A powerful second-half display, where they restricted their opponents to three points while goaling twice, proved crucial to their seven point victory.
Kerry star Paul Murphy was again to the fore for the winners - though he didn’t require a repeat of his helicopter journey to make the decider as he did in the semi-final
“I thought the whole thing was a bit too hyped up to be honest,” Murphy said of the media coverage of his mode of transport a week earlier. “We were in a tight spot and it was the only way myself and Conor (Jenkins) could make it to the match (last week). (On Saturday) I thought we hit our purple patch at the right time in the second-half and learnt a lot from the county semi-final we lost to them where we probably didn’t take our chances when we were on top. I’m delighted for Shane Ryan (man-of-the-match), he suffered a lot from injuries but put in a lot of rehab to make it back for us in recent weeks.”
Ryan’s 47th minute goal effectively sealed the win for Rathmore after what was a keenly contested encounter up to the three- quarter mark. The victors made a fast start scoring the opening 1-2 with George O’Keeffe netting in the seventh minute.
Legion responded instantly with a goal from Andy O’Sullivan and the sides were level at the break (2-4 to 1-7) after a well taken goal from Conor Keane in the 25th minute.
Murphy scored Rathmore’s second goal in the 36th minute to put them back in front as not even the dismissal of veteran All-Ireland winning defender Tom O’Sullivan in the 49th minute for a straight red card, after an altercation with Keane, hindered the defending champions . This was Legion’s third successive defeat in an East Kerry final as their wait for a district title will go into a 40th year.
P Murphy (1-2), G O’Keeffe and S Ryan (1-0 each), B O’Keeffe (0-7, 7f), E Lawlor (0-1, 1f) and J Moynihan (0-1).
C Keane (1-2, 2f), A O’Sullivan (1-0), J O’Sullivan (0-3, 1 ‘45’) and David O’Sullivan (0-2).
P McCarthy, C Murphy, C Jenkins, TJ Friel, J O’Sullivan, P Desmond, A O’Mahony, Daniel O’Sullivan, B O’Keeffe, P Murphy, G O’Keeffe, S Ryan, E Lawlor, J Moynihan.
Donal O’Sullivan for Daniel O’Sullivan (46), D Fitzgerald for G O’Keeffe (Black Card, 48), and B Moynihan for J Moynihan (60).
B Kelly, D Sheahan, P O’Connor, C Davies, C Sheahan, Damien O’Sullivan, D O’Doherty, S Keane, J O’Sullivan, J O’Neill, C Keane, B McGuire, A O’Sullivan, J Lyne, David O’Sullivan.
T Moriarty for O’Neill (45), D Lyne for C Sheahan (54) and P McCarthy for David O’Sullivan (60).
P O’Sullivan (Firies)