COMETH the hour cometh the man – two men, actually – who produced swashbuckling performances on the greatest stage of all to propel Kilcummin to the steps of the Hogan Stand to collect the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship title.
To score three goals and seven points in a championship decider in Croke Park is a feat that not even Roy of the Rovers – or David Clifford – would dare dream of but that’s what man-of-the-moment Kevin McCarthy achieved as Willie Maher’s finely-tuned side thumped Naomh Eanna by 13 points, 5-13 to 2-9.
And with McCarthy on fire at one end of the field, veteran goalkeeper Brendan Kealy was equally impressive at the other as he pulled off two top-drawer saves to deny the Antrim and Ulster champions what looked certain goals.
Kilcummin have become the fifth Kerry club to claim the title that had its birth cert rubber-stamped by former GAA President Seán Kelly who, up until yesterday afternoon, was probably his parish’s most famous son.
He has many rivals for that title now, however, and chief among them is sharpshooter McCarthy who overcame a broken hand to produce one of the best ever individual performances by a Kerryman at GAA headquarters, with every score of his 3-7 haul coming from play.
Make no doubt about it though – Maher’s men had to work tenaciously for the crown as Naomh Eanna never gave up the chase but, when it got down to the nitty gritty, the Kerry champs had too much firepower, craft and guile for their opponents. They wanted it. And they got it.
A game-changing moment occurred when Naomh Eanna’s goalkeeper Paddy Flood was dismissed after a bizarre incident that saw him upending Kilcummin’s Noel Duggan, conceding a penalty that was converted by Kieran Murphy with the Antrim club’s key defender Conor McAuley also suffering an injury in the clash that ended his involvement
What really stood to Kilcummin in this encounter was the explosive start they made to the game, booting an unanswered 2-3 in the opening seven minutes, the goals coming from the lively Matt Keane and man-of-the-match McCarthy who proved, once again, that he has all the qualities to be a real asset for Peter Keane as the season progresses.
Kilcummin scorers: K McCarthy 3-7; K Murphy 1-1 (1-0 penalty); G O’Leary 0-2; J McCarthy 0-1; I Devane 0-1; N Duggan 0-1 (free).
Kilcummin: Brendan Kealy, Sean O’Leary, Donal Maher, Daniel Moynihan, Philip Casey, Chris O’Leary, William Maher, Kieran Murphy, Kevin Gorman, Shane McSweeney, Gary O’Leary, Padraig Nagle, Noel Duggan, Kevin McCarthy, Matt Keane.
Subs: John McCarthy for P Nagle; Daniel O’Leary for W Maher; Ian Devane for N Duggan; Damien O’Leary for G O’Leary; Kelvin Teahan for K Murphy; Mikey O’Shea for M Keane.
© KillarneyToday.com: We have changed the face of local news coverage
Advertise with Kerry’s best read news source: Over 300,000 views every month. Over 20,000 followers on Facebook. Call 087-2229761