Despite sleepwalking their way through almost the entire second half, Mercy Mounthawk just had enough of a comfort blanket from an impressive opening period to nervously navigate their way into the Munster Colleges SFC (Corn Uí Mhuirí) quarter-finals following this round 2 victory over Coláiste Chríost Rí.
When the Tralee school enjoyed a seven-point cushion at the break, keeping their opponents scoreless in the process, at the John Mitchels grounds, it appeared that they were home and dry. Inspired by 2020 Kerry minor Joey Nagle at centre-back, and with Odhran Ferris and Sean Brosnan sparkling in attack, they were, relatively speaking, in cruise control.
However, maybe a touch of complacency entered their heads on the resumption and, as Chríost Rí finally began to put up some bit of stern resistance, with the diminutive figure of Ruairi Hogan an eager-beaver presence up front, Mercy Mounthawk became bedevilled by poor shooting (notching 10 wides over the course of the second half).
The gap had been reduced to five points (0-7 to 0-2) by the 46th minute when the Cork side almost ignited their challenge considerably when Stephen Osubor-Kennedy found himself clean through on goal, but his right-footed shot was superbly saved by composed Mercy Mounthawk goalkeeper Sean Broderick.
That was a huge scare for the leaders, but they didn’t learn their lesson and, after Ross Corkery narrowed the margin further with a pointed free (he was well shackled in general play by Danny Jeffers), Chríost Rí got a second opportunity to strike for that potentially game-changing goal but, this time, Osubor-Kennedy was foiled by the post after a speculative low drive.
Mercy Mounthawk could thank their lucky stars that either, or both, of those chances didn’t end up in the net, and they eventually sealed the deal when wing-forward Ferris, always lively, did manage to raise the only green flag of the game in the 57th minute, slotting home the rebound after his initial attempt had been saved.
O Ferris 1-2, S Brosnan 0-2, D O’Connor, R Monaghan, C Nolan (free) 0-1 each.
R Hogan, O White, R Corkery (free) 0-1 each.
S Broderick (John Mitchels), E McCarthy (Churchill), D Bowler (John Mitchels), D Jeffers (Ardfert); E Foley (Austin Stacks), J Nagle (Austin Stacks), A Doyle (Churchill); D O’Sullivan (Ardfert), R Monaghan (Ardfert); C Nolan (Ardfert), S Brosnan (Ardfert), O Ferris (Ardfert); D O’Connor (Kerins O’Rahillys), D McEvoy (John Mitchels), J Kearney (Ardfert).
N Collins (Ballymac) for O’Connor, injured (11 mins), C Litchfield (Austin Stacks) for Foley (50 mins), D Caplis (John Mitchels) for McEvoy (53 mins), C Donovan (Annascaul) for Kearney (59 mins).
C Sexton (St Finbarr’s); O White (Sliabh Rua), S Kennedy (St Finbarr’s), S O’Donovan (Ballygarvan); D Dwane (St Finbarr’s), D Kennedy (St Finbarr’s), B O’Neill (Nemo Rangers); C Cusack (Nemo Rangers), C Molloy (Nemo Rangers); R Deasy (Sliabh Rua), S Osubor-Kennedy (St Finbarr’s), C Doolan (St Finbarr’s); R Hogan (Nemo Rangers), R Corkery (Nemo Rangers), S Dawson (Nemo Rangers).
A Petrovs (Nemo Rangers) for Deasy (half-time), J Kennefick (St Finbarr’s) for Dawson (44 mins), K McGorry (Nemo Rangers) for Molloy (57 mins).
G Kerins (Austin Stacks).