With the college side six points ahead with 19 minutes of normal time left, they were on the back foot as Newcestown closed to within a point. Unfortunately for them, an equaliser remained elusive and CIT sub Keith Hegarty’s injury-time score secured the win.
Two days after losing the All-Ireland U21 final with Cork, Kelleher scored 1-2 and goalkeeper Casey made good saves from Tadhg Twomey in the first half and Carthach Keane late on. Corner-forward Pádraig Clifford also impressed, kicking three points, while Daniel Daly, Christopher Moynihan and midfielders Kieran Murphy and Mike Lordan showed up well too.
“It has been very difficult for us to get out what would be our strongest team,” CIT boss Keith Ricken said.
“We have a lot of good footballers and they’re very enthusiastic but even today we had guys missing because of county commitments. A lot of people think college teams don’t treat this with respect but you saw out there today, they’d die on the field for you.
“I’d give great credit to Anthony Casey and Peter Kelleher for coming out today. Anthony made some fantastic saves, I send out a reminder text before games and his was the first text back. We can all do silly things or make mistakes but not everyone can get back up on the horse again, it’s the sign of a man that he did that.
CIT never trailed, but the sides were level twice in the first half as Newcestown battled well against the wind. With the opening four points shared, CIT were awarded the first of two penalties in the 11th minute when Kelleher was fouled by Fionn Keane. Chris White did well to keep out Clifford’s effort but Moynihan sent the ball back across goal for Kelleher to palm home.
Newcestown cancelled that out with points from Carthach Keane, Martin O’Brien and Mark Kelly, but CIT finished the half well, with Clifford and Moynihan kicking two each to give them a 1-6 to 0-5 interval lead.
Even so, the wind looked to be worth at least the four-point margin and Daniel Kelly’s early free after the restart suggested Newcestown would eat into the deficit. Another White penalty save, this time from Kelleher after John Crowley fouled him, should have given Newcestown another burst, but instead CIT responded, with another four-points from Clifford, Kelleher, Daly and Hegarty.
It gave them a cushion, but Newcestown could never be written off. Carthach Keane had a chance to get a goal when Colm Dineen found him with an excellent pass but his fine shot was pushed on to the post by Casey.
Newcestown had the better of the play now but, while they had points from Daniel Twomey (two), Tadhg Twomey and Kelly, as many other chances were being squandered.
Nevertheless, another Daniel Twomey free and then a fine Dineen score left them needing just one more score. They did get a chance but Fionn Keane’s effort was wide. Murphy won the resultant kickout for CIT and fed Hegarty, who made sure of the win.
They now face the winners of Castlehaven v Clonakilty in round 2A, while Newcestown meet the losers of the Muskerry-Aghada game in round 2B.
P. Kelleher 1-2; P. Clifford 0-3 (1 45); C. Moynihan, D. Daly (1 free), K. Hegarty 0-2 each.
D. Twomey 0-5 (4 frees), T. Twomey, M. Kelly 0-2 each, C. Keane, M. O’Brien, C. Dineen 0-1 each.
A. Casey (Kiskeam); C. Murphy (An Ghaeltacht, Kerry), S. Fitzmaurice (Brosna, Kerry), P. Collins (Beale, Kerry); T. Fitzgerald (Moyle Rovers, Tipperary), J. Collins (St Mary’s), TJ Brosnan (Newmarket); K. Murphy (Kilcummin, Kerry), M. Lordan (Ballinora); P. Clifford (Fossa, Kerry), D. Daly (St Mary’s, Caherciveen, Kerry), B. Halbert (Glenville); K. Hegarty (St Michael’s), P. Kelleher (Kilmichael), C. Moynihan (Gabriel Rangers).
N. Duggan (Kilcummin, Kerry) for Murphy (24, injured), J. O’Donoghue (Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh) for Collins (59, injured), D. Culloty (Newmarket) for Duggan (60).
C. White; N. Murray, J. Crowley, G. Murphy; M. McSweeney, C. Twomey, J. Desmond; O. Keane, F. Keane; M. Kelly, C. Keane, M. O’Brien; D. Twomey, T. Twomey, L. Meade.
C. Dineen for Meade (25, injured), T. Horgan for O. Keane (51).
T. O’Donovan (Douglas)