Munster Club IFC final - St Mary’s (Kerry) 1-16 Carrigaline (Cork) 0-9: Denis Daly is looking forward to a couple of weeks away from the football field, and boy has he earned the break.
Since lining out at midfield in St Mary’s 3-17 to 3-15 County IFC semi-final win over Castleisland Desmonds on September 27, Daly has featured for both club and South Kerry on 10 consecutive weekends.
Accompanying him each Saturday and Sunday to Fitzgerald Stadium were his brother Daniel, Bryan Sheehan, Conor O’Shea, Conor Quirke, Paul O’Donoghue and Aidan Walsh. On Saturday, they arrived at the end of a gruelling two-month schedule of championship action – a Munster Club IFC medal added to the Kerry county senior and intermediate titles annexed in recent weeks. That’s fair going, by any standards. Daly lined out at wing-back for South Kerry in last weekend’s extra-time replay victory over Legion, but no feeling compares to winning with family and the players who you first stepped onto the Cahersiveen pitch with for U8 training.
“We’ve had 10 massive weeks. They have been very special,” Daly reflected after Saturday’s comprehensive dismissal of Carrigaline.
“We have been very lucky to keep winning the games with South Kerry and St Mary’s. To finish off 10 weeks with a Munster final win with your club is very special. There is just something about winning with your club. Your best friends and your family are on the team with you.
“This week we rested up because the bodies were sore after the county final replay. It was all about getting ourselves right each week and we have done that, again.”
Although facing into the elements in the opening half, St Mary’s made light of conditions and were not led beyond the seventh minute when Aidan Walsh levelled the game at 0-3 apiece.
Five of the next seven scores were kicked by the Kerry champions as Bryan Sheehan (free), Denis Daly (0-2), Paul O’Donoghue and Sean Cournane all found the target. The directness of their forward play lay in stark contrast to Carrigaline who had Brian Coakley working in isolation in a one man full- forward line for the opening 15 minutes. And while the towering full-forward was their most impressive player – he finished with six points - he was starved of assistance in the opening half. Indeed, his job wasn’t made any easier when St Mary’s manager Maurice Fitzgerald, picking up on the opposition’s ploy of having just the one man inside, instructed corner- forward Anthony Cournane to act as a sweeper directly in front of the danger man.
The Carrigaline full- forward kicked his fifth point of the first-half on the half hour mark to narrow the gap to 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval. The damage had been done, however. Carrigaline hopes of claiming victory rested in building up a significant advantage which they could cling to in the second period.
“We were two-points up, but we weren’t happy at half-time,” admitted Daly.
“We didn’t feel like we were playing well or that we were getting the best out of ourselves. We were doing a lot of stupid things and we sorted them out in the second-half.”
The Cork champions, to their credit, offered stout resistance in the opening exchanges of the second-half as David Drake and Simon O’Brien efforts sandwiched Denis Daly’s third minor to cut the deficit to the minimum. But it was the Kerry outfit who kicked on. Sean Cournane finished a sweeping move on 38 minutes to restore their two-point advantage and then came the turning point. St Marys’ Conor O’Shea got his body in the way of a Barry O’Keeffe goal shot and a mere 20 seconds later, the ball was flung over the bar by Cournane at the other end.
Two Sheehan placed ball efforts and a Daniel Daly minor followed and the result was wrapped up when Denis Daly capitalised on a poor kick-out to pounce for the sole goal of the contest on 50 minutes. St Mary’s are the eighth Kerry club to lift the Munster IFC crown and it is now 10-years since a Cork team have beaten Kerry opposition at this grade.
“It was nice to get the goal,” Daly continued. “It could have been anyone finishing it off. The save and the point quickly afterwards was more important than the goal. It showed what we are about as a team.” He concluded: “I wasn’t involved five-years ago when they won the county, Munster and All-Ireland junior titles. It was great to watch it from the stand, but it is a lot nicer be down here on the field.”
Scorers for St Mary’s:
Denis Daly (1-3); Daniel Daly (0-4); B Sheehan (0-2 frees, 0-1 ‘45), S Cournane (0-3 each); P O’Donoghue (0-2); A Walsh (0-1).
Scorers for Carrigaline:
B Coakley (0-6, 0-3 frees); B O’Keeffe, S O’Brien, D Drake (0-1 each).
A Constable; I Casey, B Curran, L Sheehan; C Quirke, C O’Shea, D O’Sullivan; B Sheehan, D Daly; P O’Donoghue, N O’Driscoll, A Walsh; S Cournane, D Daly, A Cournane.
L O’Connell for Quirke (55), P Cournane for L Sheehan (58), D Casey for O’Driscoll (61), A Quirke for A Walsh (62).
S Mellet; K Forbes, P Ronayne, Kieran Kavanagh; C McSweeney, C Barry, S Griffin; N Murphy, E Kavanagh; E Ryle, B O’Keeffe, Kevin Kavanagh; D Drake, B Coakley, S O’Brien.
D Griffin for McSweeney (35), K McIntyre for Griffin (41), E O’Connor for Kevin Kavanagh (45, bc), M O’Reilly for O’Brien (57), B Pope for Drake (57).
S Lonergan (Tipperary).
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