North Kerry Senior Championship
Asdee 0-12 Ballylongford 1-08
Asdee created another bit of club history with a victory over their fellow parishioners in Stack Park, Ballybunion on a perfect Halloween afternoon. The victory, by the narrowest of margins, was their first North Kerry Championship win in 19 years.
Asdee were certainly the better of the two teams and probably should have won by a bigger margin. But, as is typically the case, Championship games between rivals tend to be tight, nervy affairs and this proved to be the case here.
The game was a good, physical affair with plenty of commitment and endeavor on show. Asdee started the game strongly and raced into a 3-point lead with well-taken scores from Mike Breen, Owen Tydings and Darragh Keane.
The game then saw its only red card of the afternoon, as Ballylongford’s Eamon McElligott received a second yellow for a dangerous elbow to the head. However, the extra man, as we’ve so often seen, proved to be less of a help to Asdee and drove Ballylongford on for the remainder of the half.
Bally hit 3 unanswered points to draw level, before Asdee regained their stride before the break with a fine pint from Owen Tydings and a great long-range point from Eoin Kennedy. This left the half-time score Asdee 0-5 to 0-4 ahead.
The second half began with a strong opening from Asdee, displaying some impressive passages of play. A lovely team move saw Darren Russell get a fine score in the first attack of the second half.
In the following period of play, Asdee extended the lead through excellently taken scores from Mike Breen, Owen Tydings, Padraig Ruddle and Kieran Kelly. Asdee were well on top at this stage, enjoying a four point lead, and had further chances to put the game beyond doubt.
However, Bally refused to give in and a quick counter-attack saw Padraig O’Neill finish the ball to the Asdee net to bring the margin back down to a solitary point.
Asdee responded again and had a number of attacks foiled before Eoin Kennedy pointed a difficult free to give them a 2-point lead with less than ten minutes left to play.
Bally responded again and Kiki Mulvihill kicked a huge point to raise the tension again. Asdee then attacked with great purpose and a fine move finished with a brilliant score from Darragh Keane to double their lead with minutes to play.
Bally attacked again and Kiki Mulvihill kicked a free to leave a point in it as the game entered injury time. Asdee were to be turned over during a couple of attacks that would put the game beyond doubt.
Bally had one final attack, but the Asdee defence, who had been impressive in their tackling all day, turned the ball over before the final whistle was blown by referee Seamus Mulvihill, who had a fine game, keeping comfortably in control of matters throughout.
It was a thoroughly deserved win and fine team performance by Asdee, with everyone giving their all for the cause. The defence and keeper James Kelly were resolute throughout, with midfielders Padraig Ruddle, and in particular, John Doran dominating for large periods of the game. The forwards were also dangerous, with 5 of the starting 6 scoring, and had they been given quicker ball in would surely have done further damage.
Bally proved formidable opponents and fielded the strongest team they have had in quite some time, and it was good to see Eddie Mangan return from a long-term injury. Finally, credit to Beale GAA for the fine condition of the pitch and facilities on a glorious day for football.
Asdee now march on to the quarter final against reigning All-Ireland Junior champions Brosna.
Asdee: James Kelly, Con Carmody, Martin Collins, Eoin O’Carroll, Noel Long, Sean Keane, Kieran Kelly, 1 pt, John Doran, Padraig Ruddle, 1 pt, Michael Breen, 2 pts, Darragh Keane, 2 pts, Darren Russell, 1 pt, Cyril Dineen, Owen Tydings, 3 pts, Eoin Kennedy, 2 pts.
Subs: Brian Coughlan for Martin Collins, Michael Tydings for Michael Breen, Charlie Dalton for Padraig Ruddle. Micheal Walsh, Paul O’Carroll, Matthew Hanlon, Denny Dalton, Paddy Horgan, Keith McNamara, Conor Coughlan, David O’Connor, Padraig Buckley.