MUNSTER WIN FOR BEAUFORT IN TENSE DECIDER
EMOTION bedecked in yellow and blue colours encouraged Beaufort to ultimately collect Munster silverware for the first time in the club history. After four mediocre and one sided games enroute to this decider, the two best teams surfaced to offer the match of the 2018 provincial campaign, brimming with energy, effort and enthusiasm, the tussle was decorated with excellent skill and sportsmanship that enthralled a vocal attendance.
What started in bright sunshine, this memorable Munster Final finished with the Mallow lights shining down on a winter’s evening, the outcome refused to be settled by the standard hour’s action.
On doing so, Beaufort were forced to endure nervous spells against outsiders Dromtariffe as a do or die affair contest developed. At the end of an epic contest of swaying fortunes, just a kick of a ball separated the teams where on the balance of play, Beaufort just about deserved silverware to become the 13th club from the Kingdom to collect provincial Junior A honours.
Previously Mid Kerry neighbours Laune Rangers, Miltown/ Castlemaine, Glenbeigh/Glencar and Keel had done so in various grades, the majority following up to add All Ireland honours with Beaufort carrying the weight of barren years. Its been a long time coming but deliverance surfaced in 2018, initially answering the searching questions asked of them during a demanding Kerry campaign.
No massive amounts of sweat perspired to reach a Munster Final prior to Beaufort surviving the severest of examinations from a pumped up and highly organised Dromtariffe that belied their 9/2 outsiders ranking. After a shaky start, the defensive toil of the Cork champions curbed a highly rated Beaufort outfit without some key players from their county winning run.
Having endured a torrid opening, Dromtariffe really settled into the proceedings, the extent of their dominance was underlined on Beaufort adding just a lone point in the closing 22 minutes to the opening half. And at the opposite end, Beaufort had leaked a pair of goals to find themselves six points adrift.
Half time allowed Beaufort absorb those blows, slowly settling into a pattern, their defiance manifested in key positions and the collective impact became increasingly evident as the game wore on. Still Dromtariffe remained gritted and determined not to fold, their persistence meant the outcome up for grabs and for the second consecutive season, stalemate and extra time was required.
That omen sounded good for Dromtariffe, fellow Duhallow neighbours Knocknagree had followed a similar scenario last season, both Knocknagree and Dromtariffe had lost District finals to Boherbue yet the rehabilitation of both sides prospered to win county finals. To the same day from 2017, Knocknagree struck late to take Dromid Pearses to extra time only to hold their nerve and secure outright victory to end a 10 year reign of Kingdom dominance.
The apprehension amongst supporters was palpable, Beaufort regrouped, their response impressive, charging at Dromtariffe time and again, indeed with a little more precision, Beaufort might well had outscored the opposition by more than 0-2 to nil.
Tired bodies and cramping meant no side was going to pull away and amidst all the fatigue, Beaufort were content to hold their precious lead to the finishing line.
Indeed Beaufort enjoyed a familiar route to their latest piece of silverware, for the third time in the campaign, they were forced to endure and all importantly survived extra time. At times they felt the pressure enroute to landing
their first major silverware in Kerry since 2000.
From tough physical battles, Beaufort had the bit between their teeth that formed a single point win over Churchill in the semi final. And from a fiercely contested decider, Beaufort edged a high scoring epic with Na Gaeil thanks to another victory by the minimum of margins, both games required extra time to resolve.
That long awaited Kerry title dated back to early last May, it required Division 1 league action over the summer to retain Beaufort sharpness where they finished a creditable 10th place behind strong senior and intermediate action. For their part, Dromtariffe are somewhere around ranked 60th in Cork, five league divisions incorporating senior and intermediate teams operate above a county junior league with few and far between games.
It’s fair to say that Dromtariffe may well be far better than some of the sides operating in higher grades on Leeside. Whatever about the debate of reducing the number of senior ranked clubs in Kerry, its the opposite in Cork, near impossible to be relegated and with two intermediate grades in operation, it sees Junior A Football in effect listed as the fourth grade.
Having endured a stroll and facile wins along the Munster journey, the decider gave Beaufort food for thought ahead of further tests. Of course without Ronan Murphy and Liam Carey from central positions put a concerted strain on resources yet a number of substitutions added a key dimension to Beaufort’s game in the provincial showpiece.
Beaufort can look ahead with renewed optimism, if they can build on the style and mentality delivered against Churchill, Na Gaeil and Dromtariffe from extra time cliffhangers, they are well capable of making a journey to Croke Park.
RIGHT: Padraig Doona, Nathan Breen, Fergal Hallissey, Kevin O’Brien and Ciaran Kennedy celebrating after last weekend’s victory in thge AIB Munster Club Junior Football Final in Mallow. TOP: Beaufort players and supporters celebrate the club’s Munster JFC title win