Report by Maurice Brosnan (The Examiner)
Two points down deep in injury time, Templenoe were on the verge of a hard-earned victory over their local rivals Kenmare Shamrocks. Stephen O’Brien then took off on a trademark sprint in a bid to summon a dramatic equalizer.
The goal came thanks to substitute Shane O’Sullivan, who palmed in O’Brien’s handpass across the square to send the locals in Fr. Breen Park delirious. The town stunned the village with a late goal. Immediately it reminded O’Brien of one thing.
“Very like 2020, wasn’t it?” the Kerry star said post-match with a shake of his head and a smile. Their first ever senior meeting that year ended in similar circumstances with a late Paul O’Connor goal doing the damage that day.
O’Brien had initially tried a long-range effort of his own, only for the ball to be blocked and break kindly to James McCarthy. The midfielder quickly gathered the ball and returned it to O’Brien. When did he realise the goal was on?
“Right away. See the ball actually hit him in the face, so that took a man out basically. It was a really poor attacking performance. We scored 1-2 in the second half like, but delighted to dig it out. That’s us safe from relegation at least.”
It was all level at the break, although Templenoe were superior for much of the opening half-hour with the breeze at their backs. They led 0-7 to 0-3 after 20 minutes with elusive wing-forward Stephen O’Sullivan particularly prominent, kicking four points from five shots.
Jimmy Lehane then landed a much-needed Kenmare goal after Kevin O’Sullivan did superbly to collect a Tommy O’Sullivan kick inside and pop a pass across to the oncoming runner. Templenoe recovered after the turnaround to land five of the next seven scores, with Killian Spillane kicking two frees, one from play and working one short for a Martin Reilly point.
There were misses at either end in the final quarter, O’Connor squandering a chance after a driving run from Cian O’Sullivan and Spillane sending a free wide from the top of the D. As the contest came to a boil referee Seamus Mulvihill did well to keep a lid on it, firmly instructing fallen attackers to ‘get up!’ and dismissing black card appeals evenly.
There was time for one final Templenoe attack, but Darragh O’Connor stripped Killian Spillane expertly and the final whistle sounded immediately after.
Back-to-back wins and a handful of points was just the tonic O’Brien was looking for after the disappointment of their All-Ireland final loss three weeks ago. Right back at it and relishing it.
“I love it. Getting over the disappointment is one thing but also, look at the weather here. It’s a gorgeous day for football. This is when you want to be playing. Before it could be basically winter football by the time you got back. Plus, the lads have been training all year for this. They deserve to play this time of the year too.”
Scorers for Kenmare Shamrocks: Jimmy Lehane 1-1, Sean O’Shea 0-3 (1 free), Shane O’Sullivan 1-0, Micheal McCarthy 0-1, Stephen O’Brien 0-1, Kevin O’Sullivan 0-1.
Scorers for Templenoe: Killian Spillane 0-6 (2 frees), Stephen O’Sullivan 0-4 (1 mark), Martin Reilly 0-1, Colin Crowley 0-1.
Kenmare Shamrocks: K Fitzgibbon; D Crowley, T O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan; D O’Shea, T Cronin, J O’Regan; D Haillssey, J McCarthy; D Ciuciu, S O’Shea, J Lehane; S O’Brien, K O’Sullivan, M McCarthy.
Subs: T O’Sullivan (Atlantic) for D Hallissey, P O’Connor for M McCarthy (44), D O’Connor for T O’Sullivan, S O’Sullivan for O’Shea (50), D Allman for J Lehane (57).
Templenoe: M Looney; M Hallissey, K O’Neill, M Casey; G Crowley, T Morley; M Reilly; S Sheehan, A Spillane; S O’Sullivan, P Clifford, C Crowley; K Spillane, B Crowley, A Crowley.
Subs: K McCarthy for P Clifford (temp 52-55), J Rice for M Hallisey (60).
Referee: S Mulvihill (St. Senans)