Coach happy as Kiskeam walk off with their heads held high

That Kiskeam walked off the Glantane pitch last night to a huge applause said it all.

Coach happy as Kiskeam walk off with their heads held high

[team1]Kiskeam[/team1][score1]2-12[/score1][team2]Mallow[/team2][score2]0-10[/score2][/score]

That Kiskeam walked off the Glantane pitch last night to a huge applause said it all. It came after an assured performance in the opening round of the Cork SFC that also saw them get rid of the bad memories suffered at the same venue last year when they fell to the Avondhu men by four points.

This time Kiskeam led from pillar to post, they were ahead by double scores at the interval, and while Mallow did make a match of it immediately after the restart, failing to score for the final 23 minutes meant there was only going to be the one winner.

Limerick man Neil Conway is coach this year. He couldn’t have asked for a better start.

“A super experience on my first night. We were expecting a tough test from Mallow and we surely got it. I know we tacked on a few points at the end, but they pushed us all the way. There was real championship taste to it.

I started working with the guys in January, they are a very committed bunch. There are guys driving from Tramore, back from England and down from Dublin. They got their just rewards tonight. Very, very honest bunch of guys.

The Duhallow side – Premier champions three years ago – roared into the game. AJ O’Connor slotting over a point inside 20 second. Another free-flowing move resulted in a Sean O’Sullivan point two minutes later. And when Sean O’Sullivan booted a Kiskeam goal, it put clear daylight between the sides.

2017 Premier winners Mallow didn’t help their cause guilty of some dreadful shooting throughout. They didn’t get off the mark until the eighth minute through Cian Riordan and they went on to enjoy a good spell. Winning their share of Anthony Casey’s kickouts and with James Loughrey commanding centre-back, they came to within a point after 18 minutes - Killian O’Connor, O’Riordan and Ryan Harkin on target.

Crucially, Kiskeam regrouped coming up to the break and they finished the half as they started, kicking 1-2 – the goal smartly finished by Michael Herlihy when he got a hand to Sean O’Sullivan’s lengthy free. Killian O’Connor had the last say of the half for Mallow as they went to the dressing-room 2-4 to 0-5 in arrears.

Mallow's Matthew Taylor in possesion being chased by Kiskeam's AJ O'Connor. Picture: Gavin Browne
Mallow's Matthew Taylor in possesion being chased by Kiskeam's AJ O'Connor. Picture: Gavin Browne

Mallow were quickly out of the blocks in the second-half and four quick points in as many minutes without reply suggested they weren’t going to lie down – all from play from Matthew Taylor, O’Riordan, Pa Herlihy and O’Connor. The deficit reduced to one point.

It was a testing time for Kiskeam, six minutes without a score. They were mightily relieved to see Sean O’Sullivan convert a free after he was fouled. It steadied the ship somewhat but when James Loughrey came up field to kick over a point for Mallow, it was all to play for, 2-5 to 0-10.

The Kiskeam response was emphatic as they finished in a blaze of glory. Not alone did they register another seven great points, but they also kept Mallow scoreless for the remainder of the game. Sean O’Sullivan, Adrian Carroll and Tom O’Sullivan started the march. At the same time, Herlihy forced a brilliant point-blank save from Kevin Doyle.

There were another trio of points from Tom O’Sullivan, Sean O’Sullivan and substitute Sean Meehan before Doyle had to be as his best again to deny David Scannell. It was all-Kiskeam. Tom O’Sullivan and Daniel Fitzgerald seeing them out eight points clear.

Mallow were awarded a penalty in stoppage time following a foul on O’Connor but O’Riordan’s effort was saved by Casey. Unfortunately for O’Riordan, he was red-carded soon after.

Scorers for Kiskeam: S O’Sullivan (1-5, 0-5 frees), M Herlihy (1-0), T O’Sullivan (0-3, 0-1 free, 0-1 45m), AJ O’Connor, D Fitzgerald, A Carroll and S Meehan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Mallow: C O’Riordan (0-1 free) and K O’Connor (0-3 each), M Taylor, J Loughrey, R Harkin and P Herlihy (0-1 each).

KISKEAM: A Casey; D Linehan, DJ Casey, S Carroll; M Casey, AJ O’Connor, K O’Connor; T Dennehy, G Casey; D Fitzgerald, S O’Sullivan, A Carroll; D Scannell, T O’Sullivan, M Herlihy.

Subs: S Meehan for M Casey (25).

MALLOW: K Doyle; M Quirke, A Cashman, B Myers; D Breen, J Loughrey, A Cahill; E Stanton, R Harkin; K O’Sullivan, M Taylor, M O’Rourke; K O’Connor, C O’Riordan, P Herlihy.

Subs: S Merritt for K O’Sullivan (45), K Sheehan for A Cahill (48), J Dillon for R Harkin (50), S Coughlan for B Myers (58).

Referee: James Bermingham (Bride Rovers).

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