Geelong’s O’Connor makes surprise return as Geaney double steers Dingle into semi-final

Dingle 3-9
Austin Stacks 0-9

THREE FIRST-HALF goals – including a double from Paul Geaney – ensured Dingle were the first team into the Kerry county senior football championship semi-finals after they accounted for 2014 county champions Austin Stacks in a temperamental game in Tralee this evening.

Dingle sprung a surprise before throw-in with the inclusion of AFL player Marc O’Connor in their starting team, and the gamble paid off to a certain extent.

The former Kerry minor team captain and current Geelong Cats player was detailed to play in a sweeper role in front of Kieran Donaghy and he fulfilled the task quite well, despite not having played a competitive Gaelic football match for almost two years.

However, the 21-year only lasted 45 minutes on the field before being black-carded for an off the ball foul that led to a massed brawl after Kieran Donaghy took exception to O’Connor’s foul. By that stage Dingle were still fairly much in control, leading 3-5 to 0-8, having led 3-4 to 0-3 at half time.

The west Kerry club were leading 0-3 to 0-1 when Geaney gathered a rebound off a post and smashed the ball to the Stacks net, and five minutes later Paul Geaney flicked his cousin Mikey’s high ball in off a post and Matthew Flaherty reacted best to poke the loose ball to the net to make it 2-3 to 0-1.

Stacks engineered a couple of points but their defence was caught badly again when Paul Devane’s inviting ball across goal was slapped to the net by Paul Geaney to leave Dingle well in control at the interval, leading by 10 points.

Stacks started the second half with four points in the first seven minutes, and O’Connor’s dismissal should have helped the Tralee club further, but they never really threatened for a goal that they desperately needed.

Kerry defender Tom O’Sullivan scored three points for Dingle in the second half as they closed out the game against a Stacks team that saw their championship peter out in the most disappointing fashion. 

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Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kerins O’Rahillys 3-11
St Brendans 1-15

Despite scoring just four points in the second half Kerins O’Rahillys booked their place in the semi-finals of the Kerry county SFC after a jittery two-point win over divisional team St Brendans in what was, in essence, a Tralee derby.

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O’Rahillys laid the platform for victory with three goals in the opening quarter as they threatened to have this contest done and dusted by half time – and they should have had – but they made hard work of it for themselves in the second half as St Brendan launched a staunch comeback.

St Brendans opened the scoring but David Moran struck for an O’Rahillys goal when play resumed after an injury delay, and then substitute Tom Hoare lashed in a second to make it 2-1 to 0-2. Moments later Tommy Walsh flicked an under-hit Jack Savage free to the net and the club side were coasting, 3-3 to 0-3, after 16 minutes.

A Niall Sheehy goal in the 24th minute helped St Brendans close the margin to a more manageable five points, 3-7 to 1-8, at half time, but O’Rahillys looked the more capable side, with Moran dominating at midfield in the absence of his Kerry midfield partner, Jack Barry, for St Brendans.

Savage converted a couple of frees in the third quarter for O’Rahillys but St Brendans had the deficit down to two points, 3-9 to 1-13, at the three-quarter mark as O’Rahillys couldn’t buy a score.

Gavin O’Brien had the ball in the net for the Tralee club but it was disallowed for a square ball, but St Brendans couldn’t manufacture the second goal they so desperately needed, and late scores from defenders Cormac Coffey and Karl Mullins pushed O’Rahillys over the winning line and into the last four.

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