Minor Co Championship SF FT After Extra Time: North Kerry 3-18 (27) Austin Stacks 2-20 (26)
Austin Stacks Minors made the trip to Abbeydorney on Monday night (Aug 14th) to face the might of North Kerry District in this year’s Co Championship Semi Final. This game had everything! Goals, high fielding, a great comeback, a point at the death to bring us to extra time, bravery in spades and an agonising one point defeat in injury time of extra time. But it was the never say die attitude of this young team which has captured the hearts & admiration of all us lucky enough to have supported them throughout their league and championship campaigns in 2023.
The teams had exchanged 2 points a piece (ours from Paddy Lane & Ryan O’Driscoll from play) when North Kerry struck for their first goal in the 8th minute. North Kerry added 3 more points while the brilliant Ryan O’Driscoll had kept us ticking over with 2 points from play before in the 17th minute North Kerry struck again with their 2nd goal to leave the score line 2-5 to 0-4. Paddy Lane pointed 2 more frees and Padraig O Halloran pointed a beauty as North Kerry, so dangerous in attack throughout, had converted 2 more frees and scored one from play before the referee blew for HT – North Kerry 2-8 (14) Austin Stacks 0-7 leaving Stacks with it all to do.
Stacks had a great third quarter with 2 points from Paddy Lane (free) and Ben Murphy, before Ryan O’Driscoll punched to the net in the 45th minute and suddenly we had pegged the opposition back to one point (North Kerry 2-9 Austin Stacks 1-11). Then disaster struck when a high ball resulted in a third goal for North Kerry, followed up by a quick point from play to restore them with a 5 point cushion with 10 minutes left on the clock. The sides exchanged points again ours a Paddy Lane converted free, before Ben Murphy who had played superbly throughout went on one of his penetrating runs and got through for our 2nd goal right on the 30th minute and now we were back to 2 between the sides North Kerry 3-11 (20) Austin Stacks 2-12 (18) as we headed into 4 minutes of injury time. Austin Stacks had fantastic support on the night and the 16th man were vocal when Paddy Lane kicked a free and the gutsy Daniel Kirby kicked a beauty from distance to send the game into extra time.
There was 1 point between the sides at HT in extra time – North Kerry 3-14 (23) Austin Stacks 2-16 (22) our points by Ryan O’Driscoll and Ronan Carroll both from play. A Paddy Lane free had us level, but North Kerry weren’t about to give up and ticked on 2 more points (1 free). Stacks now out on their feet refused to die – Daniel Kirby was on target for a point before Paddy Lane kicked a free to tie the game again in injury time in extra time and it looked like we were heading for penalties. The referee allowed one more play and it was Kerry Midfielder and Ballyduff’s Evan Boyle who won the ball, raced up the pitch and took the shot on himself to score the winning point. A game for the ages that will live long in the memory. Congratulations to our management team – Ritchie, William, Dave, Shane, Darragh, Jonathan and Kieran, we could not be prouder of our team.
all photos By pix360_adam