The old adage “goals wins games” could be applied to this opening round clash in the Credit Union Senior County League played on a resplendent and floodlit Direen sod Friday evening. That it was the visitors, Kerins O Rahillys, that struck for the majors meant that the home side came out of the game empty handed but the Killarney Legion forwards may well have had a rueful smile as a combination of bad luck and good goalkeeping saw the Narries net remain intact. The crossbar was shaking after Thomas Moriarty’s thunderbolt, Luke O Donoghue saw his parried shot strike the far post while Robert O Connor pulled off a superb reflex save from Finbarr Murphy. Kerins O Rahillys slotted home two goals midway through the opening half, the first from the penalty spot (after a foul on Tommy Walsh that the Legion defence would probably debate) and the second, a neat finish from Conor Hayes.
It was Hayes who got the opening point but that was soon cancelled out and raised by the prominent Finbarr Murphy and James O Donoghue. Jamie O Sullivan and Gary Savage exchanged points before Rahillys goal rush gave them a four point lead, 2-2 to 0-4. But credit to the homeside they responded well through Thomas Moriarty, Jamie O Sullivan, Denis Sheahan (Mark), James O D and Finbarr. Barry John Keane and Shane McElligott kept O Rahillys in the conversation and when the half time whistle was blown by Padraig O Sullivan the sides were as they started, level, 0-10 to 2-4.
The game swayed the Blues way early in the second half as they opened a four point lead with scores from Hayes, Keane and the impressive Tom Hoare. Unfortunately this coincided with a sloppy spell for Legion in front of the posts as a couple of scorable chances were passed up. It was at this point Luke O Donoghues effort hit the goal frame but the same player got in on the act with a fisted point to leave the deficit at, 2-9 to 0-12. Sean Walsh and Tom Hoare nudged Rahillys further ahead and they were thankful to keeper O Connors reactions as he somehow kept out a Murphy flick. Brian Kelly, not to be outdone, denied Conor Hayes but Keane and Hoare kept the scoreboard ticking over despite the best efforts of James O Donoghue who kicked his side’s final three points. At the end of a highly entertaining and intense battle Rahillys prevailed as winners on a scoreline of 2-14 to 0-16.
There were a lot of positives to take out of the performance for Killarney Legion. With a number of regulars to return the kicking of sixteen points and creating of further opportunities was down to some intelligent play but on the other hand O Rahillys were probably that little bit more clinical, a trait you’d expect from a side who contested a Senior County Final only three months ago. Our ability to win primary possession from both kickouts was a big positive also and the lads more than played their part in an enjoyable joust. The next round sees us make the short road trip to Spa next weekend for a local derby and two precious League points at stake.
TEAM.. 1. Brian Kelly 2. Sean McCarthy 3. Danny Sheahan 4. Cian Gammell 5. Peter O Sullivan 6. Jonathan Lyne 7. Darragh O Doherty 8. Darragh Lyne 9. Jamie O Sullivan (0-3) 10. Finbarr Murphy(0-4) 11. Podge O’Connor 12. Denis Sheahan(0-1) 13. Thomas Moriarty(0-1) 14. James O Donoghue(0-6) 15. Luke O’Donoghue(0-1)
Subs used Chris Davies, Shaun Keane, Sam Benson
Rest of Panel… Aaron O Sullivan, Cathal Sheahan, Rob Leen, Evan Smyth, Stephen Flattery, Kieran O Donoghue.