Tralee CBS and St Flannan's Ennis must be commended for the quality of the fare they produced in very trying conditions in the Corn Ui Mhuirí opener played in a wet Ballyagran on Monday afternoon.
It was a game that could have gone either way and it was the superb goalkeeping of Sean Collins for Tralee CBS that saw them over the line and a lack of composure late on by the St Flannan's forwards when the game was in the melting pot.
Collins made two incredible saves that denied the Clare side goals at vital junctures and if either had been scored then St Flannan's would probably have collected the points.
Tralee CBS got off to the best possible start when last year's Kerry minor midfielder Colm Browne, playing at wing back, raced through the heart of the St Flannan's defence and drilled the ball to the net. A minute later St Flannan's should have found the net but Darren Keane saw his shot being tipped onto the post by Collins.
Darragh Cunnane pointed a free for the Green but points from Darren Keane (2) and a Sean McMahon free kept them in touch as Tralee CBS led 1-1 to 0-3 at the end of the opening quarter.
Again in the 22nd minute as St Flannan's looked to be gaining control around the middle, Darren Keane was put through one on one with keeper Collins who somehow turned the ball behind with an outstretched leg for a forty-five. The set piece was missed but soon afterwards Keane leveled the contest and three unanswered points from McMahon, James Hegarty and McMahon again saw St Flannan's retire 0-7 to 1-2 in front with Luke Rochford getting Tralee’s second point.
The game was decided in the third quarter when Tralee introduced Ben Hannifin who had played with Kerins O’Rahillys in the club final 24 hours earlier and his pace worried St Flannan's who two bad wides early on. Luke Rochford closed the gap to a point before St Flannan's were awarded a penalty in the 38th minute when Luca Cleary was brought down. But Darren Cleary’s well struck penalty was brilliantly saved low to his right by Sean Collins and this proved the turning point.
Tralee poured forward and points from Darragh Cunnane and Jerh Brosnan saw the Green hit the front 1-5 to 0-7 but St Flannan's refused to wilt and retook the lead with points from Keane (free) and Luke Aherne but points from Jake Foley, Darragh Cunnane and a brace from strong man Colm Browne saw Tralee CBS over the line but only just.
C Browne (1-2), D Cunnane (0-3 frees), L Rochford (0-2), J Brosnan and J Foley (0-1 each)
: D Keane (0-5, 3fs) S McMahon (0-3, 1f), J Hegarty and L Aherne (0-1 each).
S Collins; B Hamilton, B Donnellan, N Rogers; J O’Donoghue, C White, C Browne; J Foley, S McElligott; E Cahill, J Brosnan, R Carroll; A McDonagh, D Cunnane, L Rochford.
Subs; B Hannifin for E Cahill (h/t), R O’Driscoll for A McDonagh (33), M Lenihan for S McElligott ( 46), J Lynch for R Carroll (46), A Kerins for J Foley ( inj 54)
: C Howard; G Barry, C Maher, R Gilroy; O Whelan, P Nagle, I Williams; J Hegarty, J Warren; F Cotter, D Keane, F Hegarty; C Kirby, S McMahon, L Cleary.
Subs: N Carrigg for C Maher (inj 10), B McDonough for J Warren (20), R Sheridan for I Williams (40), L Aherne for F Hegarty (40).
J Murphy (Limerick)