There was no lack of drama — or county stars — on show over an exciting opening weekend of club championship action in Kerry.
Dr Crokes edged Killarney rivals Legion (1-14 to 0-16) in a thrill-a-minute Group 2 senior tie at Fitzgerald Stadium. This was a gripping contest as a Michael Potts goal, coupled with four points from David Shaw, saw Crokes retire 1-6 to 0-7 ahead at the interval with James O’Donoghue (0-4) keeping his side in touch.
There was little between them when the game resumed and the sides tied 1-12 to 0-15 in the 52nd minute with Conor Keane and O’Donoghue keeping Legion in the contest.
Tomas Moriarty then scored his third point to edge Legion ahead in the 56th minute, but Tony Brosnan quickly levelled from a free.
But back came Legion, and on the hour mark, Cian Gammel was put through by Padraig Lucey. But instead of punching over the lead point, he went for a goal — only to see his shot cannon back off the post. Crokes countered as only they can, and Brosnan broke Legion hearts when he converted an injury-time free to snatch victory.
In the same group, Kerins O’Rahilly’s recovered from falling 3-5 to 0-8 adrift at half time to drive on and win by two (1-17 to 3-9) against Rathmore. Jack Savage contributed 0-10 and Barry John Keane hit 1-2 for the winners, while Kerry custodian Shane Ryan lined out at full-forward for Rathmore and scored 1-1.
In Group 2, Austin Stacks shocked Dingle 2-12 to 2-9 and also welcomed back Kieran Donaghy from his basketball heroics, as the former Kerry star kicked a third-quarter point.
It was a close contest throughout, with Paul Geaney and Tomás Sheehy landing some fine first-half points with Sheehy also goaling to help Dingle lead 1-3 to 0-3 approaching half time. Then 1-1 from Darragh O’Brien and one each from Sean Quilter and Jack O’Shea saw Stacks retire 1-6 to 1-3 in front.
A Conor Geaney goal two minutes into the second half had Dingle on level terms. Stacks were then reduced to 14 men when Ronan Shanahan was red carded. But Stacks scored the crucial goal in the 43rd minute when Quilter set up Shane O’Callaghan for the finish.
That made it 2-8 to 2-5 and despite the efforts of the Geaney’s, Paul and Conor, points from Joe O’Connor, Sean Quilter, and Colm Griffin, along with Jack O’Shea, saw Stacks over the line by three points.
Kenmare Shamrocks, inspired by Seanie O’Shea who finished with 0-8, just got the better of Kilcummin (0-16 to 1-12) after an epic battle.
It was 0-10 to 0- 7 at half time to Kilcummin, who were without the injured duo of Kevin McCarthy and Kieran Murphy.
Their absence proved costly, as did a penalty miss by Gary O’Leary, who was denied by Ciaran Fitzgibbon.
Seanie O’Shea and Stephen O’Brien came good for Kenmare, but the score that decided the contest was a 53rd-minute penalty for Kenmare, neatly placed beyond Kilcummin’s superb keeper Brendan Kealy by Dylan O’Connor.