By Seamus Hayes
TWO goals in the third quarter, both of which were fortunate, turned the tie in Kilmaley’s favour at Cusack Park on Sunday.
A point separated the sides when Daire Keane’s effort for a point deceived Ronan Taaffe in the Tubber goal and dipped into the net, nine minutes into the second half.
The score rattled Tubber and four minutes later, they were in further trouble when Pádraig Talty’s overhead flick found the net, putting the Kilmaley men eight points clear.
From here on, they always looked the likely winners and while Tubber tried hard to get back into contention, Kilmaley held firm.
“Whichever side got the goal was going to create some kind of a gap and maybe they were a bit fortunate but we will take them any day,” Kilmaley manager, PJ Kennedy said.
“Overall, I was delighted with the display. We had three minors out there and overall we have a lot of young fellas. They showed great heart. We went into the game with a lot of injuries and fellas were out there with injuries. We needed that win in Kilmaley. We have a lot of good talent.”
“This is a fine Tubber team and they had a lot of work done. It’s all down to next week now,” he concluded.
Tubber boss Pat Taaffe was, understandably, disappointed.
“For five minutes at the start of the second half we were on top. Then they got two very handy goals and that changed the game completely. A lot of our big guys didn’t come up to the form we expected from them. On another day, maybe, things would be different,” he said.
The Tubber mentor stressed, “We are still there and we will have another go next week.”
It was point-for-point in the opening quarter, at the end of which Kilmaley led 0-5 to 0-4. An Eamonn Taaffe point had the sides level for the fifth time two minutes into the second quarter but then Kilmaley hit three-in-a-row from Michael O’Malley, Aidan McGuane and Michael O’Neill. They went on to lead 0-11 to 0-8 when the half-time whistle sounded.
Tubber had the first two scores in the second half from David Donoghue and Blaine Earley, in between which Kilmaley lost the experienced Diarmuid McMahon with a shoulder injury. However, the two goals turned the game in Kilmaley’s favour.
Entering the final quarter, the winners were eight clear and that was still the position with just three minutes to play. Midway through the second half, Tubber had made a number of switches and these included the move of Mark Earley from defence to midfield. He got through for their only goal three minutes from time but it was too late to prevent Kilmaley from getting their first win of the campaign.
Seventeen-year-old Michael O’Malley hit four excellent points from midfield, while fellow minor Aidan McGuane also impressed. Others to do well were Martin O’Connor, Conor Cleary and Michael O’Neill.
Best for Tubber were Mark Earley, Paul Fogarty, Eamon Taaffe, Gerard O’Connor and Clive Earley.
Kilmaley: Kieran Dillon; Martin O’Connor, Noel Casey, Sean Talty; Eoin Enright, Conor Cleary, Colin McGuane; Kenneth Kennedy, Michael O’Malley; Aidan McGuane, Michael O’Neill, Daire Keane; Conor Neylon, Diarmuid McMahon, Cian Moloney.
Subs: Pádraig Talty for McMahon (inj, 35 minutes), Brian McMahon for Neylon (46 minutes), Eoin O’Malley for Moloney (51 minutes) and Stephen McNamara for M O’Malley (59 minutes).
Scorers: Michael O’Malley, Michael O’Neill (0-4 each), Daire Keane, Pádraig Talty (1-0 each), Kenneth Kennedy (0-3, 2f), Aidan McGuane (0-2), Diarmuid McMahon and Cian Moloney (0-1 each).
Frees for: 11; wides: 13; 65s: 1.
Tubber: Ronan Taaffe; Paul Fogarty, Mark Earley, Declan Ryan; Francis McCormack, Conor Earley, Fergal O’Grady; Clive Earley, Pat O’Connor; Justin McMahon, Eamonn Taaffe, David O’Donoghue; Blaine Earley, Barry O’Connor, Darragh O’Connor.
Subs: Gerard O’Connor for McMahon (inj, 18 minutes) and Tommy Lee for B O’Connor (40 minutes).
Scorers: Blaine Earley (0-4f), Mark Earley (1-1), David O’Donoghue, Gerard O’Connor, Eamonn Taaffe (0-2 each), Clive Earley and Pat O’Connor (0-1 each).
Frees for: 13; wides: 6; 65s: 1.
Referee: Ger Hoey, Killanena.