Mid Kerry Championship
Milltown/Castlemaine(sponsored by Larkin's Bar/Restaurant and Kelly' Londis-Topshop) set up a Mid Kerry Semi-Final meeting with Glenbeigh/Glencar in the coming weeks after a comfortable seven point winning margin away to Cromane on Saturday afternoon. In an encounter which ebbed and flowed and was played at a relatively fast pace in the first half, the game stagnated a bit and got sloppy following the dismissal of Donnachadh Walsh after the half time break where both sides found it hard to get into any sort of rhythm.
Cathal Moriarty would ultimately prove to be the difference between the two sides as his 0-8 contribution (0-5 from play) saw M/C safely navigate their way past a Cromane side who would have harboured ambitions of turning over the visitors and advancing themselves in the competition
It was the home side that enjoyed the brighter opening of the two sides with Sean O'Sullivan & Darran Houlihan leading the charge for the hosts with three points inside the opening 10 minutes with two pointed efforts from play and one from a 14 yard free. Cathal Moriarty and Donal Dennehy who excelled at midfield, replied in kind for the travelling party both from play.
M/C tagged on the next four points with Jerome Flynn seeing a goal bound effort turned over by Cromane keeper Paudie McCarthy; he would later be rewarded for his efforts with a goal. Cathal Moriarty showed his class with three pointed efforts from play off both left and right from both sides of the field to open up a 0-6 to 0-3 lead after 16 mins.
Darran Houlihan, who was Cromane's chief scoring threat all afternoon reduced their arrears to two with an effort off his reliable left peg. Cromane's indiscipline was costing them scores and no better man to take advantage of those mistakes than Moriarty who showed his skills from placed balls with a free from 45 yards and 21 yards making it 0-8 to 0-4 after 25 mins.
Wing-Back Finbar Casey with the outside of his right boot landed a big point for Cromane to keep them in touch at 0-8 to 0-5 but M/C hit an ultimately pivotal purple patch before the half time break as they hit 1-2 without response between the 28th and 31st minutes respectively with a Jerome Flynn goal after Jack McCarthy saw an effort drop short and the keeper didn't deal with the dropping ball. 2 subsequent pointed efforts from Ciaran O'Connor and Donal Dennehy pushed Milltown/Castlemaine into a commanding 1-10 to 0-5 lead and it would be a big ask for Cromane to recover.
Paul Patrick O'Sullivan with a 14 yard free did tap over the final score of the half for Cromane to give them some hope heading in at the interval.
Half Time: M/C 1-10 Cromane 0-6
Milltown-Castlemaine stretch their lead
Cromane started the 2nd half similar to the opening with the first score, this time from a Paul Patrick O'Sullivan.
M/C responded immediately with a Moriarty 14 yard free after David Roche had been pulled back.
Soon after Donnchadh Walsh brought David Roche to the ground and received his marching orders from referee Donal Casey, who had little choice on the matter. Gavin Horan landed a monstrous score from way out the field to push Milltown/Castlemaine 1-12 to 0-7 in front with still over twenty minutes to play.
Jack McCarthy followed this up with a fisted point.
Corner-Back for Cromane Liam Teahan kept Cromane heads up however with a beautiful point from 45 yards on 42 mins but this was once again followed by a prompt reply from the visitors as Craig Counihan (Making a Championship Debut) from a tight angle and David Roche knocked over two efforts from play to make it 1-15 to 0-8.
Mikey Houlihan and Sean Walsh kept the Cromane fight alive and to their eternal credit and despite the numerical disadvantage put over five of the games next six points between the 45th and 58th minutes respectively.
Milltown/Castlemaine brought in Jamie O'Shea for the impressive Flynn, who made a tremendous contribution in the 1st half and O'Shea showed his credentials with Milltown's only score between the 45th and 59th minutes from play off his left side.
Gavin McKenna also came in for Ciarán O'Connor who appeared to suffered a bit of concussion following a collision with Darran Houlihan, Tadgh McCarthy came in for Kieran O'Carroll & Brendan Delaney came into the middle of the park for the closing stages.
Between the 52nd and 58th minutes Cromane through a Darran Houlihan point from an acute angle, Houlihan again through a 14 yard free & a point from substitute Danny O'Shea cut the gap back to six points at 1-16 to 0-13.
Cathal Moriarty probably fittingly would get the final score of the day with a lovely left legged effort stroked eloquently between the posts to see the visitors into a semi-final meeting with Glenbeigh/Glencar.
A huge well done to Killian Kerins and Craig Counihan for their gutsy performances in their championship debuts.
Final Score: Milltown/Castlemaine 1-17 Cromane 0-13
Milltown/Castlemaine Team & Scorers:
Cormac Leane, Damian Murphy, Ciaran O'Connor (0-1), Stephen Roche, Paul Carroll, Pa Wren (Capt), Kieran O'Carroll, Donal Dennehy (0-2), David Roche (0-1), Killian Kerins, Gavin Horan (0-1), Craig Counihan (0-1), Jack McCarthy (0-1), Cathal Moriarty (0-8), Jerome Flynn (1-1)
Subs Used: Gavin McKenna, Brendan Delaney, Jamie O'Shea (0-1) & Tadgh McCarthy
Cromane Team & Scorers:
Paudie McCarthy, Liam Teahan (0-1), John Michael Foley (Capt), Brendan Foley, Finbar Casey (0-1), Sean Walsh (0-1), Shane Ahern, Donnchadh Walsh, Darran Houlihan (0-5), Shane O'Neil, Paul Patrick O'Sullivan (0-2), Mikey Houlihan (0-1), Sean O'Sullivan (0-1), Danny O'Shea (0-1, Sub), Niall Dennehy