Rock­ies win on road

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - TIMMY SHEE­HAN

South Kerry 1-15 Austin Stacks 4-7

A GAME of fluc­tu­at­ing for­tunes, full of fer­vour and one, which was sig­nif­i­cant for the amount of goal chances cre­ated and con­verted by Austin Stacks and those which South Kerry failed to cap­i­talise upon.

Cer­tainly, a Cham­pi­onship en­counter full of all the right in­gre­di­ents in Ca­her­siveen last Sun­day, and one that pro­vided a pretty pul­sat­ing fi­nale with the Rock­ies just about hang­ing on to win by the bare min­i­mum.

It was a pretty nervy end­ing for them, and in the over­all anal­y­sis South Kerry will prob­a­bly re­flect on the op­por­tu­ni­ties for goals which they had in the sec­ond half, which if con­verted, might well have brought about a dif­fer­ent re­sult.

How­ever, on the other side of the coin Stacks with the ad­van­tage of a stiff­ish breeze had suf­fi­cient chances in the first half to have had a more com­fort­able half time lead. They were in front by three points at that par­tic­u­lar junc­ture and it looked as if it might not be enough, but two early sec­ond half goals ul­ti­mately pro­vided them with a suf­fi­cient cush­ion to see off a vi­brant sec­ond half chal­lenge from South Kerry.

Both sides missed chances at op­po­site ends in the ini­tial stages and, in­deed, Shane O’Cal­laghan could well have had a goal in­side the open­ing two min­utes be­fore Pa McCarthy, who im­pressed through­out opened the visi­tors ac­count in the third minute.

Ap­ply­ing some in­tense pres­sure at both ends of the pitch, Stacks dou­bled their ad­van­tage af­ter seven min­utes courtesy of a Dar­ragh O’Brien pointed free, but South Kerry hav­ing kicked three early wides, struck for a goal in the eight minute when Ai­dan Walsh made progress along the end line, and cre­ated the chance for the in­rush­ing Matthew O’Sul­li­van who pro­vided a palmed fin­ish from close range.

Mark Grif­fin with a fine in­di­vid­ual ef­fort dou­bled South Kerry’s ad­van­tage af­ter twelve min­utes and with the pace of Chris Far­ley and Niall O’Shea caus­ing prob­lems for the Stacks de­fence South Kerry were the side in the as­cen­dancy at this par­tic­u­lar junc­ture.

Gra­ham O’Sul­li­van had a goal chance al­beit com­ing in from a nar­row angle in the thir­teenth minute, and two min­utes later the Rock­ies re­ceived a timely tonic when Kieran Don­aghy hav­ing ini­tially ef­fected a turnover in mid­field, im­posed his con­sid­er­able pres­ence close to goal and cre­ated a goal chance for Shane O’Cal­laghan which he duly con­verted to give his side a mar­ginal lead 1-2 1-1 at the end of the open­ing quar­ter.

How­ever two points from play, one of which could have been a goal, from the in­flu­en­tial Bryan Shee­han briefly put South Kerry back in front 1-3 1-2, but for the re­main­der of the half Stacks were in al­most to­tal con­trol, kick­ing five unan­swered points, some of which were su­perb ef­forts from dis­tance.

In­deed Kieran Don­aghy’s fisted ef­fort hav­ing been set up by Shane O’Cal­laghan could well have been a goal and hav­ing kicked a few wides from favourable po­si­tions their half time lead 1-7 to 1-4 pro­vided them with a real chal­lenge in the sec­ond half if they were to pre­vail.

How­ever, they struck for a cru­cial goal within two min­utes of the restart when Fer­dia O’Brien fed in Shane O’Cal­laghan, and a quick change of di­rec­tion from a stand­ing po­si­tion al­lowed him to fin­ish neatly for his own and his side’s sec­ond goal.

The re­sponse from South Kerry was im­me­di­ate with points from Bryan Shee­han and Niall O’Shea, but just when it looked as if Stack’s scor­ing ad­van­tage was go­ing to be reeled in they struck for a cru­cial third goal.

Once again Fer­dia O’Brien was the provider find­ing Kieran Don­aghy com­pletely un­marked on the edge of the small square and in such sit­u­a­tions the end re­sult is al­ways go­ing to be some­what in­evitable.

