GAELIC FOOTBALL

Tipperary champions Mullinahone suffer heavy defeat in Munster Final

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

Email:

ewynne@nationalist.ie

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Mullinahone were well beaten in the AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship Final

Na Gaeil (Kerry) 3-13 Mullinahone (Tipperary) 1-1


Mullinahone slumped to a heavy defeat by hot favourites Na Gaeil in Sunday morning's AIB Munster Club Junior Football Championship Final in Mallow. 
The Kerry team, who play in the highly competitive first division of the Kerry county league, were 1/33 favourites to lift the title and were always in control against Mullinahone in a totally one-sided affair. 
The Tipperary champions struggled to cope with Na Gaeil's superior skill and strength and registered their only two scores in second half additional time.
It looked as if they might finish without a single score to the name, as the game entered additional time.
But one of the loudest cheers of the day was reserved for their opening score, which came from captain Kevin Walzer's free a minute into added time.
Kevin Walzer added further respectability to the scoreboard for Mullinahone when he steered a penalty high into the net with the last kick of the game, when he was brought down after Luke Mullally's shot for a point had struck a post. 
Mullinahone were always game and competitive. But too often their ball-handling skills left them down while passes often went astray, particularly when they got within sight of the Na Gaeil posts.   
With a midfield pairing of Kerry senior players Jack Barry and Diarmuid O'Connor, Na Gaeil seized the initiative from the start. They were five points to no score ahead when they struck for their first goal in the 26th minute, Dara Devine tapping home the rebound after Mullinahone goalie Brendan Kearney had saved Diarmuid O'Connor's close-range effort.

Further points from Dan O'Connor and Diarmuid O'Connor put Na Gaeil firmly in the driving seat, as they led by 1-7 to 0-0 at half-time.
Mullinahone's Alan Curran, Eoin Fennelly, Paul Curran, Colin Shelly, Martin Kehoe, Daire O'Brien and Kevin Walzer were doing their level best to stem the tide. 
But such was the Kerry side's dominance that they began to empty their bench from the early stages of the second half. Andrew Barry scored their second goal after a flowing move in the 53rd minute and substitute James O'Connor added the third a minute later, as they eased their way towards the finish.
Na Gaeil substitute Eoin Walsh had the opportunity to pile on even more agony near the end but he shot wide across the face of the goal.    

Mullinahone's day had steadily gone from bad to worse when they lost Sean Curran and Colin Shelly to black cards within the space of three minutes. 
But they at least had the consolation of Kevin Walzer's late scores removing the bare look from the scoreboard, after 2010 Tipperary All-Ireland-winning hurling captain Eoin Kelly had made a late cameo appearance.
The impending arrival of Storm Atiyah meant that the game was brought forward almost four hours from its scheduled afternoon starting time. And while conditions were difficult, with a strong wind and frequent heavy showers driving down the pitch, the Mallow pitch was in good condition.
As the skies darkened and a heavy shower fell during the first half, the venue's floodlights were turned on after sixteen minutes, which was at 11.16am.
After Kevin Walzer had kicked Mullinahone's late consolation scores the final whistle sounded, and the public address blasted out The Rose of Tralee in honour of Na Gaeil, bringing a rather surreal morning in North Cork to an end.
 
Na Gaeil: T. Culloty, R. O'Neill, K. Dineen, D. Bourke, F. Barry, A. Barry (1-1), E. Doody (captain 0-1 free), D. O'Connor (0-2), J. Barry (0-2), D. O'Connor (0-1), E. O'Neill (0-1), D. Goggin, D. Herlihy (0-1), J. Lowham, D. Devine (1-3, 0-3 frees).
Substitutes : D. Reen for J. Lowham (39), J. O'Connor (1-0) for D. O'Connor (40), E. Walsh (0-1) for D. Herlihy (44), K. O'Donovan for F. Barry (48), S. Fitzgerald for A.Barry (54) and I.McCarthy for D.Goggin (54).
S. Fitzgerald, black card (60).
Mullinahone: B. Kearney, M. Cody, E. Fennelly, L. Mullally, D. O'Brien, P. Curran, C. Shelly, A. Curran, S. Curran, J. Shelly, M. Kehoe, K. Walzer (captain 1-1, 1-0 penalty, 0-1 free), E. Ryan, E.Keane, G. Horan.
Substitutes:M. O'Shea for E. Keane (24), E. Keane for S. Curran (black card 35), G. Cronin for C. Shelly (black card 37), A. Walsh for D. O'Brien (53), E. Kelly for E. Ryan (54), S. Walzer for G. Horan (58). 
Referee: C. Maguire (Clare). ​

For more Tipperary sport read Ballingarry beat Killenaule in South Tipp U-21 A Hurling Championship Final