Moyvane captain sets a shining example

by Murt Murphy – The Kingdom (December 17th, 2003)

North Kerry SFC Final

Moyvane 0-10, Castleisland Desmonds 0-8

MOYVANE completed a Championship and League double when they displayed the necessary fire and hunger that consumed holders Castleisland Desmonds in an enthralling North Kerry Championship final. Desmonds were appearing in their third consecutive but there was no stopping the underdogs, Moyvane, at O’Rahilly Park Ballylongford on Sunday last in a game played in ideal conditions.

This was game to savour where Moyvane, who failed to get out of Division Four of the County League this season, came face to face with Division One side, Desmonds, and led by inspirational captain Jackie Mulvihill, proceeded to put the holders to the sword. And a sobering statistic is that when one considers that the winners shot an incredible 15 wides to the losers four, the margin of victory should have much greater.

This was North Kerry Championship fare at its most exhilarating best – passionate, a huge appetite for victory, hard knocks given and taken and the issue in doubt right up to the final whistle, and most of Moyvane, including county chairman Sean Walsh, present to cheer on their heroes.

While this was essentially a team effort from Moyvane, it was their superb half back line that laid the foundations for victory as Tom Sheehy, John Mulvihill and man of the match, Jackie Mulvihill, who was everywhere.

Desmonds will be disappointed but they can have few complaints as they were beaten at midfield and just could not get enough ball to Kevin Lynch who had the measure of his man. The losers were unlucky to miss two gilt-edged goal chances in the second half after they had drawn level. They had mighty performers in Kieran O’Sullivan and Martin Horgan in their half back line who managed three points between them, but their inability to win any breaking ball around the middle ultimately cost them.

Desmonds got off to an explosive start as John Brennan moved to midfield, and his ability to play the long ball towards full forward Darby Buckley paid rich dividends.

Kevin Lynch landed a free and then in the third minute Lynch ran on to a cross-field pass from Maurice O’Connell, before leaving his marker for dead and scoring a capital point.

However, Moyvane, with full forward D J Mulvihill operating as third midfielder, thundered into the game and it was Jackie Mulvihill who found Eddie Bowler with a long ball and Bowler posted a fine point.

Moyvane proceeded to choke the life out of Desmonds with some tenacious defending and with the Mulvihill brothers in rampant form they were ahead at the end of the opening quarter as Bowler and Jackie Mulvihill added points, but worryingly they had also amassed six wides.

Kevin Lynch then landed a ‘45’ for Desmonds but it was all Moyvane for the final 12 minutes of the half as Jackie Mulvihill became the catalyst for every Moyvane attack. Two points from the lively Bowler and a fine effort from Kearney saw Moyvane retire 0-6 to 0-3 clear at the interval but by now they had nine wides and had played with the wind.

Desmonds exploded into action on the restart with John Brennan dominant at midfield and the direct route yielded three points in five minutes as Kevin Lynch and two from excellent wing back Martin Horgan had the sides level at 0-6 apiece.

The next score was going to be vital but Moyvane had the got the bit between their teeth and they refused to wilt as Cathal O’Connor ran 50 yards before placing Brian Stack for the lead point. Psychologically this was the turning point as Bowler and Kearney added quick points to send Moyvane three clear.

Then came a crucial miss for Desmonds in the 44th minute when Maurice O’Connell saw his goal bound shot being brilliantly smothered by Eoin Flaherty but when the ball broke to Horgan, he drove wide of an empty net. To add salt to the wounds, Jackie Mulvihill charged up field and exchanging passes on two occasions he set up Bowler for the score of the game.

Desmonds, to their credit, rallied with the introduction of Mossie Lyons and with Kieran O’Sullivan and Horgan driving them forward. They added two points from Lynch and O’Sullivan to close the gap to just two, but Moyvane were not to be denied and defending in numbers, they held out to deservedly capture the North Kerry title they last won in 1999. œReferee Pat Sheehy added hugely to the enjoyment of the game, allowing the play flow in a game that produced only 29 frees.

Moyvane: P Sweeney, E Flaherty, W Madden, D Kennelly, T Sheehy, John Mulvihill, Jackie Mulvihill (0-1), D Kearney (0-2), J Jack Mulvihill, B Stack (0-1), M Kearney, M Mulvihill, C O’Connor, D J Mulvihill, E Bowler (0-6, 2f). Subs: C Flynn for B Stack.

Castleisland Desmonds: D Nelligan, P Cronin, J Pender, P Shanahan, M Horgan (0-2), K O’Sullivan (0-1), S Walsh, P Fitzgerald, M O’Connell, J Brennan, K Murphy, B O’Neill, B McMahon, D Buckley, K Lynch (0-5, 1f, 1 ‘45’). Subs: N Lyons for B O’Neill, J O’Flynn for P Fitzgerald, M Lyons for N Lyons, P Fitzgerald for J Flynn (inj).

Referee: P Sheehy (Clounmacon)