Moyvane’s 18th celebrations!!

Kerry’s Eye – December 18th, 2003

Desmonds dumped by gutsy winners

Moyvane 0-10  Castleisland Desmonds 0-8

Driven by an unbelievable passion and self-confidence, Moyvane toppled reigning champions Castleisland Desmonds in an intensely fought Bernard O’Callaghan North Kerry Memorial Senior Football championship final at O’Rahilly Park Ballylongford on Sunday. It proved to be a very enjoyable contest between two evenly matched sides, played with wholehearted endeavour throughout. There was no quarter asked or given and overall the standard of sportsmanship was quite good. The spectacle was enhanced due to the efficient refereeing of Pat Sheehy who allowed the game to flow. Moyvane may have been the underdogs but they rose magnificently to the occasion and on the day deserved to triumph, giving them their 18th North Kerry title and their second in five years. It was a fantastic victory by the kingpins of North Kerry football and one that was borne out of a tremendous will to win and superb team effort, allied to a number of brilliant individual displays.

Their captain and wing- back Jackie Mulvihill was absolutely outstanding throughout the hour. He was brilliant in defence and was a major threatening force going forward and creating openings for his forwards. He also displayed a high level of pace and stamina. In the final quarter when players had to stand up and be counted, the live-wire defender proved to be the major stumbling block to the Castleisland side.

Another hot potato as far as Desmonds were concerned was Moyvane corner forward Eddie Bowler who emerged as top scorer with six points, four from play. The pacey attacker kicked over three very good points from play in the opening half and in the final quarter he bisected the uprights following superb approach work by Jackie Mulvihill. Elsewhere in defence, William Madden was a very solid figure at full back and won a couple of vital 50-50 balls from Darby Buckley. Tom Sheehy was another player who caught the eye and gave a very accomplished performance in the half back line. At midfield Donal Kearney, who had a titanic struggle with John Brennan, grew in stature as the game progressed. Along with John Jack Mulvihill and at a later stage Maurice Kearney, this gave them the edge in this important sector.

The tally of wides at the end, 15 for Moyvane and four for Desmonds is a reflection of the amount of chances that the winners created. In the first half in particular they should have registered a further three or four points. From a Desmonds perspective they will wonder what might have been if they had scored from at least one of their goal scoring opportunities as the game entered the final quarter.

In the 45th minute their very hard working midfielder Maurice O’Connell’s hard shot was saved on the goal-line by corner back Eoin Flaherty. The rebound came to Martin Horgan but under pressure he blazed wide of the upright. Four minutes later, following a very promising movement by Darby Buckley, he passed the ball to the supporting Kevin Lynch but unfortunately he dropped the ball at the critical moment with an open goal in front of him. In fairness to Lynch, he had a very good game and if he had received more of the ball, he had the potential to inflict more damage.

One of Desmond’s downfalls was the over-reliance on the fair-haired corner forward to secure those vital scores. He was the only Desmonds attacker who got his name on the scoresheet, the remainder coming from their two impressive half-backs, Martin Horgan and Kieran O’Sullivan. Though selected at right half-forward, John Brennan lined out at midfield from the outset. After a foul committed on Maurice O’Connell, Kevin Lynch converted in the second minute and shortly afterwards, Lynch left his marker for dead, before scoring his second point, this one coming from play.

With full forward DJ Mulvihill roaming out to midfield to good effect, Moyvane gradually asserted their presence. In the fifth minute Jackie Mulvihill delivered a long ball to Eddie Bowler in the right corner and the classy forward made no mistake with a fine effort. John Jack Mulvihill was putting in a good effort at midfield and Moyvane were also winning the majority of the breaking ball. However, finding the target was proving to be a problem but Bowler levelled matters in the 11th minute and two minutes later the dynamic Jackie Mulvihill edged his team in front from the right wing. Both sides were creating chances, and in the 18th minute, a high ball from John Brennan was superbly fielded by Darby Buckley, but his attempt for a score was blocked at the expense of a ’45 which was converted by Kevin Lynch.

Desmonds found it very difficult to manoeuvre around an extremely tight marking Moyvane defence which hunted in packs. The winners dominated the last ten minutes of the half and two points from Eddie Bowler, one from a free and a point from midfielder Donal Kearney gave them a three points cushion at the break on the scoreline 0-6 to 0-3.

Moyvane must have been a bit concerned at the break, having missed a number of good scoring chances, allied to the fact that Desmonds would have the benefit of the breeze on resumption. And their fears seemed to be realised after the opening five minutes of the restart, as the pendulum had swung very much in Desmonds favour. Defender Martin Horgan scored three consecutive points and the reigning champions firmly laid down their marker. Matters changed somewhat though, when Moyvane’s mentors switched centre forward Maurice Kearney to midfield and this helped to win more midfield possession. They were back in business in the 37th minute when Brian Stack scored a vital point to get his side back into the driving seat. Moyvane gave their opponents very little time on the ball, especially around the midfield area, thereby depriving Desmonds full-forward line of good quality ball.

Referee Pat Sheehy issued only one yellow card and that was in the 39th minute when Maurice Kearney was on the receiving end of a rough challenge from Maurice O’Connell. Bowler with two points, one from a free and a wonderful long range point from Donal Kearney extended the Moyvane lead to four points as the game entered the final 14 minutes of play. The game was very much in the balance still, but Desmonds missed those goal scoring chances, which would prove crucial in the final reckoning.

With Mossy Lyons introduced from the substitutes bench, the Castleisland side tried very hard to get into contention. Two points on the trot from Kevin Lynch and Kieran O’Sullivan narrowed the deficit to two points, but with just two minutes left, Lynch missed a good scoring opportunity. Winning possession was vital at this juncture and Moyvane full back William Madden and Maurice Kearney made two very important catches, while Jackie Mulvihill was still a key figure. In a very pulsating finish Moyvane controlled the ball very well and they held out for a well- merited victory.

There were scenes of jubilation as Jackie Mulvihill was presented with the Bernard O’Callaghan Memorial Trophy from North Kerry Chairman Der O’Connor. The North-Kerry Bord, and Jack Hennessy in particular are to be commended for their production of an excellent match programme.

Teams and Scorers

Moyvane: Pascal Sweeney, Eoin Flaherty, William Madden, Denis Kennelly, Tom Sheehy, John Mulvihill, Jackie Mulvihill Capt 0-1, Donal Kearney 0-2, John Jack Mulvihill, Brian Stack 0-1, Maurice Kearney, Mossie Mulvihill, Cathal O’Connor, D J Mulvihill, Eddie Bowler 0-6. Substitute: Conor Flynn for B Stack.

Castleisland Desmonds: Daniel Nelligan Capt, Pierce Cronin, John Pender, Padraig Shanahan, Martin Horgan 0-3, Kieran O’Sullivan 0-1, Shane Walsh, Pat Fitzgerald, Maurice O’Connell, John Brennan, Kieran Murphy, Barry O’Neill, Brian McMahon, Darby Buckley, Kevin Lynch 0-4. Substitutes: John Flynn for P Fitzgerald, Neilus Lyons for B O’Neill, Mossy Lyons for N Lyon, Pat Fitzgerald for John Flynn.

Referee: Pat Sheehy Clounmacon.