Austin Stacks Wayne Guthrie and Kieran Donaghy following the Kerry SFC Final.
Austin Stacks Wayne Guthrie and Kieran Donaghy following the Kerry SFC Final.

Kerry SFC Final: Stacks triumph in Tralee derby

Kerry SFC Final

Austin Stacks 0-13 Kerins O’Rahillys 0-10

By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park

Austin Stacks secured one of the sweetest of their now 13 Kerry senior football championship titles after they edged past great Tralee rivals Kerins O’Rahillys by three points in a tense final that was there to be endured more than enjoyed by both teams.

It is Stacks who will enjoy all the bragging rights across the rest of the winter now after Kerry panellist Joe O’Connor put in a man of the match performance at midfield to drive the Rockies to victory over an O’Rahillys team that lost midfielder David Moran after five minutes.

Despite the huge loss of Moran, O’Rahillys made a great game of it, with Jack Savage keeping them in the contest throughout with six scores, but they never got the goal they so badly needed.

At the first water break O’Rahillys were just a point in arrears, and by the 27th minute just two behind, though late scores from a Darragh O’Brien free and a fine Brendan O’Sullivan point left Stacks 0-8 to 0-4 up at the interval.

It had been a scrappy opening half, with little momentum or flow to the game, not helped by sporadic stoppages, even though both teams backed themselves to unload the best of what they had on the other.

It was just that their best football never quite materialised. O’Rahillys were clearly rattled by the loss of Moran, and their forward line never clicked or produced as they had done in the earlier rounds.

Stacks relied heavily on O’Brien for scores from free kicks as they had done in earlier rounds, but they had more smarts and ability to bend the game to their will.

Conor Hayes cut the deficit back to three just after the restart, before he and O’Brien traded scores, but O’Rahillys could never get closer than three points, and the margin soon doubled to six by the second water break.

Sean Quilter came on and scored two frees, either side of Joe O’Connor point, that sent Stacks to the second mini-break 0-12 to 0-6 to the good.

To their credit, O’Rahillys battled courageously – driven on by Cormac Coffey, Con Barrett, Tom Hoare, the Savage brothers and Hayes – and two converted frees from Jack Savage and a super score from Coffey had it 0-12 to 0-9 after 54 minutes with Stacks looking over their collective shoulder.

The excellent O’Connor drew a late foul and free for O’Brien to convert – the sixth free he scored – and though Savage fired over a score in the 62nd minute it was too little too late, O’Rahillys never troubling Wayne Guthrie in the Stacks goal for the green flag they so badly needed.

Stacks play Newcastlewest in the Munster Club semi-final in a fortnight but in the meantime they will party like it was 2014 – the last time the Bishop Moynihan Cup resided down ‘the Rock’.

Scorers for Austin Stacks: Darragh O’Brien 0-7 (6f), Sean Quilter 0-2 (f), Joseph O’Connor 0-1, Michael O’Gara 0-1, Brendan O’Sullivan 0-1, Kieran Donaghy 0-1 (m)

Scorers for Kerins O’Rahillys: Jack Savage 0-6 (4f), Barry John Keane 0-2, Cormac Coffey 0-1, Conor Hayes 0-1.

AUSTIN STACKS: Wayne Guthrie, Colin Griffin, Dylan Casey, Jack O’Shea, Paul O’Sullivan, Conor Jordan, Barry Shanahan, Joseph O’Connor, Greg Horan, Michael O’Gara, Fiachna Mangan, Brendan O’Sullivan, Shane O’Callaghan, Kieran Donagh, Darragh O’Brien.

Subs: Sean Quilter for S O’Callaghan (42), Jack Morgan for C Griffin (inj, 47), Michael O’Donnell for M O’Gara (48), Adam Curran for B O’Sullivan (53), Armin Heinrich for O’Brien (64).

KERINS O’RAHILLYS: Shane Foley, Patrick Begley, Ross O’Callaghan, Cormac Coffey, Darragh McElligott, Shane Brosnan, Con Barrett, David Moran, Tom Hoare, Cian Sayers, Jack Savag, Gearoid Savage, Barry John Keane, Tommy Walsh, Conor Hayes.

Subs: Diarmuid O’Sullivan for D Moran (inj, 5), Shane McElligott for Barrett (temp, 7), Barrett for McElligott (temp reverse, 11), Shane McElligott for G Savage (52).

Referee: Jonathan Griffin.