace (66), T Kennelly for McElligott (75).
NUI GALWAY: D O’Sullivan (Leitrim); A Nolan (Galway), C Crowe (Mayo), L Cullen (Fermanagh); R Kiely (Tipperary), J McManus (Roscommon), S O’Driscoll (Clare); E Ó hEochaidh (Galway), D Comer (Galway); J Kelly (Sligo), Sean Moran (Galway), Shane Moran (Leitrim); I Galvin (Kerry), A Varley (Galway), D McCormack (Westmeath).
Subs: K Reilly (Westmeath) for Ó hEochaidh (46), K O’Mahony (Kerry) for Galvin (50), C Guckian (Mayo) for Comer (65), S Gaffney (Galway) for Kelly (75).
Referee: K Murphy (Cork).