Championship season got off to a winning start for the Killarney clubs last weekend as the Legion and the Crokes both overcame stern tests to advance unscathed to the winners’ round.
I’m only back in the Legion squad myself but I know Rathmore had a bit of a run going against us so it was nice to beat them out in Rathbeg. The first half was even enough and a cracking goal by James O’Donoghue was all that separated the sides at the break. The hosts started the second half at an unmerciful pace, however, and when Shane Ryan netted four minutes after the restart, they led by two.
The game swung back in our favour shortly after when Pádraig Lucey was in the right place at the right time to gather a rebound and tap home from close range. Our backs managed to get a handle on Rathmore’s skilful forwards thereafter and Jamie O’Sullivan kept the scoreboard ticking over at the other end with a string of frees.
We led by five, 2-13 to 1-11, with just three minutes to go and appeared to be in control of the situation but there was still time for another dramatic twist. John Moynihan did well to evade two defenders on the end line before teeing up Eoin Lawlor and the diminutive forward applied the finish to make it a two-point game with the clock winding down.
Shane Ryan kicked another point to cut the deficit to one but luckily the boys managed to weather the storm and James O’Donoghue had the final say when he fisted a score from a narrow angle. I thought it was a good team performance by the lads and in the end we were good value for our 2-14 to 2-12 win.
Dr Crokes also booked their place in Round 2A with a surprisingly narrow victory over St Kieran’s in Lewis Road. I predicted a comfortable 11-point victory for the Crokes last week but I was a bit off; Kieran’s actually led by a point with just five minutes to play and it took a grandstand finish to spare the home team’s blushes. Four straight points by Daithí Casey, Paul Clarke, Jordan Kiely and Johnny Buckley sealed the victory for the reigning champions, who are currently having to make do without key players like Gavin White and Tony Brosnan.
Elsewhere, Mid Kerry hammered An Ghaeltacht, South Kerry beat Kenmare and St Brendan’s got the better of West Kerry in Austin Stack Park. The latter result means that East Kerry will face Brendan’s in the first round this coming Saturday. East Kerry will be favourites to advance but with some exciting young talent on show on both sides, it should make for interesting viewing. Throw-in at Fitzgerald Stadium is at 5.30pm.
Remaining Round 1 fixtures:
All games on Saturday at 5.30pm
Austin Stacks v Kenmare District (Connolly Park)
Dingle v Shannon Rangers (Páirc an Ághasaigh)
East Kerry v St Brendan’s (Fitzgerald Stadium)
Feale Rangers v Kerins O’Rahilly’s (Listowel)