Austin Stacks 3-05 The Nire 2-04
Austin Stacks recovered from an early red card to beat The Nire and claim the Munster Club SFC title in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The Tralee side were 3-05 to 2-04 winners against the Waterford outfit.
Stacks trailed early in the first half, 1-04 to 0-00, and also had to recover from the dismissal of Shane Carroll.
But they fought back after that red card and found the net on three occasions to prevail.
The promising opening should have afforded The Nire the opportunity to drive home their advantage and claim a major scalp.
But once the Waterford side ventured into Stacks territory, they looked clueless and managed only a single score for the remainder of the game after the red card.
Ferghal McNamara got to grips with The Nire danger man Conor Gleeson and Denis McElligott got the measure of Shane Ryan making their attack looked impotent.
Stacks, through the experience of Kieran Donaghy, Daniel Bohan, and William Kirby late on, and the youthful pair of Greg Horan and Shane O'Callaghan, never panicked and drove their side on to their first Munster Club since December 1976.
Underdogs The Nire exploded from the blocks and with Conor Gleeson acting as tormentor-in-chief of a very flat Austin Stacks, the Waterford side stormed into a 1-03 to 0-00 lead inside the opening seven minutes.
Gleeson set up Michael O'Gorman for the opening point and then a minute later disaster struck for Stacks as Gleeson and Jack Walsh set up Shane Ryan, who rifled the ball into to the roof of the net.
Stacks appeared to be stunned at the turn of events and Brian Wall converted a free as The Nire dominated all sectors.
Conor Gleeson then fired over a beauty, but Stacks responded when man-of-the-match Shane O Callaghan caught a high centre from Greg Horan and finished to the net, despite being fouled.
Ryan then added a point from a free but worse was to follow a minute later when Carroll picked up a needless second yellow and it looked curtains for Stacks.
However, the Kerry champions began to get to the pace of game, and after five wides, The Nire’s keeper Tom Wall kicked the ball out to Callaghan who found David Mannix, and he drilled the ball to the net.
It was followed by a quick free from Mannix and suddenly the sides were level, and that remained the half-time score, 2-01 to 1-04.
Stacks resumed a transformed side but it was far from vintage stuff.
Donaghy won the throw-in at the start of the half and rapid points from Shane O'Callaghan and Mikey Collins handed the initiative to the Kerry side.
The Nire had chances but kicked some poor wides and tenacious defending by Stacks further reduced their chances.
The upset never looked on, as Donaghy, Bohan and Kirby shut up shop, with Pa McCarthy drilling a penalty to The Nire net in the 42nd minute after Michael Moore had grabbed the solitary second-half score for the Waterford club, a goal, when Donaghy appeared to have been fouled.
David Mannix gave Stacks a three-point lead in the 43rd minute and the final quarter never reached any heights, with Stacks looking solid and a Fiachna Mangan point sealed their win, as The Nire came up short.
Austin Stacks: D Mannix 1-02 (0-02f), S O Callaghan 1-01, P McCarthy 1-00 (pen), M Collins and F Mangan 0-01 each
The Nire: S Ryan 1-01 (0-01f), M Moore 1-00, Brian Wall 0-01f, M O Gorman, C Gleeson 0-01 each
Austin Stacks: D O’Brien; F McNamara, B Shanahan, C O Connell, P McCarty, C Jordan, D McElligott; W Guthrie, G Horan; S O’Callaghan, S Carroll, D Bohan, D Mannix, K Donaghy, M Collins
Subs: J Dennis for C O Connell (h/t), F Mangan for M Collins (44), W Kirby for W Guthrie (48), D Long for D Mannix (55):
The Nire: T Wall; Maurice O’Gorman, J Walsh, Thomas O’Gorman; D Wall, B Wall, S Lawlor; G Guiry, S Walsh; M Moore, Michael O’Gorman, M Moore, J Barron; C Gleeson, L Lawlor, S Ryan:
Subs: K Guiry for J Walsh (41), T Cooney for S Ryan (50), D Ryan for G Guiry (58):