On a fine Tuesday evening for a match weather wise, Milltown/Castlemaine hosted near neighbours Keel in a Mid Kerry Senior Football League encounter which was due to take place at an earlier stage of the year but had to be pushed back due to the inclement Winter weather. Keel travelled over looking to get off the mark in the Mid Kerry League as two defeats to Laune Rangers & Glenbeigh/Glencar in earlier rounds back 2/3 months ago seen them propping up the table at the bottom. In the intervening period since those earlier rounds they competed in the Premier Junior Championship in April and had a victory over St. Pats Blennerville, coupled with defeats to Fossa and St. Michaels/Foilmore whilst in the County League Division 3 following Promotion up from Division 4 last season they have a win versus Ballydonoghue, a draw versus Lispole and a defeat to St. Senans to their name. Milltown/Castlemaine came into it on the back of two earlier rounds where they beat Cromane but lost to Beaufort, both games which also took place a number of months ago. Keel played against the breeze in the 1st half and took the lead right from the opening minutes of the match which they never once relinquished for the remainder of the game. Points from play from Martin Burke & Gavin Evans coupled with an Aaron Murphy 21 yard free between the 4th and 7th minutes gave the away side an early three point advantage after surging runs forward, a feature of the away sides performance all evening. M/C had 3 wides in the opening quarter as a goal attempt from Jerome Flynn hit the side netting before further wides from Cathal Moriarty and Jack McCarthy compounded a poor opening for the home team. Derek Twiss & Aaron Murphy exchanged frees in the 11th and 12th minutes to leave it 0-4 to 0-1 before Barth Murphy from play and Derek Twiss (Free) in the 15th and 17th minutes left the gap at three still midway through the opening half. Aaron Murphy (Free) and a deflected Barth Murphy effort from 21 yards whilst on the run seen Keel open up a healthy five point lead approaching the half time whistle at 0-7 to 0-2. M/C did respond right before the break however and two scores, one a beautiful point from 30 yards by Cathal Moriarty and another by Full Back Pa Wren from close range seen the gap stay at three going into the break. HT: Milltown/Castlemaine 0-4 Keel 0-7
Milltown-Castlemaine respond well to Keel goal
Donal Dennehy opened the second half scoring with a lovely pointed effort from an acute angle, this was followed by a Derek Twiss wide after Cathal Moriarty was fouled, much more positive signs by the home team however early on. Keel played on the counter for large spells of the second half, trying to guard their lead and hoping to pick off M/C on the break and it worked very well in the most part. Terry O'Sullivan palmed a goal into an unguarded M/C net on 35 minutes after Barth Murphy ran straight through the heart of the home sides rearguard and set up Dylan Prendergast who unselfishly picked out O'Sullivan to score at the far post. M/C rallied after this setback and unquestionably had their most dominant spell of the match tagging on five of the next six points between the 38th and 47th minutes. A Derek Twiss free was quickly added to by a Cathal Moriarty point from play which could easily have been a goal only for the outstanding Luke Flynn in the Keel goal denying Ciaran O'Connor what seemed certain to be a Goal. Flynn would go on to make three top drawer saves which ultimately led Keel to victory in the end. Jack McCarthy added one from 14 yards on the turn which was replied to in kind by Keel midfielder David Mackessy from distance after a top quality pass from Martin Burke caught out the M/C defence. Paul Carroll with another excellent goal opportunity in the 46th minute seen his effort once again superbly saved by Luke Flynn as he turned it over the crossbar for a point. Derek Twiss with a free which was tipped over the bar by a combination of Luke Flynn/Martin Burke on the goal line narrowed the gap to the bare minimum approaching the final ten minutes with Keel now leading 1-08 to 0-10.
Goals prove decisive
It was all goal mouth action at both ends for large parts of the second half as Jeremiah Hayes seen his effort hit the upright for M/C whilst Cian Flynn down the opposite end for Keel seen his effort tremendously saved by Cormac Leane when a score seemed inevitable. A goal did materialise eventually and it came for the visitors rather fortuitously it must be added but they all add up, Cian Flynn seen an effort for a point come off the upright and it fell into the grateful arms of Dylan Prendergast and he made no mistake burying the the bottom left hand corner to open back up a four point cushion at 2-08 to 0-10. Martin Burke and Terry O'Sullivan from play extended this lead out further approaching the closing stages at 2-10 to 0-10. Substitute Jamie O'Shea had a pointed free as he did his best to keep M/C in it but the light was beginning to fade for Paul Fitzmaurice's charges as another goalbound effort from O'Shea was for the third time saved by Flynn at his feet and cleared from danger. James Foley and Aaron Murphy wrapped up the scoring in injury time for Keel with two further scores (1 from play, 1 free) to leave Keel the happier of the two sides heading home on a winning margin of 2-12 to 0-11. On the balance of it, Keel did deserve the win as they were more clinical on the scoring front and attacked with purpose from deep all evening but M/C will look back at 5 good goal scoring opportunities (1 in 1st half, 4 in 2nd half) and the fact that they took none will be the disappointing element. Keel contributed 2-8 of their 2-12 from play and although their was an element of good fortune about the 2nd goal, they were good value for the victory in the end. M/C scored 0-7 of their 0-11 from play but will hope to be ready for Na Gaeil this weekend as they look to go back to the Top of Division 2. Milltown/Castlemaine Team: C Leane, C O'Connor, P Wren (0-1), S Roche, D Roche, N Wrenn, P Carroll (0-1), B Delaney, D Dennehy (0-1), J Flynn, J Hayes, K Kerins, J McCarthy (0-1), C Moriarty (0-2), D Twiss (0-4) Subs: K Carroll, J O'Shea (0-1), T McCarthy, D Murphy, J O'Sullivan. Keel Team: L Flynn, J A Cahilane, D O'Neil, S Cremins, J Foley (0-1), G Evans (0-1), A Cahilane, M Burke (0-2), D Mackessy (0-1), D Prendergast (1-0), A Murphy (0-4), B Murphy (0-2), C Flynn, J Foley, T O'Sullivan (1-1) Milltown/Castlemaine take on Na Gaeil this weekend in Round 4 of the County League Division 2 in Milltown. By Dara O'Connor