Templenoe caused a bit of a stir on the opening day of the Kerry Petroleum Kerry Senior Club Championship as they dealt an early blow to defending champions Austin Stacks’ bid for four-in-a-row in the competition with a deserved seven-point win at the home of Killarney Legion GAA on Sunday lunchtime.
The return of Templenoe’s All-Ireland winning inter-county contingent was a major factor in their performance as they punished Stacks for a lot of stray passes throughout with scores at the other end. Stacks had scored the opening goal of the game, Kerry panelist Jack O’Shea finishing a sweeping move to the net after a successful foray forward in the fourth minute.
That made the score 1-1 to 0-3 but it would be the only time the Tralee side led in the game as Killian Spillane and Stephen O’Sullivan were accurate from play as well as placed balls.
O’Sullivan punished Stacks goalkeeper Wayne Guthrie for an errant kick-out in the bright sunshine after 21 minutes. O’Sullivan lobbed the ball into an inviting net to give Templenoe a lead of 1-7 to 1-2 as it went on to be 1-9 to 1-2 in their favour at half-time.
A Stacks revival was expected in the second half but never really materialized despite the ideal playing conditions. Although they scored the opening two points of the second period their chances of victory probably ended in the 40th minute.
Templenoe counterattacked brilliantly once more as Stephen O’Sullivan picked out Josh Crowley Holland with a straight forward pass for Holland to fist into the net with Guthrie beaten and the score now 2-9 to 1-4.
Joe O’Connor had forced a save from Templenoe goalkeeper Mark Looney prior to that strike but things petered away badly for them in the final quarter. They needed substitute Adam Curran to clear off the line to prevent O’Sullivan getting his second and potentially a third goal for the victors in the final 10 minutes.
Eoghan Carroll was black carded for Stacks in the 57th minute as they finished with 13 on the pitch with team captain Michael O’Donnell withdrawn injured in the final few minutes. Last year’s captain Dylan Casey is not expected to return to action for at least another few weeks for Stacks after the injury he sustained with Kerry, while the situation with Kieran Donaghy’s club playing career is still to be clarified.
This result will be a massive boost to Templenoe’s chances of securing a fourth year as a senior club in the Kingdom as Stacks will have to earn their place in the knockout stages the hard way with their remaining group games against Dr Crokes and Kerins O’Rahillys.
S O’Sullivan (1-5, 3f), J Crowley Holland (1-0), K Spillane (0-3, 1f), A Crowley (0-2), J Rice and S Sheehan (0-1 each)
D Mannix (0-5, 4f), J O’Shea (1-0), S Quilter (0-2, 1f) and G Fitzgerald (0-1).
M Looney; M Hallissey, K O’Neill, J Rice; K McCarthy, T Morley, G Crowley; S Sheehan, A Spillane; M Casey, J Crowley Holland, C Crowley; S O’Sullivan, A Crowley, K Spillane.
T Spillane for K McCarthy (60).
W Guthrie; C Griffin, B Shanahan, J O’Shea; N Fitzmaurice, C Jordan, P O’Sullivan; J O’Connor, G Horan; M O’Donnell, S O’Callaghan, M O’Gara; S Quilter, G Fitzgerald, D Mannix.
A Curran for N Fitzmaurice, C Horan for S O’Callaghan (both H/T), E Carroll for P O’Sullivan (35), C Purcell for S Quilter, J Kissane for B Shanahan (both 45).
S Mulvihill (St Senans).