Dis­trict Board SFC ti­tles for O’Rahillys and Glen­beigh/Glen­car

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - TADHG EVANS

THE qual­ity of goal­keeper Shane Fo­ley’s per­for­mance on Satur­day night would have been a talk­ing point af­ter any game.

But on a night like this – one lack­ing the kind of star names and in­ten­sity you’d as­so­ciate with cham­pi­onship foot­ball and al­most ru­ined by a series of dread­ful down­pours – the Strand Road keeper’s dis­play seemed brighter again.

O’Rahillys prob­a­bly de­served their third Tralee town ti­tle on-thes­pin, but the bet­ter team doesn’t al­ways win and had it not been for Fo­ley and four ter­rific saves, the Roddy O’Don­nell Cup would be do­ing rounds of The Rock this week.

The open­ing fif­teen min­utes rain­fall might have filled a large swim­ming pool and it cer­tainly left its mark on a game, which saw both sides short of about five reg­u­lar starters each.

Though it dried up some­what from time to time there­after, the rain never stayed away for long, and the re­sult was a show­case of poor pass­ing, shoot­ing, tack­ling and han­dling.

Tommy Walsh set the tone when he dropped a handy, early free into Stacks’ goal­keeper Rob­bie Mur­phy, and when a player of his qual­ity was mak­ing ba­sic er­rors, the small crowd knew it was in for a drab af­fair.

Both teams did try to play ex­cit­ing foot­ball, even if they failed more often than not. Stacks – low on in­ten­sity, par­tic­u­larly in the first half – were in­clined to leave their de­fence short of num­bers and O’Rahillys did make some hay in spite of the sun not shin­ing.

Play­ing to­wards the John Mitch- els’ end, John Keane put Strand Road in front in the third minute af­ter re­ceiv­ing a David Mo­ran hand-off and a Walsh free made it 0-2 to 0-0 on seven min­utes as he made up for his ear­lier miss.

Fo­ley’s kick-outs were not per­fect, but they weren’t bad ei­ther, con­text con­sid­ered, and with his team­mates David Mo­ran and Con Bar­rett do­ing as well as could be ex­pected in the con­di­tions and Karl Mullins and the en­er­getic Cor­mac Cof­fey keep­ing the tran­si­tion from de­fence to at­tack tick­ing over, O’Rahillys were find­ing some kind of grip.

A good ball from David Mo­ran into Tommy Walsh gave the tow­er­ing for­ward a plat­form and he duly turned his marker, ad­vanced on goal and drove a ris­ing shot to make it 1-2 to no score. Look­ing back, it was the game-win­ning play.

An­other Walsh free landed on 17 min­utes, be­tween Stacks’ only two scores of the half. Dar­ragh O’Brien’s point on 19 min­utes, a nice long-range ef­fort from play, was a bright mo­ment in an oth­er­wise bleak half for The Rock­ies.

Stacks’ first point, cour­tesy of Shane O’Cal­laghan, per­haps, ought to have been fol­lowed by a goal, but Fo­ley did well to save from Mikey Collins in a one-v-one sit­u­a­tion. It was far from the only missed op­por­tu­nity for The Rock­ies, who kicked eight wides in the open­ing pe­riod.

Stacks’ first half was wors­ened by Cor­mac Cof­fey, who made it 1-4 to 0-2 in im­pres­sive style. As Stacks’ de­fend­ers and O’Rahillys’ for­wards con­tested for the ball, it fell in the di­rec­tion of the on-run­ning Cof­fey, who volleyed over to cap a rel­a­tively good half for his team.

Af­ter the break, some of O’Rahillys’ best first-half per­form­ers, namely Mo­ran, Walsh and Cof­fey, cre­ated plenty of chances but con­tin­u­ously fired their shots short or wide.

Stacks cre­ated more open­ings, but their shoot­ing and han­dling at cru­cial mo­ments were also short of qual­ity. By the 46th minute, they were gain­ing in strength, but had only re­duced their ar­rears to three points (0-4 to 1-4). But as O’Rahillys’ at­tack be­came more way­ward and the game more foul tem­pered, Stacks were the ones rev­el­ling in the in­creased in­ten­sity. With five min­utes to play, two fine points by Dy­lan Casey and O’Cal­laghan had the min­i­mum be­tween the teams at 1-4 to 0-6.

O’Rahillys fi­nally got off the mark for the sec­ond half on 55 min­utes when sub Don­agh O’Brien pointed af­ter re­ceiv­ing a pass from Tom Hoare, but it took Fo­ley’s goal­keep­ing to keep Stacks at bay.

He made two great stops in three min­utes from Collins again and Shane O’Call­ga­han, and while the first of these was fol­lowed up by a Dar­ragh O’Brien point, O’Rahillys’ Cof­fey went down and pointed at the other end af­ter the sec­ond save, mak­ing it 1-6 to 0-7.

Af­ter Tom Hoare put a goal be­tween the teams, there was still time for a few more Stacks’ chances and an­other ter­rific Fo­ley save as he tipped away a rasp­ing strike at the right cor­ner by Conor Jor­dan. A late Barry Shana­han point in the third minute of in­jury time made to 1-7 to 0-8 but achieved lit­tle else as Strand Road se­cured a nar­row win.

KERINS O’RAHILLYS: Shane Fo­ley, Danny O’Sul­li­van, Ross O’Cal­laghan, Jor­dan Fo­ley, Dar­ragh McEl­lig­ott, Karl Mullins, Cor­mac Cof­fey (0-2), David Mo­ran, Con Bar­rett, Páidí Grif­fin, Ryan Car­roll, Tom Hoare (0-1), Gearoid Sav­age, Tommy Walsh (1-2, 0-2f), John Keane (0-1) Subs: Don­agh O’Brien for Ryan Car­roll (0-1) 46, Gearoid Dil­lane for John Keane 50, Sean Collins for Padraig Grif­fin 50, Kieran Man­gan for Gearoid Sav­age 60, Gearoid Hart­nett for Ja­son O’Leary 60.

AUSTIN STACKS: Rob­bie Mur­phy, Dy­lan Casey (0-1), Barry Shana­han (0-1), Ro­nan Shana­han, Conor Jor­dan, Jack Mor­gan, Jack O’Shea, Greg Ho­ran, Joseph O’Con­nor, Fi­achra Man­gan, Dar­ragh O’Brien (0-3, 0-1f), Michael O’Brien, Mikey Collins, Shane O’Cal­laghan (0-3, 0-1f), Pa McCarthy Subs: Shane Walsh for Jack O’Shea HT, Fer­gal Ryan for Michael O’Gara 48, Don­agh McKiver­gan for Fi­achra Man­gan 48, David Fitz­mau­rice for Mikey Collins 57

REF­EREE: James O’Sul­li­van

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