Even the most ardent of Rockies couldn’t deny that the Killarney Legion senior team didn’t deserve something out of this interesting County League clash played in Connolly Park this Saturday evening. When Austin Stacks corner forward Darragh O Brien stood over a last minute close in free his only focus was to hit the onion sack. He did so by launching a rocket which somehow managed to evade any sprawling Legion hands to find the back of the net and hand the home side an unlikely draw.
That the free was still awarded led to some debate amongst the not so knowledgeable in the crowd. Shane O Callaghan saw red for a clear strike in the immediate aftermath of the concession of the free by the Legion defence and all and sundry expected a hop ball as a result. But the free stood and the rest is history.
What wasn’t up for debate was the performance of the Legion team which was as gutsy as the days are long this week and arguably deserved the full points against the County Champions. Not for the first time this year James O Donoghue was the conductor of the orchestra and his five first half points saw Legion lead 0-8 to 0-6 at half time. In the same period Ryan O’Grady was unlucky to see his shot cannon off the crossbar while Thomas Moriarty scored a fine point after great link up play by Shaun Keane and Padraig Lucey. Brian Kelly kicked a long range free while centre back Danny Sheahan stole up field to fist over a nice point. The score of the half was the final score of the half as James O D showed some Old Jack Magic to bamboozle the Stacks defence. The Stacks kept in touch thanks mainly to the Horans, Conor and Greg, who kicked two apiece, Darragh O Brien and Michael O Donnell.
Points were shared in the opening minutes of the second half with Darragh O Brien kicking two free and James O D and Sam Benson responding. Finbarr Murphy kicked a free following a tenacious run by Sam Benson which Stacks centre back Ronan Shanahan replied to. Conor Keane made his first appearance of 2022 and proceeded to kick a worldie from the right wing and when Peter McCarthy slipped over a point from play followed by a James O D free a five point lead was in hand , 0-14 to 0-9. Darragh O Brien narrowed it to four with a free, while sweeper keeper Wayne Guthrie made it a three point game from play.
It looked like Legion would hold out for the points until the cruel intervention of the last minute goal. But that shouldn’t overshadow what was a massively encouraging display in the home of the County Champions. If these performances can be replicated and improved , and with a few more bodies to come back in, there is no reason why a crack at the Intermediate Championship shouldn’t be relished.
P.S. Hats off to Brian Kelly who travelled down today from Tullamore, where he is the goalkeeping coach with the Kerry minors, to be down in time for the throw in
Team ..Brian Kelly(0-1), Darragh O Doherty, Rob Leen, Peter O Sullivan, Jonathan Lyne, Danny Sheahan(0-1), Cian Gammell, Padraig Lucey, Shaun Keane, Peter McCarthy(0-1), James O Donoghue(0-7),Denis Sheahan, Sam Benson(0-1), Thomas Moriarty(0-1), Ryan O Grady.
Subs..Darragh Fleming for Denis Sheahan, Conor Keane(0-1) for Ryan O Grady, Finbarr Murphy(0-1) for Shaun Keane, Podge O’Connor for Sam Benson, Denis Sheahan for James O Donoghue