Goal rush seals Intermediate title for clinical St Brendans
COUNTY IHC FINAL
St Brendans 5-17 Kilgarvan 2-15
THREE goals in a nine-minute spell in the first half was the significant factor in the County Intermediate Hurling Final last Saturday in the Dr Crokes pitch in Lewis Road. Kilgarvan had led from the third to the fifteenth minute, but a hat trick of majors, all converted with great accuracy and conviction really put daylight between the sides by the twenty third minute, and thereafter despite the admirable efforts of a wholehearted Kilgarvan combination the end result was always pointing in just one direction.
Boosted by the inclusion of John Mark Foley, who was a doubt before the game with an ankle injury, Kilgarvan got to grips with the situation early on, and, after Kieran Fitzgerald and Conor Shorthall had exchanged early points Kieran O’Sullivan capitalised on some indecision in the St Brendans defence and finished to the net in the third minute.
Foley, who was impressive in the early stages, added another point from distance, and but for a fine save by TJ Stack in the St Brendans goal in the tenth minute the South Kerry side could have been further in front, with a Sean Godfrey free affording them a 1-3 to 0-3 lead a minute later.
Jack O’Brien with another goal chance for Kilgarvan was narrowly wide, and really St Brendans were somewhat tentative and indifferent during periods of the opening quarter. Kilgarvan were winning a lot of the fifty-fifty exchanges, but, it wasn’t fully reflected on the scoreboard.
St Brendans, by contrast, when they did settle into the game were more resourceful and clinical in attack with both Shane Griffin and Brendan O’Connor standout performers. Their combination and link play created some gilt edged opportunities and they converted in pretty spectacular style. Shane Griffin struck goal for the Sainsts first goal in the 15th minute, and this particular score had the effect of altering the trend of proceedings considerably. With Gearoid Sheehan adding a point from play almost immediately St Brendans were 1-5 to 1-3 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.
Brendan O’Connor with a superb strike to the roof of the Kilgarvan net extended his side’s lead two minutes later, and he added two more points with unerring accuracy from distance.
St Brendans were at this juncture in full control with their lead being consolidated by another goal from Jack McCarthy seven minutes from the interval. With Brendan O’Connor delightfully splitting the posts with a few more points St Brendans retired for the interval firmly in control and in a most commanding situation scoring wise, 3-10 to 1-5.
Mission impossible to a large extent for Kilgarvan at that particular juncture, but it certainly didn’t lessen their belief or desire with Sean Godfrey adding two more points on the restart, the second after he had fetched and finished superbly.
However, St Brendans with Padraig Kearney quite industrious and effective on the left wing, and Shane Griffin the chief orchestrator up front, were always able to respond to any scoring surge from Kilgarvan, and their fourth goal in the 39th minute epitomised the quality of their combination play with Gearoid Sheehan applying the final finish after Shane Griffin and Jack McCarthy had been involved in the build up.
John Mark Foley continued to pursue the issue with a lot of endeavour and converted some good scores from play and placed balls, while Sean Godfrey continued to be a pretty imposing figure, even with limited opportunities, and scored a fine individual goal after St Brendans had led 4-13 to 1-9 at the end of the third quarter.
However the Ardfert side with a solid spine, anchored in the pivotal positions by such as Eamonn Corridan, Denis Moriarty and Eoghan Kearney were always compact and in control with their top scorer Brendan O’Connor adding to his own spiralling personal tally, with another goal, his second and his side’s fifth, as the encounter drifted to its inevitable conclusion.
In the end St Brendans fully justified the favourites tag, and again the level of their goal scoring which has been a feature throughout the entire campaign was the most significant factor. Seventeen goals in four games is a statistic which confirms the type of fire-power they possessed up front, and it fired fully on all cylinders on this particular occasion also.
ST BRENDANS: TJ Stack, Michael Davis, Eamonn Corridan, Jim Mc Carthy, Kieran Fitzgerald (0-1 free), Denis Moriarty, Killian Woulfe, Adrian Nolan, Eoghan Kearney, Jack McCarthy (1-0), John Galvin (0-1), Padraig Kearney (0-1), Shane Griffin (1-3), Gearoid Sheehan (1-1), Brendan O’Connor, (2-9, 0-4f). Subs: Conor Flaherty for J McCarthy, JP Leen for E Kearney, Donal Moriarty for A Nolan, Patrick Donegan (0-1) for J Galvin, Liam O’Sullivan for G Sheehan.
KILGARVAN: Flor O’Brien, Chris Creedon, Philip Healy, Timmy Healy, Sean Casey, Jeremiah Kelliher, Shane O’Sullivan, Connie Cremin, John Mark Foley (0-6, 3f, 1 ‘65’), Jack O’Brien, Patrick O Shea (0-2), Kieran O’Sullivan (1-0), Conor Shorthall (0-1), Sean Godfrey (1-5, 0-4f), Gearoid Fennessy (0-1). Subs: Flor O’Sullivan for C Shorthall, Jack Healy Rae for C Creedon.
REFEREE: John Hennessy (Ballyduff)
The St Brendan’s ‘B’ hurling team celebrate after defeating Kilgarvan in the County IHC Final in Lewis Road, Killarney on Saturday. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin