Sunday, November 16, 2014
AIB Munster Senior Football Club Semi-Final: AUSTIN STACKS 0-15 BALLINCOLLIG 1-9 (AET)
Austin Stacks qualified for their first Munster Senior Football Club Championship final since 1976 on Sunday, earning a deserved extra-time victory over Cork champions Ballincollig in Tralee.
The Kerry champions should have won the game in normal time, having dominated from the 20th minute on, but they opted to try to close out the game defensively in the final 10 minutes with only a one point lead, and they paid the price in the third minute of injury-time when former Cork player John Miskella fired over a brilliant point from distance to take the game to extra-time.
That was only Ballincollig’s third point since the 20th minute, and despite the brief thrill Miskella’s score elicited, it didn’t change the tide of the game in extra-time as Stacks continued to run things in the additional 20 minutes. They outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-2 in the extra-time period, meaning that from the 20th minute to the 80th minute, Stacks outscored Ballincollig by 0-14 to 0-5 – the defining statistic of the match.
Ballincollig led by one point at the end of a first half which had two very distinct stages. The Cork champions were in total control for the first 20 minutes, leading 1-4 to 0-1 at that stage, before Stacks dominated the remainder of the half, kicking five without reply.
Ballincollig started solidly as Stacks struggled to create any early rhythm at their home venue. Wing-back Cian Kiely opened the scoring with a fine point, and then on seven minutes, Ballincollig’s Cork star Paddy Kelly found the net.
Kelly reacted quickly when John Kelly broke a free kick into his path, and his finish past Darragh O’Brien was clinical. John Kelly fisted over the bar himself moments later, and although Shane Carroll finally got Stacks on the board on 14 minutes from a free, it was followed by two points from Ballincollig’s Cian Dorgan to leave them 1-4 to 0-1 ahead after 20 minutes.
Then came the Stacks revival. Having struggled to make any headway from their tactic of finding Kieran Donaghy early on, Stacks started to mix it up with a more intelligent range of passing, and their purple patch was kickstarted by a lovely left-footed score from distance from Greg Horan.
That was followed by smart scores from Pat McCarthy and David Mannix, and Stacks were flying, with Donaghy now roaming with success around the middle. Mannix made it four in a row with his second in quick succession, dinking over a lovely score after a flowing team move.
They closed to gap to just one point with their fifth in the space of five minutes when Shane O’Callaghan battled hard for possession before firing over, and with Ballincollig midfielder Ciarán O’Sullivan forced off with injury before the end of the break, the half ended on a much darker note than it had begun for the Cork champions.
Stacks’ confidence was still up after the restart and they were soon level – and then in front – after Carroll slotted over two frees in quick succession to make it seven points in a row. However, Miskella, who turns 37 in March, got Ballincollig’s first score in almost 20 minutes to bring them level again.
The second half was cagey, with chances limited, and two points from Horan and Denis McElligott had Stacks 0-10 to 1-5 ahead after 48 minutes. Séan Kiely cut through the Stacks defence and fired over for Ballincollig two minutes later to cut the gap to one, but a frustrating period followed for the Cork champions as Stacks looking to be closing out the victory.
Retaining possession with ease around the middle – and with Donaghy performing very well by now at midfield – Stacks kept Ballincollig out in the closing stages, and were seconds from sealing a 0-10 to 1-6 win before Miskella came from nowhere to kick over a brilliant score from distance in the third minute of injury-time to take the game to extra-time.
The first half of extra-time was all one way traffic as Stacks kicked the only three points of the 10-minute half through Darragh Long (free), Pat McCarthy and Mannix. One noteworthy moment came when Greg Horan fired over for Stacks, only for it to be ruled out as the referee had not been told he had come back on the field as a substitute, having been originally taken off at the end of normal time.
Donaghy and Miskella traded points after the restart of the second half of extra-time, and although a Dorgan ’45’ cut the gap to two with six minutes remaining, Stacks were in control and they sealed a three-point victory thanks to a late free from Long.
Scorers for Austin Stacks: S Carroll 0-3 (3f), D Mannix 0-3, G Horan 0-2, P McCarthy 0-2, Darragh Long 0-2 (2f), S O’Callaghan 0-1, D McElligott 0-1, K Donaghy 0-1
Scorers for Ballincollig: P Kelly 1-0, C Dorgan 0-3 (1 ’45’, 1f), J Miskella 0-3, C Kiely 0-1, J Kelly 0-1, S Kiely 0-1
AUSTIN STACKS: D O’Brien; R Shanahan, F MacNamara, C Jordan; P McCarthy, B Shanahan, D McElligott; W Guthrie, G Horan; S O’Callaghan, S Carroll, D Bohan; D Mannix, K Donaghy, M Collins.Subs: F Mangan for M Collins (HT), J Dennis for R Shanahan (33), Darragh Long for S Carroll (53), Ciarán O’Connell for D Bohan (56), William Kirby for G Horan (59), G Horan for D McElligott (67), M Collins for D Mannix (70), D Bohan for F MacNamara (74), M Collins (Black Card, 75).
BALLINCOLLIG: D Lordan; L Prendergast, L Jennings, N Galvin; J Murphy, S O’Donoghue, C Kiely; S Kiely, C O’Sullivan; G Durrant, P Kelly, N Allen; J Kelly, C Dorgan, J Miskella. Subs: Peter O’Neill for C O’Sullivan (29), C Moore for L Prendergast (HT), Niall Allen for D Tobin (40), Ian Coughlan for J Kelly (48), Dylan Kerstein for J Murphy (56), S Lucey for N Galvin (61), J Murphy for P O’Neill (70).
Report: Arthur Sullivan