Connemara Gaels 1-8 Kerry 0-12
Kerry managed to edge the Gaels in a game where tempers flared late in the second half, and there were 5 players sent to the line – all in the second period. For the second week in a row the Gaels failed to take advantage of a sending off for the opposition. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Joe McGillicuddy was shown red for swinging back at Dean Ryan. The Gaels held a two point lead at the time. Playing a man short, Kerry came back into the game and with the game tied in injury time, Anthony Fenton put the winning point over the bar.
Michael Lundy makes a run for the Gaels.
Kerry held the edge after the first period had ended. Matthew Moffat returned to the Kerry lineup in the middle of the field, and Joe McGillicuddy took the field at center forward. The Gaels also had a rearranged lineup. Martin Coady at corner forward was the main outlet for scores, the former Galway junior player accounted for all four first half points. Kerry moved the ball well in the early going and had the better of the midfield exchanges. Moffatt and McGillicuddy usually had a hand in Kerry’s forward forays and the green and gold moved into a three points to one lead. The Gaels found their feet about 15 minutes into the game and the work rate was stepped up. Michael Lundy worked hard in one corner and in the other, Coady put two points over the bar to level the game. Kerry edged into the lead coming up to half time with points from Moffat, Rob Foley and Michael Geaney, while Coady pointed again for the Gaels.
The Gaels' James Donnelly and Kerry's David Coughlin contest a kickout.
The second half was going well for the westerners until Joe McGillicuddy was sent off for Kerry. After Colm Moriarty put Kerry three points ahead, the Gaels hit with a goal and two points. A Coady free was followed with a goal from substitute Pearce Clancy. Coady had a hand in the score as his free across the face of goal was grabbed by Clancy, who turned and fired into the net. The goal put the Gaels a point to the good, and once again Coady pointed to make it a two point lead for the Connemara men with 15 minutes to go – not necessarily a good position to be in if you are a Gaels fan. Robbie Croft usually gets a mention, and was having a quiet game up to that point. Croft had missed some chances, but put a ’45 over the bar. Coady answered for the Gaels, but Croft made himself heard with another free. Tom McDonagh answered for the Gaels with a well taken point and with less then five minutes to go it looked like the Gaels men would hang on.
Kerry dug deep, and Jer Molloy who had entered as a sub brought Kerry within a point, and who else but Croft tied it up with a point and two minutes to go. Then all hell broke loose. The Gaels were moving upfield when a player from each side, it looked like Hugh O’Neill for the Gaels and Michael Geaney for Kerry, were tangled up in a wrestling match. The sidelines got involved and in addition to Geaney and O’Neill, Kerry’s Moffat was shown the red. It was now 10 versus 12, but Kerry, against the odds were the ones who pulled it out. With the Gaels extra men not joining the attack, Kerry fell back and center back Anthony Fenton broke out of defence and pointed with hardly any time left on the clock. The Gaels Dean Ryan was the last man to be shown the line as the game ended in a great win for Kerry against the odds, but a game that would not go down as one for the kids.
Gaels: B. Power, E. Sullivan, H. O’Neill, P. McNicholas, D. Ryan, S. McKiernan, M. Geoghan, J. Donnelly, M. Kane, S. Cashen, T. McDonagh (0-1), M. Coady (0-7), M. Lundy. Sub P. Clancy (1-0). Kerry: B. O’Connor, S. Hogan, K. O’Connor, M. Godley, A. Fenton (0-1), S. O’Leary, D. Coughlin, M. Moffatt (0-1), R. Foley (0-1), J. McGillicuddy (0-3), C. Moriarty (0-1), R. Croft (0-3), M. Geaney (0-1). Sub: J. Molloy (0-1).
By Rory O'Donnell