Goal num­ber three pro­vided Stacks with a seven point lead with as many min­utes hav­ing elapsed in the sec­ond half and with Greg Ho­ran of­fer­ing a lot in terms of his ad­mirable in­put in all quar­ters of the pitch, Stacks were still two goals to the good 3-7 1-7 with forty min­utes hav­ing elapsed.

Throw­ing cau­tion to the wind, South Kerry poured for­ward in waves of at­tacks, with Bryan Shee­han, Mark Grif­fin, and Gra­ham O’Sul­li­van cen­tral fig­ures for them and when Bryan Shee­han con­verted a mag­nif­i­cent ef­fort from way out on the wing in the fifti­eth minute just two points sep­a­rated the teams 3-7 to 1-11.

An­other point from Niall O’Shea left just the bare min­i­mum be­tween the teams and with Stacks un­able to cope with South Kerry’s surg­ing runs through the heart of their de­fence, along with tak­ing the wrong op­tions in scor­ing sit­u­a­tions at the other end, the odds favoured South Kerry en­ter­ing the home stretch.

How­ever at the end of some mea­sured build up play, David Man­nix opened the door for full­back Conor Jor­dan, who popped up on the edge of the op­po­si­tion square and ri­fled a low left footed shot to the cor­ner of the net to put his side back in the driv­ing seat with five min­utes of nor­mal time re­main­ing.

South Kerry con­tin­ued to pur­sue the mat­ter with a lot of in­tent and with Stacks guilty of some need­less over elab­o­ra­tion in de­fence South Kerry seized on all of their de­fen­sive in­ad­e­qua­cies and al­most man­u­fac­tured a last gasp vic­tory or at least a share of the spoils which would have ne­ces­si­tated ex­tra time.

Stacks sur­vived, just about, which owed much to the lead­er­ship of Kieran Don­aghy, the clin­i­cal fin­ish­ing of Shane O’Cal­laghan, and the in­dus­try and ex­per­tise of Greg Ho­ran.

A big win for them, given that South Kerry are one of the favourites to claim the cov­eted Cham­pi­onship crown. They are still in the race with enough qual­ity to make a big im­pact on the lat­ter stages of the com­pe­ti­tion, but they face an­other big test on this com­ing week­end with Rath­more pro­vid­ing the op­po­si­tion on this par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion.

SOUTH KERRY: Padraig O’Sul­li­van (Skel­lig Rangers), Michael O’Leary (Re­nard), Gra­ham O’Sul­li­van (Dro­mid Pearses) (0-2), Paul O’Sul­li­van (Valen­tia), Brian Su­grue (Re­nard), Mark Grif­fin (St Michaels Foil­more) (0-1), Padraig O’Sul­li­van (Dro­mid Pearses), Bryan Shee­han (St Mary’s) (0-7f), De­nis Daly (St Mary’s) Conor O’Shea (St Mary’s) (0-1), Chris Far­ley (Dro­mid Pearses) (0-2; 1f), Ai­dan Walsh (St Mary’s) Diar­muid Keat­ing (Skel­lig Rangers), Matthew O’Sul­li­van (St Michaels File­more) (1-0), Niall O’Shea (Dro­mid Pearses) (0-2). Subs: Robert Whar­ton (Re­nard) for M O’Leary), Padraig King (St Michaels File­more) (A Walsh), Fio­nan Clif­ford (Water­ville) (Padraig O’Sul­li­van), Shane O’Con­nor (Dro­mid Pearses) (M O’Sul­li­van), Jack Daly (St Mary’s) (D Keat­ing).

AUSTIN STACKS: Rob­bie Mur­phy, Dy­lan Casey, Conor Jor­dan (1-0), Ro­nan Shanahan, Pa Mc Carthy (0-2), Jack O’Shea, Ciaran O’Reilly, Michael O’Don­nell (0-1), Joseph O’Con­nor, Greg Ho­ran (0-1), Dar­ragh O’Brien (02, 1f), Wayne Guthrie, Fer­dia O’Brien, Kieran Don­aghy (1-1), Shane O’Cal­laghan (2-0). Subs: Jack Mor­gan for J O’Shea, David Man­nix for W Guthrie, Shane Car­roll for F O’Brien, Fi­achna Man­gan for D O’Brien, Shane Guthrie for M O’Don­nell.

REF­EREE: James O’Sul­li­van (Firies)

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