St. Barnabas is peaking at just the right time in the Intermediate championship as they defeated second ranked Kerry in the second semifinal on Sunday’s card.
Coming in as the five seed, they are in the final with a side that has a huge home base and also a distinct American-born flavor with at least 13 starters born on this side of the pond if I am not mistaken.
The winners led at the break, 1-10 to 0-4, and that was the foundation for the victory as the second half was certainly closer.
Leading 0-3 to 0-1 with five minutes gone, they took off on a scoring frenzy, adding the next 1-05 before Kerry replied. Liam Deane had a brace while Shane Flanagan had the goal when he linked with full forward Brian Dennehy to fire to the net. Mike Travers also had a point that came off the fingers of keeper O’Sullivan who did well to push over.
St. Barnabas was in control at this point with a lot of their chances getting built on the strength of the half back line. Shane Hogan and Tom McGovern, who was outstanding throughout, were constantly winning ball and moving it intelligently. Add to the mix the excellent play of Michael McBrien in the corner and the defense was dominating.
Kerry did have three of the last five points of the half, the first after Ray O’Connor went down with a nasty ankle injury. On the resulting free, Donal Hartnett piped over with Foley and Hartnett again scoring the other Kerry points before the break.
The Saints had replied with a tremendous McGovern score when he stormed forward to help the attack, while Travers closed the half with a point from play.
Kerry added to their total with points from Foley again, and midfielder Ken Fernee to open the second half. They were quickly cancelled out by a point from Travers and a penalty goal from Adrian Wynne.
Liam Deane had soloed into the box with seven minutes gone but was fouled by keeper O’Sullivan as he prepared to shoot. Wynne drove his first penalty kick low to the right corner but it was called back due to a square infringement by a Barnabas attacker. He was a little to exuberant getting to a possible rebound. On the second kick, Wynne riffled hard to the center and his drive ricocheted to the net off the keepers legs.
The extremely lively Deane added a point from play in the aftermath to extend the advantage to 2-12 to 0-6. Kerry slowly started to come into the game as it entered its final quarter. Donal Hartnett had a clear cut goal chance stopped but he did add a point from play.
After a Dion Norney score Kerry had three of the next four points with Fernee and Broderick starting to dominate the middle of the park. Their strong running was also putting the defense back on its heels.
Deane did stop the wave with a point from play, his fifth of the afternoon, but Fernee cantered forward and drove to the roof of the net with a pile driver with five minutes left on the clock.
The Saints were still ahead by eight however, and O’Neill who had arrived off the bench closed the game out with a point from a difficult angle.
Eamonn Deane’s charges are an efficient side, and they have a number of strong facets to their whole. Michael McBrien is a terrific corner, and his battle with the experienced Hartnett was worth the admission. Tommy McGovern is having a terrific year on the wing, and he brings exuberance and speed to the line.
Both Hogans have a full year of senior football under the belt and it shows at this level. Mike Travers and Liam Deane were outstanding on the forty. Deane with all his scores from play is another that has improved immensely from his year at senior level and is a game winner. Shane Flanagan took his scores well, with Brian Dennehy a very good target man.
For Kerry, Kevin Moran battled tirelessly at full back. Shane Coffee, who moved forward for a period, Fernee and Broderick in the middle, and the very impressive veteran Dermie Foley all had excellent second halves. Foley had a tremendous hour and covered acres.
St. Barnabas: 1 Kevin McArdle, 2 Shane Dennehy, 3 Frankie McDermott, 4 Michael McBrien, 5 Conor Hogan (0-1), 6 Shane Hogan, 7 Thomas McGovern (0-1), 8 Steve Gomez, 9 Eddie Hogan, 10 Adrian Wynne (1-1), 11 Mike Travers (0-5), 12 Liam Deane (0-5), 13 Dion Norney (0-1), 14 Brian Dennehy, 15 Shane Flanagan (1-1). Subs: Matt Schumacher, Brian Givney, Rory O’Neill (0-1), Shane O’Neill.
Kerry: 1 Jer O’Sullivan, 2 Mike Lenihan, 3 Kevin Moran, 4 Rory Tobin, 5 Niall O’Flaharta, 6 Shane Coffee, 7 Richie Hartnett, 8 Ken Fernee (1-1), 9 John Broderick (0-2), 10 Jim Nelligan (0-1), 11 Ray O’Connor, 12 Tom Dennehy, 13 Donal Hartnett (0-4), 14 Barry Dalton, 15 Dermie Foley (0-2).
Man of the match: Tom McGovern (St. Barnabas)
Referee: Eugene Kyne.