Kingdom Kerry Gaels: 1-15
Parnells frustrated the Kingdom Kerry Gaels on Sunday as they lost their composure in the closing stages only to come back and nick the championship opener by a point late on.
The Gaels opened the scoring through two Cian Tobin frees in six minutes, before a great point from James Coffey following a burst down the right wing. KKG would lose two players to injury next, and against the run of play Gerard Canavan won a penalty for his side, which levelled things up when Kevin Cullhane stepped up to shoot. Subsitute Conor made an instant impression with great movement on and off the ball before he assisted Ciaran Campbell for the next point.
Parnells would level through Gerard Canavan’s next pointed free, but the Kingdom seemed to have the most of possession with great movement opening up pockets of space, but their high intensity and speed of moving the ball seemed to sometimes fail them on the final pass. Conor would set up Stephen Kilcoyne for the next point as they covered ground quickly, but Parnells would level once more as Shane Delahunty set up Jordan Fegan to make it 1-2 to 0-5.
They would go ahead for the first time when Fegan’s goal attempt was blocked well by John Bartlett only for Aidan Lehane to pounce on the rebound for a their second goal. The Gaels clawed one back again through Alan Kenny, before Parnells stretched their lead with a Seamus Stenson free.
The Kingdom launched on the counter afterwards with good passing between Ronan O’Boyle and Tobin before Coffey rushed and wasted his shot and when the ball landed to Niall Corkery on the break he was able to set up Lehane for his second. O’Boyle got a much-needed score with an excellent point from the right wing, and a great diagonal ball from Conor across goal was offloaded to Tobin, who was fouled before slotting away the resultant free to leave it at 0-9 to 2-4 at the break.
Parnells would get a further three point advantage through two Stenson, and a Canavan, frees, before Tobin pointed a free on 44 minutes for the Gaels’ first score of the half. Kilcoyne got an excellent shot away under pressure from multiple markers from a well-timed Tobin ball in, before Enda Flaherty responded with an equally composed point, making it 0-11 to 2-9.
But KKG would mount their comeback from here as Campbell’s ball went loose in the square only for Kilcoyne to react quickest and connect his boot with it to fire past Evan Byrne to narrow the gap to just one. Parnells seemed to lose their composure from here, with Byrne putting his next kick-out out which the Gaels capitalised on with Tobin’s sideline reaching Kenny who set up Kilcoyne for his next score.
The next kick-out was converted into KKG possession again and when Tobin was fouled they scored the resultant free to go ahead. They immediately went further ahead when Kilcoyne set up a first half substitute, and the Gaels were now bringing back their high intensity game from the first half, but more importantly taking their chances when it mattered now.
But Parnells were not beaten yet, and scored next through Canavan and then Stenson, before Conor’s ball found Tobin to bring the Gaels ahead by one again. Parnells would level again through a Stenson free before in a last-gasp finish they sealed the win through Canavan’s final pointed free.
Kingdom Kerry Gaels: John Bartlett, Cian Griffin, James Coffey (0-1), Conor O’Neil, Aiden Dillane, Caoimhin Carty, Alan Kenny (0-1), Anto Daly, Kevin O’Sullivan, Eamon Kenny, Stephen Kilcoyne (1-3), Ryan Begley, Ronan O’Boyle (0-1), Cian Tobin (0-6, 5f), Ciaran Campbell (0- 1). Substitutes: 26 (0-1, 1f), 17 (0-1)
Parnells: Evan Byrne, Declan Turley, Jamie Barry, Alan Callanan, Kevin Cullhane (1-0, 1 pen), Joseph Fegan, Jarlath Branagan, Niall Corkery, Ryan Forde, Seamus Stenson (0-6, 4f), Jordan Fegan (0-1), Shane Delahunty, Enda Flaherty (0-2), Aidan Lehane (1-0), Gerard Canavan
Kilkenny’s hurlers are preparing for yet another trip to Croke Park on the first Sunday in September after a hard earned two-point victory over Waterford