East Kerry hold more aces to retain county minor title against St Brendans
COUNTY MINOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
St Brendans v East Kerry
Saturday, October 14 Austin Stack Park, Tralee Throw-in at 4pm Referee: Sean Joy
MUCH like last year, the 2017 County Minor Football Final comes after a bit of a gap to the semi-final stage but sees East Kerry back in defence of their title against a St Brendans side they actually beat at the semi-final stage last year. It hasn’t been a straight run back for East Kerry however, losing on the first night to St Kierans, however it should be noted that loss was in the absence of David Clifford in the aftermath of the injury the Minor Player of the Year picked up in the Munster Minor Final.
Team manager Seamus Moynihan says that it has not been easy to prepare for Saturday’s encounter.
“There’s a lot of fixture congestion for the players at the moment between club, schools and even Third Level matches so we’re trying to work around all that. Losing to St Kierans the first night wasn’t part of the plan but it did get use a chance to review the panel in more detail with an extra match,” the East Kerry Minor boss said.
Following that loss, East Kerry had big wins over Austin Stacks and Mid Kerry before getting the better of St Kierans in a re-match at the semi-final stage.
They conceded some late goals which will be of concern to them against a St Brendans side who themselves started brightly against Kenmare District in the semi-finals with three goals before having to tough out a three point win in the end.
Manager Mark Bourke believes that the gap is too long between the semi-final and Final stage.
“Ideally I think it should be the weekend after the All-Ireland Final because at this stage players’ minds are starting to switch to schools and colleges games and it’s a very unfair situation and forcing them to choose between us and their schools in the buildup. East Kerry are very strong again this year and have talent all over the pitch. They won’t have any fear of coming over to Austin Stack Park having played there already this year,” the St Brendans manager said.
Bourke rates their second win of the campaign over Firies as their best performance so far coming after they opened with a win over West Kerry the first night with subsequent wins over Dingle and their semi-final opponents bringing them here.
A broken hand for Dan Goggin rules him out for Brendans however as East Kerry are reporting no major injury problems. Diarmuid O’Connor, Ryan O’Neill, Fergal Barry, Sean Donnellan, Jason Mortimer, Jack Myers and Michael Kelliher will provide some good energy for St Brendans but Sean O’Leary, Chris O’Donoghue and Cian Gammell give East Kerry a massive backbone in defence with Patrick Warren and Sean Doherty also key figures further up the pitch and an attack where David Clifford’s first cousin Paul O’Shea from Kilcummin looks promising.
They will be fancied to retain the Frank King Cup for the district and win a third County Minor title in five years in the process but St Brendans have the ability to make it very difficult for them on Saturday.
VERDICT: East Kerry
East Kerry’s 2016 minor team captain David Spillane and Man of the Match award recipient Daniel Breen with then County Board chairman Patrick O’Sullivan after last year’s County Minor Football Final. On Saturday East Kerry are bidding to retain their title when they play St Brendans