St Mary’s 0-9 Waterville 0-6: Although it was a successful retention of the South Kerry SFC title for St Mary’s (and their 32nd title in total), the durability of Bryan Sheehan was the main talking point after a hard-fought victory over Waterville on the muddy and heavy Portmagee sod on St Stephen’s Day.
Victory for the Cahersiveen side means Sheehan looks certain to be Kerry’s nominated captain in 2016 and, after playing in his 15th game since All-Ireland Sunday, he signed off for the season in superb tyle.
Sheehan gave another powerhouse display, scoring three points on the day but it was another three-point haul from team-mate Niall O’Driscoll that gained ‘Noddy’ the man-of-the-match award as St Mary’s withstood a ferocious second-half challenge from their opponents.
Winning manager Maurice Fitzgerald insisted the club never expected anything easy in advance of the decider.
“You would never feel comfortable going in as favourites against Waterville, particularly in a South Kerry final. They tested us very well and asked some great questions. I just felt the extra games that we have had this year stood to us in the end and we showed that there has been a good bit of character built up over the last few months,” he said.
Waterville scored the opening point of the game through Stephen O’Dwyer but it was the only time they led proceedings as St Marys led a 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time.
Sheehan’s two points came courtesy of a ‘45’ and a 46-metre free but the second-half was dominated by Waterville until the closing stages.
Oran Clifford being stretchered off in the 35th minute didn’t deter them as they drew level at the three-quarter mark (five points apiece) thanks to a second point from Barry O’Dwyer.
St Mary’s got their first score of the second-half with 12 minutes left as Anthony Cournane fisted the ball over the bar from close range and even though Seamus O’Sullivan would draw Waterville level one more time, St Mary’s pulled away in the final six minutes.
After a black card offence by Kevin O’Dwyer, Sheehan gave the Cahersiveen side the lead again before Paul O’Donoghue and Niall O’Driscoll slotted over the insurance points, keeping Waterville’s wait for a first Jack Murphy Cup this Millennium (1999 their last win) going.
Before Sheehan and St Mary’s can concentrate on their All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final with Ratoath of Meath at the end of January, they have little time to celebrate their glorious deeds of 2015, as they are involved in a four way play-off for the final promotion spot to the top flight of Kerry’s County League, with games scheduled for January 9th and 16th.
Scorers for St Mary’s:
B Sheehan (0-3, 2 frees, 1’45’); N O’Driscoll (0-3); A Cournane (0-2) and P O’Donoghue (0-1)
Scorers for Waterville:
S O’Sullivan (0-3, 2 frees), B O’Dwyer (0-2, 1f) and S O’Dwyer (0-1 free)
A Constable; I Casey, B Curran, L Sheehan; D O’Sullivan, C O’Shea, C Quirke; B Sheehan, Denis Daly; A Walsh, N O’Driscoll, P O’Donoghue; S Cournane, Daniel Daly, A Cournane.
C Dennehy; M Cronin, D O’Dwyer, F Clifford; F Cronin, K O’Dwyer, A O’Dwyer; O Clifford, C O’Sullivan; A O’Shea, G Gibson, N Fitzgerald; B O’Dwyer, S O’Sullivan, S O’Dwyer.
M Curran for S O’Dwyer (HT), G Galvin for O Clifford (35), K Moran for Fitzgerald (42) and A O’Dwyer for K O’Dwyer (54).
P Hayes (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
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