Eight days ago, the Tralee side delivered a first-half performance of champagne football against South Kerry, their smart running and intelligent passing propelling the Strand Road outfit 1-11 to 1-6 clear of the county champions at the interval.
The result may have gone against them at the finish, but there were plenty of positives.
Last Saturday evening, the result went their way this time. But the positives were fewer for sure.
Having raced 1-5 to 0-2 clear of Feale Rangers by the end of the opening quarter — Tommy Walsh provided the contest’s opening goal eight minutes in with a smart finish off his left boot — the favourites then went a 16 minutes without adding to their tally.
It was a similar story in the second-half as they went 24 minutes without registering a single score from open play. Three placed-ball efforts were converted during this period, but in a forward unit containing Tommy Walsh, Barry John Keane and young Jack Savage, such a stat is underwhelming to say the least.
Joint-manager Micheál Quirke wasn’t disagreeing.
“It was very sloppy,” he said. “I wouldn’t be happy with the goal we conceded. We didn’t score for around 17 minutes of the first-half. We were average enough.
“Feale Rangers, I know they mightn’t have the same preparation done, but they’re not just going to roll over. They hit hard and defended well. We just found it tough to break them down at times. It was our own errors more than anything else that hindered us.”
Was there an element of a hangover from the previous weekend’s full-throttle clash, perhaps?
“It was a hard one to take last week. You felt good because you performed well, but you didn’t get the result which was a bit of a conflicting thing all week. We are just delighted to be in the next round.”
Two Conor Cox points and a Pádraig Quille effort in response to Kerins O’Rahilly’s impressive opening quarter succeeded in halving the deficit, 1-5 to 0-5.
No further inroads, though, would the North Kerry divisional outfit make.
Nine minutes passed without a score on either side, but in the five minutes of additional time played by referee Donal Casey, Quirke’s side struck for 1-2. Barry John Keane, such a livewire in the opening half an hour, was at the end of two patient build-ups and on 34 minutes, O’Rahilly’s put one foot in the next round — Kevin Walshe, set up by Jack Savage and Tommy Walsh, buried the ball past Brendan Galvin.
Feale Rangers, who had surprised many with how close they ran St Kieran’s in the opening round in Cordal, hauled themselves back into contention with 1-1 upon the restart — Listowel’s Bryan Murphy scrambled home the goal after Damien Somers’ probing delivery caused havoc in the O’Rahilly’s square.
Again, though, the divisional outfit failed to build on this minor spell of supremacy. Four of the next six scores were supplied by the winners and the gap was back out to six, 2-11 to 1-8, with six minutes remaining.
Victory was wrapped up on 56 minutes; Barry John Keane, having ghosted in behind the last defender, collected a long delivery over the top, offloaded to the onrushing David Moran and the Kerry midfielder delivered a composed finish to the corner of Galvin’s net.
Corner-forward Cox, who was by some distance Feale Rangers’ most impressive contributor, knocked over two late points. Their exit from the championship, though, had long since been determined.
J Savage (0-6, 6 frees); BJ Keane (0-5); T Walsh, D Moran, K Walshe (1-0 each)
C Cox (0-8, 5 frees); B Murphy (1-0); C Mulvihill, P Quille, D Sheehy (0-1 each).
G Kissane; D Murphy, T Begley, D O’Sullivan; C Coffey, S Brosnan, C Sayers; J O’Connor, D Moran; D McLaughlin, T Walsh, K Walshe; K O’Mahony, BJ Keane, J Savage.
G O’Grady for Begley (49), G O’Connell for O’Mahony (55).
B Galvin (Moyvane); S Dillon (St Senan’s), J McGuire (Listowel Emmets), N Collins (Emmets); S Stack (Moyvane), D Foran (St Senan’s), S Weir (St Senan’s); D Somers (St Senan’s), D Leahy (Moyvane); D Walsh (Emmets), T McCarthy (Emmets), C Mulvihill (Emmets); C Cox (Emmets), P Quille (St Senan’s), B Murphy (Emmets).
D Sheehy (Emmets) for Foran (30 mins, inj), B Guiney (Emmets) for Walsh (49).