A point deep in injury time from the boot of substitute Cian Purell ensured bragging rights for Austin Stacks against deadly rivals Kerins O’Rahilly’s.
Austin Stacks got off to a dream start when David Mannix kicked the opening point of this gripping contest in the 2nd minute after an assist from Gearoid Fitzgerald. However, Kerins O’Rahilly’s, with David Moran a dominant figure at midfield, levelled two minutes later when Gearoid Savage supplied his brother Jack who kicked over a superb point from the sideline.
Stacks soon got to grips with their cross-town rivals and after a Strand Road attack was broken up by Jack O’Shea, the ball ended up with Joe O’Connor whose initial effort was saved by Shane Foley but Gearoid Fitzgerald finished to the O’Rahilly’s net.
Sean Quilter quickly added a point and though O’Rahilly’s responded with a 44 metre free from Jack Savage after Gavin O’Brien was fouled going through. It was Stacks who looked the better side in the opening quarter and added two points from Michael O’Gara and a superb O’Shea effort as the home side led 1-4 to 0-3 at the water break following a superb David Moran effort for the Strand Road side.
However, as with the water break in the past, it changed the momentum of the contest and Kerins O’Rahilly’s took over in the second quarter which they dominated by restricting Stacks to a single point. Tommy Walsh became the central figure as his teammates sent in high deliveries and he dominated against Barry Shanahan. Walsh set up Barry John Keane for a punched point and then he scored two marks himself which closed the gap to a point after 23 minutes.
Jack Savage from a ’45 and Padraig Neenan from play saw O’Rahilly’s lead 0-8 to 1-4 approaching half-time but Michael O’Donnell levelled the contest on the stroke of half-time.
Greg Horan and O’Gara had early points for the Stacks but two Jack Savage frees had the sides tied at 1-7 to 0-10 by the 40th minute. A blistering run by Jack O’Shea and a superb point gave Stacks the lead but Savage with another free levelled before Shane O’Callaghan added a point to see Stacks lead by the minimum 1-9 to 0-11 at the second half water break.
A David Mannix free and a superb effort from Jack O’Shea, his third of the afternoon, had Stacks looking comfortable leading 1-12 to 0-12 after Cormac Coffey had kicked a point from the corner flag for O’Rahilly’s. The Strand Road side now with Tommy Walsh claiming his third mark, were not going down without a fight and a sweeping move in the 55th minute saw Jack Savage and Walsh combine to send Gavin O’Brien through and his finish to the net was sublime Kerins O’Rahilly’s now led by a point and the tension was palpable.
Points from Sean Quilter David Mannix gave Stacks a one point lead as the game entered a prolonged period of injury time due to a bad injury picked up by Greg Horan.
Kerins O’Rahilly’s had chances but it was super sub Cian Purcell who fired over the point that gave Stacks a two-point cushion and with the last kick of the game, Ben Hannafin fired over for Kerins O’Rahilly’s when only a goal would suffice.
G Fitzgerald (1-0); J O’Shea and D Mannix (0-2f) (0-3 each); M O’Gara and S Quilter (0-1f) 0-2 each; G Horan, A Heinrich, M O’Donnell, S O’Callaghan and C Purcell (0-1) each.
J Savage (0-6, 4fs, 1 ’45); G O’Brien (1-0); T Walsh (0-3, 3 marks); C Coffey, P Neenan, D Moran, B J Keane, B Hanafin (0-1) each.
W Guthrie; C Griffin, B Shanahan, N Fitzmaurice, C Jordan, J O’Shea, G Horan; J O’Connor, M O’Donnell (capt); M O’Gara, S O’Callaghan, A Heinrich; S Quilter, G Fitzgerald, D Mannix.
J Kissane for G Fitzgerald (47) A Curran for A Henrich (56); C Purcell for S O’Callaghan (56); C Horan for G Horan (injured 60); L Chester for C Griffin (60 +6).
S Foley; TJ Heaphey, R O’Callaghan, C Coffey; D McElligott, S Brosnan, P Neenan; S Walsh, D Moran; T Hoare, J Savage, G O’ Brien; G Savage, T Walsh, B J Keane.
B Hanafin for TJ Heaphey (47); D O’Connor for S Walsh (49); D O’Sullivan for G Savage (53).
E Walsh (Rathmore).