Skibbereen deservedly got their Munster Colleges Corn Ui Mhuiri campaign off to a winning start when they beat Presentation Milltown on a heavy surface at Ballyvourney. However they were made fight all the way by the Kerry side who will regret wasting two great second-half goal chances that might well have cost the West Cork side.
Overall Skibbereen were physically stronger and in centre forward they had their star performer in Niall Daly who troubled the Pres Milltown defence all afternoon and kicked some superb points, while Sean Connolly in the corner was also a thorn in the side of the losers.
Pres Milltown had an outstanding defender in full back Shane Clifford who kept tall full forward Luke Shorten quiet before Shorten moved out the field in the second half and duly did some damage. Gearóid Evans was superb at wingback while the Kerry side dominated midfield thanks to the impressive Liam Evans and Fionann Griffin but lacked penetration up front, the outstanding Dara Hogan was ploughing a lone furrow.
The first quarter saw both sides try to get used to the conditions and they were level at 0-3 apiece after a tit-for-tat spell. Niall Daly converted an early free for Skibbereen but Gearóid Hassett levelled after Mark Murphy was fouled. Skibbereen then took the lead when Sean Connolly converted a mark after Dara Hogan had given Milltown the lead.
While mistakes on both sides saw scoring chances being coughed up Dara Hogan kicked a superb long-range point as Donal O’Callaghan and Hugh O’Donovan forced Pres Milltown turnovers.
Connelly levelled from another mark, before Niall Daly cut through to give Skibbereen a 0-4 to 0-3 lead. Two Dara Hogan frees helped Pres Milltown retake the lead but Skibbereen regained control thanks to the promptings of Daly and Cathal Hegarty and they hit four unanswered points from Shorten, Kevin O’Driscoll and two from Daly to retire 0-8 to 0-5 in front at half time.
Two early second-quarter points from Luke Shorten and Daly saw Skibbereen move five clear and Pres Milltown were under the cosh. But then the turning point of the game came in the 40th minute when Dara Hogan played Fionnan Griffin and he rounded the keeper but found himself seemingly almost too close to goal and somehow put it wide. The miss laid the foundations for Skibbereen to kick on with points from Daly and Connolly but Dara Hogan kept Pres Milltown within range and after another Griffin goal attempt drifted wide, Skibbereen appeared to relax. Hogan dropped a free short in the 61st minute that Darragh Clifford finished to the net, but it was too little too late for the Kerry side.
N Daly (0-7, 2fs), S Connolly (0-3, 2marks), L Shorten (0-3, 1m), K O’Driscoll (0-1).
D Hogan (0-7, 5fs), D Clifford (1-0), T Gosney and G Evans (f) (0-1 each).
S O’Shea (Illen Rovers); D O’Callaghan (Castlehaven) H O’Donovan (Clan Na Gaeil); D O’Hourihane (O’Donovan Rossa), C Hegarty (Tadgh Mac Cárthaigh), F Hurley (O’Donovan Rossa); T Ó Donnabháin (Clonakilty), S O’Connell ( Castlehaven);K O’Driscoll ( O’Donovan Rossa), N Daly (O’Donovan Rossa), B O’Driscoll (O’Donovan Rossa); L McCarthy (Kilamcabea ), L Shorten (Tadgh Mac Cárthaigh), S Connelly (Illen Rovers). C Coombes (O’Donovan Rossa) for L McCarthy (56), D Cleary (Castlehaven) for K O’Driscoll (59).
D Kingston (Beaufort); D O’Connor (Milltown/Castlemaine), S Clifford (Laune Rangers), M O’Callaghan (Keel); D Evans (Listry), D Corcoran (Keel), G Evans (Keel); L Evans (Keel), F Griffin (Keel); T Gosney (Listry), E McCarthy (Annascaul), C O’Brien (Milltown/Castlemaine); D Hogan (Milltown/Castlemaine) , D Clifford (Laune Rangers) , M Murphy (Keel).
G Quirke (Milltown/Castlemaine) for D O’Connor (45), J Clifford (Listry) for M Murphy (54), M Byrne (Keel) for E McCarthy (58).
D Hickey (Tipperary)