JUBILATION for West Clare side Kilmurry-Ibrickane after a second title success in yesterday’s AIB Munster Club SFC final at the Gaelic Grounds.
But it was utter desolation for a Kerins O’Rahillys side denied what would have a winning goal by an umpire’s call in the 61st minute and then hit with the sucker punch of conceding a winning score immediately after the ball was kicked out.
It was a cruel blow for the Kerry club champions, all the more so when Declan Quill was adamant that his ‘goal’ should have stood – pointing out that he was outside the square when he connected with a David Moran free.
Putting up brave resistance after going a man down six minutes into the second-half, the manner of their defeat replicated what happened to them in last year’s county championship decider when they were beaten by an injury-time penalty.
Controversy aside, it was noteworthy that apart from a promising opening period and much improved play after having half-forward John O’Connor when receiving two yellow cards in a three-minute period, it was Kilmurry-Ibrickane who gave the more convincing display. Indeed, while unhappy with the free-count, O’Rahilly’s selector Mark Fitzgerald said that an interval wide count of nine lost them the chance of making a winning debut.
Kilmurry made the more confident start and despite playing against a strong wind, created several scoring opportunities before John O’Connor kicked the game’s opening score from a fifth-minute free for O’Rahillys.
David Moran (play) and Declan Quill (free) had added scores and for a while they looked like establishing a grip. However, while the returning David Moran (who was in Australia for the semi-final game) was deployed at full-forward, the supply of ball to him was limited. And, while he did manage a second score from play, his influence wasn’t what it might have been.
However, in acknowledging that overall, their team play was not over-impressive and few individuals other than Barry John Keane at centre-forward were strong on the ball in the opening 20 minutes, it would have to be pointed out that the strength of the Kilmurry-Ibrickane challenge was a major factor.
Deploying a short-passing game and offering continuous support for the man in possession, they benefited from the consistency of a full-back trio which had excelled in their semi-final win over Stradbally. Additionally, Shane Hickey was heavily involved at wing-back and Peter O’Dwyer’s work-rate – and in particular his mobility – countered much of what the O’Rahilly’s captain Micheal Quirke achieved against him.
Further forward, they had more to offer than the opposition. Centre-forward Ian McInerney was fairly reliable from the few scoreable frees he faced up, while Odran O’Dwyer made a contribution in the full-forward line, where some of the best work was done by Michael O’Dwyer.
It was McInerney who opened their account in the ninth minute and Kilmurry were to score three more points without reply in the next 11 minutes.
In contrast, O’Rahillys were being frustrated by an inability to even get close to maximising scoring opportunities, with brothers Morgan and Barry O’Shea effective at the heart of the defence, Giles O’Grady prominent after going from wing-back to half-forward and midfielder Gavin Duffy very much to the forefront.
Keane wasn’t on the ball often enough to do real damage and the same applied to Declan Quill and Barry-John Walsh, in the face of excellent covering from the inside backs.
Their poor finishing was reflected in the fact that they waited until injury time before Moran got their first score in 24 minutes to leave the teams tied at 0-4 each.
It was much the same story over the course of the third quarter, which was mainly notable for the fact of O’Connor being sent off, first being carded following an off-the-ball incident and then disciplined after the referee seemed to indicate as a foot tackle.
Interestingly, in between the two censures, he saw a fisted effort go wide off the upright and Quill, similarly, wasn’t on target with a close-in free.
But, to their credit, they were in front – through a Quill free won by David Moran – only to see the excellent Shane Hickey level scores for the third time two minutes later. Again, Quill came to their rescue with another pointed free in the 56th minute, after wing-forward Stephen Moloney set up midfielder Paul O’Connor for a well deserved lead score.
After a great Kilmurry move ended with Noel Downes kicking wide, it appeared that the game was heading for a draw until the drama of Quill’s disallowed goal for O’Rahillys – which quickly turned into a nightmare when substitute Evan Talty kicked over the winning point after a move involving McInerney and Downes.
Scorers for Kilmurry-Ibrickane: I. McInerney 0-3 (0-2 frees); S. Moloney, P. O’Connor, S. Hickey and E. Talty 0-1 each.
Kerins O’Rahillys: D. Quill 0-3 (0-2 frees); D. Moran 0-2; J. O’Connor 0-1.
KILMURRY-IBRICKANE: D. O’Brien; M. McMahon, M. Killeen, D. Hickey; S. Hickey, E. Coughlan (capt,), D. Callinan; P. O’Connor, P. O’Dwyer; M. Hogan, I. McInerney, S. Moloney; J. Daly, O. O’Dwyer, M. O’Dwyer.
Subs: E. Talty for Hogan (41st minute); N. Downes for O. O’Dwyer (48th); P. O’Dwyer for Moloney (54th); M. McCarthy for Daly (60th).
KERINS O’RAHILLY’S: D. Hennessy; P. Begley, M. O’Shea, B. O’Shea; G. O’Grady, B. Moran, R. O’Callaghan; G. Duffy, M. Quirke (capt.); J. O’Connor, B.J. Keane, T. O’Sullivan; B.J. Walsh, D. Moran; D. Quill.
Referee: Maurice Condon (Waterford).
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