Na Gaeil produced one of the most sensational victories in Kerry Club Championship history in Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they overcame a lot of internal issues to beat last year’s runners-up, Beaufort, to claim a deserved title.
Their very participation in the game was in doubt up until only a few hours before throw-in due to a Covid-19 issue. By the time the ball was thrown in, they were short three from the named team as well as their captain was also unavailable.
They failed to score in the first 13 minutes of proceedings before man-of-the-match Andrew Barry scored their first point as they used the elements to lead eventiually turn that slow start into a 0-8 to 0-2 half-time lead.
Beaufort made a lot of errors particularly in their passing as even though a Jack O’Connor goal in the 34th minute brought the Mid Kerry side back into it, Na Gaeil had enough character to deal with a lot of the challenges they had on and off the pitch.
Jack Sheehan, Darragh Carmody and Jack Bourke all scored 0-3 each in the Tralee side’s win as Diarmuid O’Connor played only two weeks after sustaining a serious injury in the Kerry SFC semi-final for St Brendan's against Austin Stacks. Stefan Okunbor had a solid outing for the victors as Beaufort’s Sean O’Brien had one late chance of an equalising goal well dealt with by a wall of Na Gaeil bodies.
Na Gaeil, kick-started a big weekend for Tralee with this success as they will now join Austin Stacks and Kerins O’Rahilly’s at senior level next year.
They face Tipperary’s Drom & Inch now in the Munster semi-final the weekend before Christmas as Beaufort face a massive task in picking themselves up for next weekend’s Mid-Kerry SFC final with Laune Rangers.
J Sheehan, J Bourke (1m), D Carmody (2f) (0-3 each), A Barry, D O’Connor, T Ó hAiniféin and D Devine (f) (0-1 each).
J O’Connor (1-1, 1’45’), F Hallissey (0-2, 2f), S O’Brien, P Doona, C Kennedy, K Dennehy (m) (0-1 each).
D Burns; E O’Connor, N O’Mahony, D Bourke; F Barry, A Barry, O Maunsell; J Bourke, S Okunbor; J O’Connor, D Goggin, D O’Connor; T Ó hAiniféin, J Sheehan, D Carmody.
D Reen for O Maunsell (52), D O’Connor for D Goggin (56), D Devine for D Bourke (60 +1), K Dineen for D Carmody (60 +4), J Lowham for J O’Connor (60 +5).
S Coffey; G Hartnett, S Kelliher, K O’Sullivan; E Coffey, N Breen, S O’Brien; M Breen, R Murphy; F Hallissey, P Doona, C Kennedy; D Healy, J O’Connor, K Dennehy.
J Kissane for K Dennehy (47) and I McGillycuddy for D Healy (57).
B Brosnan (Glenflesk).