Corn Ui Mhuiri Quarter Final: St Brendan’s Killarney 0-14 St Flannan’s 1-10
The easy way to sum this up would be that St Brendan’s made better use of their time with the wind at their backs, but there was more to it than that.
It was a second heartbreaking finale on the trot for St Flannan’s in this competition, with their opponents not hitting the front until the clock had hit the 58th minute. At that stage, they had reeled off 0-7 without reply as St Flannan’s struggled to wrest back the momentum that had seen them clear at the break.
When this game is reviewed, the harsh reality will be that the destiny of its outcome was really in the hands of the St Flannan’s men for the vast majority of the contest. They may have only managed two Mark McInerney frees in the second period, but it was simple errors when in possession that allowed St Brendan’s to creep back into the game. There were too many occasions when promising attacks broke down in the final third, and the Kerry outfit were only too happy to break on the counter attack and punish on the scoreboard. They were impressive at times and showed that level of comfort on the ball that only Kerry sides can, but St Flannan’s will know they had more than enough possession and control to have seen this one out. Defensively they were solid with no clear cut goal chance materialising for St Brendan’s, but it was at the other end where possession was turned over on too many occasions which allowed the Kerry outfit to create the overlap and punish.
The second half display was in stark contrast to the first, as excellent displays up front from Diarmuid Cahill, Killian O’Connor and Mark McInerney saw St Flannan’s race into a 1-8 to 0-4 half-time lead. They had the dream start as O’Connor found the top corner of the net inside the opening minute with a powerful drive after being slipped through by McInerney. St Brendan’s responded with the next two scores but St Flannan’s did likewise with a Dara Nagle free and a tidy finish from Conner Hegarty to see them in control. Patient play through the first-half allowed St Flannan’s to create good scoring chances and they made the most of it to raid for 0-6 unanswered with McInerney (0-3), Cahill, (2) and Nagle all finding the range to leave their side well in control. St Brendan’s did close the scoring for the opening period but it was the Clare side well in control once the half-time whistle blew.
The strong wind was always going to be a factor but it was not the defining one as the same level of work-rate and composure that St Flannan’s showed in the first 30 minutes seemed to fade after the restart. The first two scores of the second period were created by simple errors, as St Brendan’s capitalised on a loose clearance to allow William Shine to split the posts. The resultant kickout saw St Flannan’s goalkeeper Niall O’Donohue penalised for taking too long and another St Brendan’s score materialised from the throw-in that followed. Those scores seemed to unsettle St Flannan’s, but with no return coming from the attacks the Clare men created, it allowed St Brendan’s to continue pushing for scores.
Legion clubman Ryan O’Grady was the star of the show for St Brendan’s as he produced some outstanding scores including 0-5 in the final quarter of the contest. Three of those scores came without reply to level the game with ten minutes to go, but a crucial score arrived when Mark McInerney sent over a free he had won himself to edge St Flannan’s back into the lead inside the closing five minutes.
It should have been the score that steadied the ship, but instead it was the Killarney men who would kick on to fire the next three points of the game to take the lead for the first time. Another free from McInerney did close the gap to the minimum, and while there was a late scramble for an equalizer the Kerry side held out to scrape through to the last four.
St Flannan’s manager Eoin Curtin admitted he was bitterly disappointed but proud of his sides efforts.
“We had a great first half but did not seem to push on in the second half. No matter what way you look at it, two points in the second half just is not good enough. We played great football in the first half and we know we can do that, but in the second we just really struggled to get a foothold in the game and made a lot of unforced errors which are things that we don’t normally do. You can’t give a team like St Brendan’s possession like that. We had chances in the last few minutes but we just didn’t seem to have that composure. We did not attack at pace which has been our mantra and you won’t get anything unless you are doing that. We came here to win today and had the preparation done so we are just devastated. We are really proud of the lads and we are confident they have a really bright future ahead in both codes” he said.
St Flannan’s: Niall O’Donohue; Dylan Cunningham, Gavin D’Auria, Gearoid Hanrahan; Cormac Reidy, Matthew Reidy, Jarlath Collins; Oisín O’Donnell, Niall Walsh; Dara Nagle, Diarmaid Cahill, Conner Hegarty; Killian O’Connor, Cian Galvin, Mark McInerney.
Scorers: Mark McInerney (0-5, 3f), Killian O’Connor (1-0), Dara Nagle (0-2, 2f), Diarmaid Cahill (0-2), Conner Hegarty (0-1).