Irish World Senior Football Championship Rnd 3
St Kiernans 1-5
NL Shamrocks 0-6
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
That left Round Towers needing to beat Cuchulainns by 17 points 24 hours later in Greenford, and the south Londoners managed to do just that to progress to the semi-finals at the expense of the 2016 champions.
It was a bitter-pill to swallow for Kiernans, who may feel that the scheduling of the games 24 hours apart didn’t favour them. While Towers did what they had to do.
Knowing that victory was a must last Saturday, Kiernans were good value for the win in the end, but only after Shamrocks had made a flying start.
Liam Irwin and Fintan O’Mara opened the scoring, but Rhys Lennon then sent an inviting ball in to the far post, and Waters arrived to palm to the Shamrocks’ net past Marcus Moylette.
David Carrabine was everywhere for Kiernans and the wing back fired over a cracking point.
When Irwin then fired wide, it was the Shamrocks’ fourth wide in the opening 12 minutes.
A lazy Irwin strike from an impossible angle edged Shamrocks back in front, but they were struggling to unlock a disciplined Kiernans defence. Shamrocks were being kept to pot-shots from distance.
James Moran (free) and O’Mara (45) traded scores, before Peter Finn’s smart claim and lay-off set up Kenneth O’Connor to point. Kiernans led by 1-3 to 0-4 at the break.
The second half was cagey stuff as the conditions worsened in the rain. Enda McHugh fired over early on for Shamrocks, but Michael O’Donoghue replied with a free which he had won.
Shamrocks needed to up the tempo. They were enjoying plenty of possession but just couldn’t find a way through the Kiernans rear-guard.
Irwin thought he’d pointed, only for the umpires to disagree, but was then off target with two free attempts.
The only goal chance of the second half fell to Eddie Kelly, but he couldn’t get enough power on his shot and Brendan Mulrooney was able to turn it away.
O’Donoghue landed possibly the point of the match with an exquisite strike, and Irwin replied in kind for Shamrocks. But Shamrocks couldn’t get any closer.
Shamrocks, assured of a semi-final spot thanks to their superior points difference, will sweat on the fitness of O’Mara who was carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury during the second half.
St Kiernans: Brendan Mulrooney; Ciaran Healy, Stephen Curran, Keith Curran; David Carrabine (0-1), Shane McManus, Rhys Lennon; James Moran (0-1, 1f), Danny Ryan; Tom Waters (1-0), Catha og Greene, Mark Mulholland; Michael O’Donoghue (0-2, 1f), Peter Finn, Kenneth O’Connor (0-1). Subs: Frazer Lennon for O’Connor, Geff Kingston for Healy, Greg Lyons for McManus.
North London Shamrocks: Marcus Moylette; Eoin Flanagan, Eoin Culligan, Cormac Coyne; Peter Witherow, Ryan Burke, Dennis O’Regan; Ollie Doherty, Niall Costelloe; Finbar O’Mara (0-2, 1’45), James Hynes, Eddie Kelly; Enda McHugh (0-1), Liam Irwin (0-3), Ciaran Green. Subs: Dualtach Molloy for Burke, Daryl Roberts for McHugh, Killian Burke for O’Mara, Gareth Ryan for Doherty.
Referee: Mattie Maher.