Templenoe have been brushing aside opponents with their swashbuckling and free-scoring attacking play in their Kerry and Munster campaigns, but Curraha’s ultra-defensive game-plan caused them problems early on and Templenoe found themselves 0-3 to 0-2 adrift at the end of the opening quarter.
Curraha dropped 13 players behind the ball and allowed very little space for Killian Spillane and co to operate with Brian Crowley and Teddy Doyle Templenoe’s most effective performers early on.
Curraha had points from Neil Shortall, David Toner and a Colm Moriarty free as only Cian Hallissey and Stephen O’Sullivan could find the posts for Templenoe, who had spurned two goal chances through Danny Cahalane and Adrian Spillane.
However Templenoe finally got to grips with the blanket defence, utilising Brian Crowley and Stephen O’Sullivan down both wings, and when Cian Hallissey levelled after O’Sullivan was fouled in the 19th minute, the writing was on the wall for the Meath lads.
Brian Crowley fired Templenoe in front a minute later with a superb point from wide right, and he was then involved in the goal that effectively settled this contest.
Teddy Doyle launched a Garryowen towards the Curraha posts in the 24th minute.
Full-back Simon McDermott collected but turned the ball over and Brian Crowley took possession only to be felled inside the square.
Crowley expertly drilled the spot kick to the bottom corner and suddenly Templenoe were in control.
Cian Hallissey fired over a sublime point to leave it 1-5 to 0-3 in favour of Templenoe at half-time and hard though Curraha tried in the second period, they simply did not have the potency going forward to trouble the Kerry side and only managed two pointed frees.
Templenoe grew in confidence with Tadgh Morley. Kieran O’Neill, the Crowley twins and the Spillanes completely dominating and some excellent points from Crowley, Stephen O’Sullivan, Teddy Doyle and sub Pat Spillane (Junior) securing their passage to the February 6th decider.
B Crowley (1-2, 1-0 pen), C Hallissey (0-3, 1 free), S O’Sullivan (0-2), T Doyle and P Spillane (0-1 each).
C Moriarty (0-2 frees), J McEntee (0-1free), N Shortall and D Toner (0-1 each) Teams:
A Sheehan; K O’Neill, T Morley, M Hallissey; P Clifford, J Spillane, G Crowley; S Sheehan, A Spillane; B Crowley, C Hallissey D Cahalane; K Spillane, T Doyle, S O’Sullivan.
J Holland for D Cahalane (46), J Rice for M Hallissey (54), P Spillane for G Crowley (B/C 56), J Sheehan for P Clifford (B/C 58).
L Hogan; D Battersby, S McDermott, N Murphy; J McEntee, C Moriarty, D Toner; E McGovern, S Hogan; M Jackson, N Shortall, P Dowling; S O’Hanrahan, B Joyce, B Murphy.
S Keogh for D Battersby (35), C O Hanrahan for S O’Hanrahan (39), A Battersby for C Moriarty (44), I McManus for B Murphy (47), G Coyle for B Joyce (58).
E O’Grady (Leitrim)
- John Mitchels are back in the Kerry top-flight after a point deep in injury-time by Alan O’Donoghue edged out Spa 1-11 to 0-13 in the replayed Div 1 promotion play-off at Brosna yesterday.