SUPER Spa are back in the big time after a thrilling Kerry Intermediate Football final victory over Beaufort at Fitzgerald Stadium.
The finely tuned Ivor Flynn trained side were hugely impressive and they regained their senior status by means of a stunning 4-18 to 1-19 win.
The long-awaited 2020 decider certainly lived up to its billing and the huge turnout on the day got to enjoy a fabulous game of football with Beaufort also in super form.
It was Spa’s day, however, and what an occasion it was in particular for classy attacker Cian Tobin who bagged a terrific hat-trick to become the hero of the hour and to steer his club back to the senior ranks.
While Tobin was the talk of Killarney – and deservedly so – this was very much a team effort and illustrating that fact was the fact that Spa had no less than 12 different scorers on the day and great teamwork across all sectors earned them a first Intermediate title since 2009.
It’s the third time in the club’s history that they have won the title after suffering heartbreaking defeats in their last three final appearances in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The sides were level at 0-8 each when the first goal came in the 26th minute. Evan Cronin embarked on a great run but his effort came back off the upright into the waiting hands of Cian Tobin, who duly finished it to the back of the net and at half-time it was the goal that separated the sides, with Spa leading at 1-9 to 0-9.
Shane Cronin set up the opportunist Cian Tobin for his second goal of the day in the 36th minute to make it 2-11 to 0-11 and very shortly after that Ciaran Spillane did well to intercept a kick out and he passed it through to Tobin whose shot ricocheted off the inside of the post and rattled the net once more his hat-trick complete on 43 minutes.
Mike Breen, Jack O’Connor, Padraig Doona and Ciarán Kennedy were doing extremely well for Beaufort and Doona notched their goal when he slotted past keeper James Devane in the 59th minute but the game ended Spa 4-18 Beaufort 1-19.
Spa captain Evan Cronin climbed the steps to collect the cup from County Board Chairman. Tim Murphy, with Cian Tobin announced as their man-of-the-match after scoring a highly impressive 3-1.
After claiming the 2020 Intermediate title, Spa now step up to compete in the 2021 senior club championship and their first game out will be against neighbours Dr Crokes next Sunday September in Fitzgerald Stadium (2.30pm).
It also means that Spa will compete on their own in the 2021 County Championship and will not be part of the East Kerry divisional side this year.
Spa: James Devane, Brian Lynch, Eoin Fitzgerald, Shane Lynch, Shane Cronin (0-2), Dan O’Donoghue (0-1), Gary Vaughan (0-1, 45)), Liam Kearney, Ciaran Spillane (0-1), Niall O’Mahony (0-1), Michael Foley (0-2 frees), Dara Moynihan (0-4), Niall McCarthy (0-1), Evan Cronin (0-3, 0-2 frees), Cian Tobin (3-1).
Subs: David Spillane (1-0), Mike McCarthy (0-1), Eoghan Cronin, Cian Murphy.
Beaufort: Sean Coffey, Ger Hartnett, Sean Kelliher, Kieran O’Sullivan, Ethan Coffey, Mike Breen (0-2), Jonathan Kissane, Nathan Breen (0-1), Ronan Murphy (0-1), Sean O’Brien, Liam Carey (0-3), Ian McGillycuddy, Padraig Doona (1-3), Ciarán Kennedy (0-3), Fergal Hallissey (0-4, 0-2 frees,0-1 45).
Subs: Jack O’Connor (0-1), Liam Curran, Danny Healy, Mary Neary, Padraig O’Sullivan.
Referee: Jonathan Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar).