It all came down to a dramatic, gripping last gasp goalmouth scramble but, when the final whistle shrilled, Kerins O’Rahilly’s had held on – but only just – to quell a ferocious Templenoe challenge to win the Kerry senior club championship and earn the right to represent Kerry in the provincial competition.
In the final seconds of the game,, the David Moran inspired Tralee side led 0-15 to 0-14 at Fitzgerald Stadium this afternoon but they were holding on for dear life and an equaliser looked likely when Killian Spillane was awarded a very scorable free.
But, with the Stand Road players doing everything they could to distract him, Spillane’s effort dropped agonisingly short and a subsequent point-blank shot at goal was parried.
And that was that.
After a relatively sluggish season by their own high standards, Rahilly’s got it right when it mattered most and with the simply outstanding David Moran and Tom Hoare bossing midfield for much of the game, and with Gavin O’Brien and Barry John Keane working hard, it provided the platform for them to drive on.
The decision to fly Jack Savage and Cormac Coffey home from Dubai for the decider paid handsome dividends as both were very effective in stages, Savage lethally accurate from placed balls and Coffey’s pace troubling Templenoe.
In their first senior final and on the biggest day in the club’s history, Paul Crowley’s team also had its standout performers, however, with Killian Spillane booting over nine points, eight from play, his brother Adrian winning some super ball around the middle in the second half and Brian Crowley and Tadgh Morley were eye-catching in defence.
Although Rahilly’s looked the far better side at times – they got off to a particularly lively start and finished strongly in the final quarter – there was never really too much in it and Templenoe will rue a succession of wides in the second half which ultimately cost them a glory day.
They relied too heavily on Killian Spillane in attack, and despite his massive contribution, he couldn’t deliver the silverware on his own.
It was a great effort on a proud day for the small south Kerry club but it the more experienced Strand Road side that progressed to the Munster Club Championship.
Templenoe: Mark Looney, Brian Crowley (0-1), Kieran O’Neill, John Rice, Patrick Clifford, Tadgh Morley, Gavin Crowley, Seán Sheehan (0-1), Adrian Spillane, Mark Casey, John Crowley Holland (0-1), Colin Crowley, Stephen O’Sullivan (0-1), Aidan Crowley (0-1) Killian Spillane (0-9).
Subs: Kieran McCarthy for Colin Crowley (temporary); Kieran McCarthy for Mark Casey; Tom Spillane for Colin Crowley; Michael Hallissey for John Rice.
Kerins O’Rahillys: Shane Foley, Darragh McElligott, Ross O’Callaghan, Cormac Coffey (0-1), Con Barrett, Karl Mullins, Padraig Neenan, David Moran, Tom Hoare (0-1), Cian Sayers, Jack Savage (0-6), Gavin O’Brien (0-1), Barry John Keane (0-3), Tommy Walsh (0-2), Conor Hayes (0-1).
Subs: Ben Hanafin for Cian Sayers; Seán Walsh for Con Barrett.
Referee: Brendan Brosnan (Glenflesk).
* Before the throw-in a minute’s silence was observed for the late Tom Gudgeon from Templenoe who recently passed away following a road traffic accident.