Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, prior to yesterday’s quarter-final, had not lost a knockout fixture in the Corn Uí Mhuirí since their maiden final appearance back in March of 2011 and, having emulated the Tralee CBS team of the early 1930s when securing their fourth consecutive Munster crown last spring, the goal this season was to achieve what had never before been achieved – the five-in-a-row.
The task facing the Dingle nursery, however, wasn’t helped by losing 13 of the starting team which successfully defended their Hogan Cup crown last April and while full-back Tom Ó Súilleabháin fought to the bitter end in this one-sided affair, 2015 Kerry minor Conchúir Ó Géibheannaigh cut an isolated figure at the other end of the field. Ó Géibheannaigh, who hit 2-4 in last year’s All-Ireland minor final, operated as the sole Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne forward throughout the first half, despite the reigning champions enjoying the backing of a strong wind at Lewis Road.
Ó Géibheannaigh, marshalled by three green shirts such was the mass volume of unmarked players patrolling the St Brendan’s defence, was starved of possession during the opening 30 minutes and of the four shots on goal he managed, only one sailed between the posts. His sole scoreboard contribution arrived after 16 minutes, marking also Corca Dhuibhne’s first score of the contest, and yet there was already a sense the West Kerry outfit were chasing a lost cause; St Brendan’s having hit an unanswered 1-3 inside the opening quarter.
Corner-forward Evan Cronin, set up by the excellent Lee O’Donoghue, had the Sem off the mark in the eighth minute and their lead was doubled when O’Donoghue turned provider three minutes later from the placed ball. Michael Potts hit the post in the subsequent action, their third spurned goal chance of the opening exchanges.
The crowded Corca Dhuibhne rearguard wasn’t enjoying much success in keeping quiet the opposition’s key forwards, with David Shaw and Peter McCarthy both stealing through for early goal chances. On 14 minutes, centre-forward David Clifford sent the umpire reaching for the green flag, his shot 30 metres from goal catching unaware ‘keeper David Usosis.
Still Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne refused to abandon their ultra-defensive approach and continued to operate with 14 men behind the ball for the remainder of the half. Much good it did not do them and despite ‘keeper Usosis (free) and Tomás Mac a’tSithigh bringing their tally to 0-3 come the interval break, points from O’Donoghue (free) and Shaw left five between the teams, 1-5 to 0-3.
The game as a contest was all but over within 10 minutes of the restart, five on the bounce from half-back David Naughton, Dara Moynihan, corner-back Michael Potts, full-back Chris O’Donoghue and Shaw moving the Killarney College into the distance. The sight of three St Brendan’s defenders getting in on the scoring highlighted Corca Dhuibhne’s reluctance to push players up the field, as well as the confidence flowing through the Sem players. Even at 1-10 to 0-3 in arrears, they were unwilling to throw the shackles off. Tomás Mac a’tSithigh kicked their sole score of the entire second-half on 46 minutes; Potts, O’Donoghue and Billy Courtney the final contributors as St Brendan’s ran out deserving 14-point winners.
L O’Donoghue (0-4, 0-4 frees); D Clifford (1-0); M Potts, D Moynihan, D Shaw (0-2 each); E Cronin, D Naughton, C O’Donoghue, B Courtney (0-1 each).
T Mac a’tSithigh (0-2); D Usosis (0-1 free), C Ó Géibheannaigh (0-1 each).
D Carroll (Spa); M Potts (Dr Crokes), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), C Gammell (Legion); D Naughton (Dr Crokes), D O’Brien (Glenflesk), N Donoghue (Firies); L O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), B Courtney (Dr Crokes); D Moynihan (Spa), D Clifford (Fossa), P McCarthy (Legion); M Casey (Dr Crokes), D Shaw (Dr Crokes), E Cronin (Spa).
W Courtney (Firies) for Clifford (37 mins), C Flynn (Firies) for Cronin (53), S O’Leary (Kilcummin) for Gammell (55), C Courtney (Dr Crokes) for Naughton (55).
D Usosis (Daingean Uí Chúis); B Ó Conchúir (Daingean Uí Chúis), T Ó Súilleabháin (Daingean Uí Chúis), G Ó Leidhinn (Abha na Scáil); T Breathnach (An Ghaeltacht), R Ó Mainnín (Lios Póil), PP Sauerland (An Ghaeltacht); S Ó Lúing (An Ghaeltacht), M Ó Baoill (Daingean Uí Chúis); P Óigí Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), C Ó Géibheannaigh (Daingean Uí Chúis), F Sauerland (An Ghaeltacht); T Mac a’ tSithigh (Daingean Uí Chúis), S Ó Catháin (Lios Póil), C Firtéar (Abha na Scáil).
L Ó Bambaire (An Ghaeltacht) for Ó Leidhinn (44 mins), F Ó Cuanaigh (An Ghaeltacht) for Ó Conchúir (44), M Ó Beoláin (Daingean Uí Chúis) for Mac a’tSithigh (53, inj), S Ó Flaithbheartaigh (Daingean Uí Chúis) for F Sauerland (53).
P Hayes (Kerry).