Sud­den end to Mal­low’s sea­son

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - Diar­muid Shee­han

MAL­LOW’S cham­pi­onship year came to a sud­den and dis­ap­point­ing end on home soil yes­ter­day as the Cork Pre­mier In­ter­me­di­ate Cham­pi­ons lost out to Kerry’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, An Ghaeltacht, in front of a huge sun-drenched crowd.

The Cork side played sec­ond best for al­most the en­tire game with just one or two mo­ments of real qual­ity to savour on what tran­spired to be a tough day at the of­fice. Led by Matty Tay­lor, James Loughrey and Cian O’Rior­dan, Mal­low tried ev­ery­thing in their power to con­trol what was a ram­pant free-scor­ing Kerry side. On the day, seven dif­fer­ent scor­ers showed that the Kerry cham­pi­ons had the abil­ity to score from any­where. It took seven min­utes for any side to trou­ble the score­keeper be­fore An Ghaeltacht’s wing-for­ward PJ Mac Láimh split the posts with a scin­til­lat­ing score.

Mal­low re­sponded al­most im­me­di­ately with a bril­liant point from Eoin Stanton. Stanton’s rasp­ing ef­fort could eas­ily have been a goal, but the shot just skimmed the top of the cross­bar.

A surg­ing run from Éanna Ó’Conchuir set up an­other score for the Kerry side, how­ever, a storm­ing break and a fin­ish wor­thy of a top Premier­ship foot­baller from Mal­low’s Kil­lian O’Con­nor brought Mal­low back to an un­likely par­ity on the quar­ter hour mark. An Ghaeltacht im­pressed for the next 15 min­utes with some clin­i­cal runs and some equally clin­i­cal fin­ish­ing as Éanna Ó Conchúir, Dara Ó Sé and mid­field gen­eral Seán Ó Gairbhí all reg­is­tered scores to open up a fully de­served five-point lead.

De­spite be­ing out­played for long pe­ri­ods the home side were still in touch­ing dis­tance, mainly it must be said thanks to some se­ri­ous luck as well as the hero­ics of their young keeper Kevin Doyle. The Mal­low num­ber one saved bril­liantly from Ó Conchúir be­fore see­ing the ball come fly­ing back from his own cross­bar min­utes later from a Seán Ó Conchúir shot. A brace of fur­ther scores from the King­dom side were can­celled out by a pair from O’Rior­dan which sent the sides in at the break 0-11 to 1-3.

There was lit­tle doubt that if Mal­low were to claw back the in­ter­val gap they would need to get to the pace of their op­po­nents right from the start of the sec­ond half.

With less than a minute on the clock the men in red and yel­low were cut open by a mag­nif­i­cent ball from Éanna Ó Conchúir which found the on­rush­ing Seán Ó Conchúir, who fisted home de­light­fully to seem­ingly all but end the ques­tion of who was go­ing to ad­vance to the pro­vin­cial fi­nal.

Mal­low had a chance to cut the gap mo­ments later, how­ever, Kieran O’Sul­li­van blasted wide when a goal looked like the ob­vi­ous out­come.

An­other brace of points from An Ghaeltacht opened up a nine-point gap as Mal­low be­gan to strug­gle all over the pitch. Runs from Tay­lor and Ryan Harkin con­tin­ued to cause prob­lems for An Ghaeltacht who looked to be a lit­tle weak up the mid­dle how­ever when the Kerry side got the ball out wide there usu­ally was only one re­sult.

Credit to Mal­low, they bat­tled all the way to the end even los­ing cor­ner-back Bill Myres to a late red but on the day there was no deny­ing who the bet­ter side were and to be fair by some mar­gin.

Dara Ó Sé, An Ghaeltacht, win­ning this ball from Matthew Tay­lor, Mal­low, dur­ing their Mun­ster In­ter­me­di­ate foot­ball cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nal at Mal­low.

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