Na Gaeil 0-15
Round 4 –Division 2 of the above competition saw Na Gaeil take on Milltown Castlemaine on Saturday evening last, May 12th, in the Paddy Burke Memorial Park, Milltown. Na Gaeil (sponsored by Terry’s Butchers, Tralee) were nursing their wounds after being narrowly beaten the previous Sunday by Beaufort (in extra time) in a thrilling Junior County Final. The Milltown Castlemaine side (sponsored by Larkins Bar/Restaurant and Kelly’s Londis, Top Shop) were also in recovery mode, having been beaten by Keel on Monday night in the Mid Kerry League. Both teams were eager to get back to winning ways. Conditions were ideal, with the sun beaming down and the very slightest breeze blowing. Na Gaeil had the breeze to their backs and so started the stronger with M/C’S keeper being called on in the 3rd minute for a super save. The first score came in the 5th minute with a pointed free from Na Gaeil’s Ian McCarthy. Cathal Moriarty levelled with a point immediately afterwards. A further pointed free followed in the 7th minute. M/C put up a strong defence, in particular Ciarán O Connor to keep Na Gaeil at bay. A block by Brendan Delaney for M/C in the 10th minute prevented the green flag being raised and so Na Gaeil had to settle for a point from Andrew Barry. Dan O’ Connor pointed for the visitors again in the 12th minute. Both sides were guilty of errors in passing and so it was M/C who were next to score. Some excellent link play in the 14th minute between Shane Murphy, Cathal Moriaty and Gavin Horan, saw the latter beating the Na Gaeil keeper, for a perfectly taken goal. Nigel Wrenn popped up with an excellent point, following a passing movement involving Jerome Flynn and David Roche. This left a score line of M/C 1-03 to Na Gaeil’s 3 points after 15 minutes of play. M/C were guilty of a few wides which at the end of the game proved very costly indeed.
Na Gaeil went on a scoring run with four unanswered points in the next ten minutes. Two of these came from Jamie Lowham and Stefan Okunbor who was playing in a mid-field role, despite wearing the No.3 jersey. Dara Devine accounted for the other two points. Both sides continued to battle hard for their kick outs but Na Gaeil seemed to be winning most of them. Na Gaeil’s Diarmuid O’ Connor- an All-Ireland winning minor in 2016 and 2017, was having a particularly fine game around the mid field/half forward line. Just before half time, Derek Twiss scored a pointed free off his left boot with Na Gaeil’s Kieran O’ Donovan pointing for the visitors in the 28th minute giving a score line of Na Gaeil:0/08, M/C: 1/04 at the short whistle. The second half commenced with the home side now having the aid of a slight breeze. Derek Twiss opened the scoring with a pointed free in the first minute. However, it was Na Gaeil’s Dara Devine’s turn once again to pop over another free. Two more points in the 6th and 7th minute saw Na Gaeil stretch their lead to two points. M/C responded with a Cathal Moriarty pointed free to give them a score of 1/06 to Na Gaeils- 11 points. Na Gaeil introduced Dan Goggin for Diarmuid Herlihy in the 11th minute to give them fresh legs and added strength.
Milltown-Castlemaine fight back
Diarmuid O’ Connor, went on a solo run up the field and slotted a brilliant point over for Na Gaeil in the 12th minute. In a game which was marred by frees, there was also a fair share of cards displayed to both sides, keeping the Annascaul referee, Tim Falvey busy with the paper work! A mark by Diarmuid O’ Connor on the 45 set Na Gaeil up for another fine point, this time from Ian McCarthy-establishing a 4 point lead for the visitors after the 3rd quarter. M/C introduced Jamie O’ Shea for Derek Twiss in the 17th minute. They went on to score three unanswered points with two from Cathal Moriarty and a superbly taken point by Donal Dennehy, which brought the home side back to within 1 point of their opponents. The lead resumed to 2 points almost immediately with a pointed free by Dara Devine. Stephen Roche made way for Damian Murphy, in the 24th minute. Substitute Jamie O’ Shea sent over a point for M/C in the 25th minute. Fergal Barry came in for Kieran O’ Donovan for Na Gaeil with Jeremiah Hayes and Jack McCarthy coming off the bench for M/C. Diarmuid O’ Connor, who had a man of the match performance for Na Gaeil, popped over another great point giving Na Gaeil a 2 point margin at the long whistle. And so Na Gaeil went away with two valuable County League points. Well done to both panels and their management teams. Next up for M/Cis an away encounter with Castleisland Desmonds on Sunday May 27th at 2 pm while Na Gaeil are at home to Currow -same day/time. Report by Deirdre O’ Sullivan.