Record-equaling 25th Kerry SHC crown for Kilmoyley in thriller

John Meyler’s side put in a power-packed first-half performance
Record-equaling 25th Kerry SHC crown for Kilmoyley in thriller

Kilmoyley’s Matthew O’Flaherty celebrates with manager John Meyler following the Kerry County Senior Hurling Championship final at Austin Stack Park in Tralee. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Kerry SHC final: Kilmoyley 2-12 Causeway 1-14

Kilmoyley have joined Ballyduff on top of Kerry hurling’s Senior Championship roll of honour with 25 titles after they defeated reigning champions Causeway by the minimum in a pulsating SHC final in searing heat at Austin Stack Park.

John Meyler’s side put in a power-packed first-half performance that afforded them a 12-point lead at the interval (2-10 to 0-4) and one feared that Causeway were about to be blown out of the water. But the introduction of Brandon Barrett, who had not played in the championship due to injury for the second half and big Sean Leahy saw the champions display their fighting spirit and they tagged on 1-7 without reply in that third quarter.

Shell-shocked Kilmoyley failed to score in this period, so going into the dreaded water break, Causeway had fought back to level the contest 1-11 to 2-8 and the handful of spectators allowed attend, were on the edge of their seats.

But the water break came at the wrong time for Causeway and two Daniel Collins frees and a point from man of the match Mossie O’Connor saw Kilmoyley move three clear by the 53rd minute. Causeway just refused to wilt and points from midfielders Keith Carmody and Joe Diggins reduced the deficit to a point.

Daniel Collins scored his eighth point from a placed ball, but Brandon Barrett replied in kind as the clock ticked into three minutes of added time. Collins had a chance of the insurance point but his effort came back off the post and Causeway had one last chance of forcing extra time. However, Keith Carmody’s strike from long-range under intense pressure was grabbed by Kilmoyley skipper John Brendan O’Halloran under his crossbar and Kilmoyley had won an absolute belter of a hurling final. It did not look like there would any such drama at half time as Kilmoyley were ravenous and dominated every sector with Mossie O’Connor scoring a brace of goals, one a powerful volley with his right leg after losing his hurl and the second a clinical finish in added time, from a Daniel Collins assist.

Collins had converted three frees and two 65s, that saw Kilmoyley lead 2-8 to 0-4 at the interval. But the introduction of Barrett and his early 34th-minute goal from a free that went all the way, ensured Causeway were going to be carried out on their shields, thus producing a cliff hanger.

Scorers for Kilmoyley: M O’Connor (2-2), D Collins (0-8, frees, 2 ‘65’s), M Flaherty and P O’Connor (0-1 each).

Scorers for Causeway: B Barrett (1-3, 1-2 frees), S Leahy (0-3), B Lyons (1 free, 1’65), C Harty and D Goggin (0-2 each), Joe Diggins and K Carmody (0-1 each).

KILMOYLEY: J B O’Halloran; S Nolan, C Savage, F McCarthy; J Godley, D Fitzell, T Murnane; M Flaherty, P O’Connor; K McCarthy, D Collins, R Collins: M O’Connor, S Maunsell, P Maunsell.

Subs: J Brick for S Maunsell (45), D Nolan for R Collins (49).

CAUSEWAY: T Flynn; T Barrett, M Delaney, S Sheehan; E Murphy, Jason Diggins, A Fealy; Joe Diggins, K Carmody; T Casey, B Murphy, C Harty; G Dooley, B Lyons, D Goggin.

Subs: B Barrett for T Casey (h/t), S Leahy for G Dooley (35), and G Mahoney for B Lyons (55), T Casey for D Goggin (58).

Referee: D O’Callaghan (Limerick)

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