Austin Stacks 1-16 Kenmare Shamrocks 1-11
An early Conor Jordan goal and a man of the match performance from midfield Joseph O'Connor was the basis for Austin Stacks to retain their Kerry County senior club championship title and make it a third such success in as many years.
For Kenmare Shamrocks it was a painful case of deja vu as they lost to Stacks in the final of this competition 12 months ago, and despite Kerry star Sean O'Shea scoring 1-05, including a 51st minute goal that kept Kenmare in the hunt to the very end, the title heads to Tralee for the third year running.
Centre back Jordan struck for his goal in the fourth minute from a Kieran Donaghy assist, and though Kenmare settled down with points from O'Shea (free) and their two midfielders, Stacks led 1-03 to 0-04 at the first water break.
The second quarter was an equally even affair, both teams kicking three points as Stacks led 1-06 to 0-07 at half time, though Stacks biggest concern was the loss of midfielder Brendan O'Sullivan to a hamstring injury after 21 minutes.
Stacks inspired midfielder O’Connor landed two scores straight after the re-start as Kenmare lost Kevin O’Sullivan to a black card, and when Michael O’Donnell converted a free to make it 1-09 to 0-07 there was a sense of the game slipping away from Kenmare.
Sean O’Shea moved between full forward and further afield in an effort to pull some strings, but his Kerry team mate Stephen O’Brien had an off day, losing possession too easily and never really leading the attack as a player of his quality should. Paul O'Connor never quite got to the pitch of the game either for Kenmare.
By the second water break Stacks were 1-10 to 0-09 ahead, and in the 51st minute they could have put the contest to bed when Donaghy teed up Jack O’Shea for a one on one chance with Kieran Fitzgibbon but the Stacks defender blazed his shot over the bar with a goal for the taking.
That miss seemed a little costly when Sean O’Shea picked up a breaking ball a minute later at the other end and fired in a Kenmare goal to make it 1-12 to 1-09. Quilter nailed two points as Sean O’Shea hit back with two of his own, but Kenmare could never close the gap beyond three scores, and Stacks finished strong with O’Shea and Curran added the insurance scores for the Rockies.
There is a weekend off next week for both clubs before the County SFC begins, with Stacks facing three-in-a-row seeking East Kerry in the first round. Stacks manager Wayne Quillinan said he and his players had given no thought to playing the champions but this win will do them no harm when the focus does switch to David Clifford et al this week.
Kenmare Shamrocks take on St Brendan's in their first round, another divisional team that will be buoyed by seeing constituent club Na Gaeil reach the intermediate with a semi-final win on Saturday.
Austin Stacks: Wayne Gurthrie 0-01f, Colin Griffin, Dylan Casey, Jack O’Shea 0-02, Paul O’Sullivan, Conor Jordan 1-01, Ronan Shanahan, Joseph O’Connor 0-03 (0-01m), Brendan O’Sullivan, Greg Horan, Shane O’Callaghan, Fiachna Mangan 0-01, Michael O’Gara 0-01, Kieran Donaghy, Michael O’Donnell 0-04 (0-04f).
Subs: Armin Heinrich for B O’Sullivan (inj, 21), Darragh O’Brien for G Horan (49), Sean Quilter 0-02 for M O’Donnell (49), Adam Curran 0-01 for P O’Sullivan (53), Barry Shanahan for F Mangan (60).
Kenmare Shamrocks: Kieran Fitzgibbon, Dara Crowley 0-02, James McCarthy, Cian O’Sullivan, Dan McCarthy, Dara O’Shea, Shane O’Sullivan, Griffin Wharton 0-01, David Hallissey 0-02, Tom Murnane, Sean O’Shea 1-05 (0-04f), Micheal McCarthy, Stephen O’Brien 0-01, Kevin O’Sullivan, Paul O’Connor.
Subs: Mark Crowley for C O’Sullivan (53), Tommy Cronin for T Murnane (55)
Referee: Jonathan Griffin (Glenbeigh)