Corn Uí Mhuirí: St Brendan's 2-11 Tralee CBS 1-11,

St Brendan's 2-11 Tralee CBS 1-11,
by Brendan Larkin
ST BRENDAN'S bridged a 14-year gap by defeating arch rivals and champions Tralee CBS in a superb Corn Ui Mhuirí final at Fitzgerald Stadium yesterday to claim their 19th title.
Joint team coach and Kerry captain Paul Galvin hailed his side's performance: "The character our boys showed when it looked as if the game was slipping away from them was magnificent. They have shown that all year and I knew they had it, it was only a question of getting out of them, and thankfully today was the day they really showed their mettle."


Galvin, who joined the teaching staff at the Sem back in September, has clearly brought a bit of steel and self belief to the Killarney boys. After all this was their third final in four years and having lost the previous two, there was no way St Brendan's were leaving Fitzgerald Stadium without the cup.

Things weren't looking too good for them when they fell five points behind two minutes into the second half, but displaying tremendous mental toughness and outstanding football skill, they got back in the game with a splendid Shane O'Neill goal in the 40th minute and then proceeded to pick off a succession of points, holding their opponents scoreless for the last 18 minutes of the game.

There were many heroes on the 'Sem' team. Because of a fractured finger they could not afford to play regular full back Bryan Russell in his usual position and switched him with wing back Jonathan Lyne.

You would have imagined the Legion youngster had been playing there all his life so successful did he make the transition. Fionn Fitzgerald at corner back had another superb outing and even found time to come forward to kick a point.

Padraig O'Connor was outstanding at centre back and later at midfield where Jamie O'Sullivan who caught some great ball out of the air, and James Coffey succeeded in giving their side a grip.

However it was in attack where Brendan's held all the aces. Centre forward James O'Donoghue added to his growing reputation with another five-star performance and his contribution of 1-4, all from play, marked him out as a player of talent.

Not far behind him was full forward Cian Tobin who finished with four points, while corner forward Shane O'Neill showed marvellous composure in scoring his goal.

Tralee CBS lost no face in this defeat. They contributed magnificently to a superb game in which there wasn't a foul stroke and credit for that must go to both teams and their mentors.

The Green opted to play with the strong wind in the opening half after Barry Shanahan won the toss, but St Brendan's made the better start and had two points on the board inside the first three minutes.

It took Tralee all of six minutes to open their account after Barry John Keane, easily their best player, kicked the first or his six points., and they were level two minutes later when Alan Fitzgerald landed a point.

With Barry John Keane and Fiachna Mangan giving the Brendan's defence a torrid time, Tralee stormed into an 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Brendan's eventually got a point back through Cian Tobin before Fionn Fitzgerald set James O'Donoghue up for a cracking goal and the lead.

Half time arrived with Tralee just a point in front, 0-8 to 1-4, and it certainly didn't look good enough as they turned to face the strong wind.

However in the space of two minutes the former champions threw down the gauntlet to their rivals with an Alan Fitzgerald point and an Alan Mangan goal to stretch their lead to five points.

Credit Brendan's, they rose superbly to the challenge and with James O'Donoghue tormenting the Tralee defence, the game was thrown wide open when Shane O'Neill coolly slotted a goal.

That goal rocked Tralee and for the remaining 18 plus minutes they failed to score as Brendan's, with the bit firmly between their teeth, tacked on six unanswered points to finally end the fourteen year drought.

Scorers: for St Brendan's: J. O'Donoghue 1-4; C. Tobin 0-4 (0-2 frees); S. O'Neill 1-0; J. O'Sullivan, A. Courtney, F. Fitzgerald 0-1 each.

Tralee CBS: BJ Keane 0-6 (0-3 frees); F. Mangan 1-1; A. Fitzgerald 0-2; E. Walsh (free), B. Shanahan 0-1 each.

ST BRENDAN'S: B. Kelly; F. Fitzgerald, J. Lyne, J. O'Mahony; D. O'Sullivan, P. O'Connor, B. Russell; J. O'Sullivan, J. Coffey; D. Twomey, J. O'Donoghue, P. O'Connor; S. O'Neill, C. Tobin, E. O'Mahony.
Subs: C. O'Leary for E. O'Mahony; A. Courtney for Twomey; K. O'Regan for D. O'Sullivan; A. O'Sullivan for C. O'Leary.

TRALEE CBS: G. Sugrue; P. Galvin, R. O'Callaghan, M. Galvin; D. O'Neill, B. Shanahan, N. O'Shea; S. Carroll, W. Guthrie; K. Hurley, A. Fitzgerald, F. Mangan; C. O'Mahony, E. Walsh, BJ Keane.
Subs: L. Mulligan for C. O'Mahony; J. Keane for A. Fitzgerald; T. McCarthy for Guthrie.

Referee: M. Collins (Cork).