West Cork League 2
Kerry District League 2
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
DESPITE twice coming from behind to earn a draw against the Kerry District League in Darrara last Sunday, the West Cork League missed out on a place in the next round of the Oscar Traynor Cup.
A draw was enough to earn Kerry a place in the knockout phase whilst the brave effort of West Cork, who needed to win to have any chance of advancing from the group stage, bodes well for their future participation in next year’s tournament and beyond.
The hosts proved more than a match for their Kerry opponents throughout an entertaining game and can take pride from a third consecutive Oscar Traynor Cup performance that shows the league belongs at this level.
West Cork set a high tempo from the first whistle with Barry O’Driscoll (H) denied a shot on goal by a perfectly-timed Jason Hickson challenge. Kerry’s response was swift with Jonathan Downey firing narrowly past an upright.
An entertaining opening continued at an unrelenting pace before the visitors broke the deadlock after seven minutes. A deflected pass fell to Jonathan Downey’s feet and the Kerry striker flicked a shot beyond Liam Colbert.
West Cork could have levelled within two minutes of falling behind but Barry O’Driscoll (H) dragged his shot wide following a rare Kerry defensive slip-up.
An unfortunate injury to Stephen O’Donovan halted play for a time and resulted in the Dunmanway Town player being replaced by Drinagh’s Tomás Connolly. Despite that setback, West Cork continued to dictate the pace and were the better side for the remainder of the first half.
David Hennessy was called upon to produce a string of saves including tipping a goal-bound Jerry McCarthy free kick over the crossbar and Kerry defended manfully until the home team netted an equaliser their positive approach fully warranted.
The visitors failed to adequately deal with a routine cross and Drinagh Rangers’ Jamie Walsh drilled a superb shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
Unfortunately for West Cork, failure to build on a dominant period saw the Kerry District League play their way back into contention and Ritchie Hurley arrowed a venomous effort into the top corner to restore his side’s lead.
Admirably, the West Cork League shook off that disappointment and equalised for a second time to conclude a breathless opening half. Barry O’Driscoll (H) set up Jerry McCarthy and the Dunmanway Town striker made no mistake with a confident finish to level the score.
Joe Sheehy and Gary Keane got to grips in midfield during the early stages of the second half but John Sheehan and Jamie Walsh’s work-rate ensured the hosts’ defence remained well protected.
Both goalkeepers were forced from their goal-lines on numerous occasions yet an even game remained delicately poised at the 55-minute mark. Jason Hickson and Con Barrett formed an excellent central defensive pairing throughout the 90 minutes, repeatedly thwarting West Cork’s attacks and instigating a succession of Kerry attacks.
Barry O’Driscoll (H) managed to wriggle free of the Kerry defenders midway through the second period but David Hennessy denied the Drinagh striker with a fine reflex stop. That attempt prompted an immediate response and only a brave Liam Colbert save prevented Jonathan Downey from restoring Kerry’s lead.
The closing minutes of a quality encounter saw both teams intensify their search for a winner and Liam Colbert produce another point-blank stop. West Cork were unable to conjure up a third goal but bowed out of the Oscar Traynor Cup with their pride intact.
West Cork League: Liam Colbert, Barry (T) O’Driscoll, Finbarr Butler, JJ Collins, Stephen Keohane (captain), Paul Hickey, John Sheehan, Jamie Walsh, Jerry McCarthy, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Stephen O’Donovan.
Subs: Daniel McCarthy, Tomás Connolly, Alan Dromey, Tim Healy, John Daly, Niall Buckley, Robert O’Regan, Rob Oldham.
Kerry District League: David Hennessy, Jason Hickson, Jamie Spillane, Aidan O’Callaghan, Con Barrett, Joe Sheehy, Gary Keane (captain), Ritchie Hurley, Jonathan Downey, Stephen Hayes, Wayne Sparling.
Subs: Ashley Kelleher, Daniel Downey, Cillian Moran.
Referee: Anthony McDermott.