Sunday, May 31, 2015

Senior Football Championship: Aidan McAnespies v Kerry

Kerry 4-10 Aidan McAnespies 3-15

Depending on your viewpoint, it was a comeback of epic proportions or a collapse of epic proportions, either way, it was epic.  Having held the advantage for three quarters of the game and leading by no less than nine points entering the final 15, Kerry found themselves on the losing end of a two point decision.  McAnespies scored 2-5 to nothing for Kerry to finish the game. 

It was championship stuff between Kerry and Aidan McAnespies
It was a lively opening half with each side getting off the mark with a goal.  McAnespies struck first when Jamie Cox netted following a run from wing back, John Carney.  Kerry hit back rapidly, however.  A good move where Robbie Croft, Phil O’Sullivan, and Darren Foley liked up ended with Andy Menton netting from a tight angle.  The sides exchanged points as play flowed up and down the field, though Kerry looked a little tighter in their own defensive area. 

Kerry then hit a goal and two points with no reply.  A short kickout ended up in the hands of Croft, and the Dubliner found John O’Keefe totally unmarked with the keeper to beat.  O’Keefe finished with a low drive and Kerry were in the driver’s seat.  McAnespies could have answered in kind through Cox who found himself with the keeper to beat, though in fairness to the corner forward, the angle was tight and the ball went over the bar from the edge of the small square.  The half ended with two points for each side, Cox and Diarmaid Spratt for McAnespies and Croft with both of Kerry’s to see the Kingdom into the break with a four point lead.

Jamie Cox is out to this ball first.
Kerry extended their lead shortly after the restart.  A John O’Keefe goal extended the lead to 6 points.  Paddy Coakley made a great initial save, however, the Rathmore man was on to the rebound to force the ball over the line.  Foley was in behind the defence shortly afterwards following a high ball into the box as Kerry found the holes in which to operate, however this time the deflection from Coakley’s superb save was cleared.  Kerry were up for it now and Ronan Driscoll’s anticipation led to a score from Croft.  Driscoll’s play in the half back line was a shining light for Kerry as the wing back covered a lot of ground. 

McAnespies pointed four times to Kerry’s three before Joe O’Shea delivered what would have appeared to be the final blow to the McAnespies challenge with a goal and the game entering the final quarter.  Kerry were now nine points to the good and surely on track for an early two points.  McAnespies were still kicking though.  A sweeping move upfield led to Driscoll bundling Collie Donnelly over in the box, and Jamie Cox made no mistake with the spot kick.  Calum Comiskey then pointed to reduce the gap to five.  Then, a short kick out went wrong and ended up in the hands of Collie Donnelly who found Sean McConville to net – and the nine point difference was reduced to two in the space of a few minutes.  

At this stage the teams were headed in different trajectories.  McAnespies had the bit between their teeth and the belief that they would win the game was palpable while Kerry’s body language seemed to indicate that the collapse was unavoidable.  Everything ball offer was won by a pair of McAnespies hands and play was all in one direction.  Donnelly and Brickland pointed to level the scores before Comiskey and McConville made sure of the win with a point apiece.  A fantastic way to start for McAnespies, quite the opposite for Kerry.

Kerry:  S. Enright, J. O’Keefe, J. Barry, J. O’Shea, L. Healy, R. Driscoll, D. Foley, P. O’Sullivan, J. O’Keefe, R. Croft, J. Long, A. Menton, C. Whelan.  Macs: P. Coakley, M. Bogue, M. Boyle, J. Carney, C. Comiskey, B. Shaughnessy, J. Brickland, G. O’Neill, R. Kennedy, C. Donnelly, D. Spratt, S. McConville, J. Cox.

By Rory O'Donnell

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