Naomh Éanna (Antrim) 2-09
Kilcummin (Kerry) 5-13
Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park
What a crazy game of football…
Naomh Éanna of Antrim and Kerry’s Kilcummin went toe-to-toe this evening in Croke Park in what was a game for the ages in the All-Ireland intermediate football final.
Kilcummin’s Noel Duggan pointed from a free in the opening minute to settle the Kerrymen’s nerves and from the resulting kick out Kieran Murphy rose highest to collect the ball and send late replacement Kevin McCarthy through on goal. His initial attempt was blocked but Matt Keane was on hand to fire to the roof of the net for the games first goal after only two minutes.
Two quick points from McCarthy and Gary O’Leary had Naomh Éanna at ‘sixes and sevens’ before McCarthy stormed through the middle once more, this time finishing expertly to the corner to score his sides second goal after six minutes of play.
Naomh Éanna looked nervous in the opening ten minutes but were put at ease as Odhran Eastwood kicked a monster score from way out on the ’45’ to get them on the scoreboard. Eastwood followed up his first point with an even more impressive second sending the ball over the bar whilst surrounded by Kilcummin defenders.
The Antrim champions then came roaring back into the game on 14 minutes as Eoin Nagle rounded Kilcummin’s Donal Maher before firing a rocket to the top corner past Brendan Kealy.
An absolutely frenetic first 15 minutes in Croke Park.
It could have been a second goal for Naomh Éanna after a strong run by Conor McAuley who linked up well with Kristian Healy before drawing a foul which resulted in Eastwood converting from close-range.
McCarthy continued to cause havoc though pointing straight away to edge Kilcummin further in front. The Kerry champions seemed to settle down once more as Kieran Murphy charged up-field to kick another Kilcummin score.
However, the game took yet another turn as Ethan Gibson claimed a fantastic mark that set Naomh Éanna up for an attack. He hand passed off to Kristian Healy who in turn put it on a plate for Ruirai Scott to tuck it into the corner for their second goal.
The Antrim champions revival was once again halted as Kilcummin then won a penalty. Noel Duggan looked like he was going to score before goalkeeper Paddy Flood brought him down, giving away the penalty and receiving a black card in the process.
Murphy slotted home the resulting penalty for Kilcummin’s third goal of the half. McCarthy kicked another point to bring his tally to 1-03 for the first half.
A frenetic first half in Croke Park finished after eight minutes of additional time with Kilcummin in front 3-06 2-04.
Kilcummin stretched their lead to six points in the opening minute of the second half as Sean O’Leary fisted over for his second point of the match before McCarthy pointed yet again for the Kerry champions.
Naomh Éanna could have had another goal through Kristian Healy but his shot was saved comfortably by Kealy to keep the Ulster men at bay.
A fourth goal for Kilcummin looked on momentarily as some neat footwork from McCarthy set up the chance for O’Leary and whilst they couldn’t convert for three points, McCarthy was able to kick another point. Centre forward, O’Leary kicked his third point of the game after 40 minutes as Kilcummin seized control of the match stretching their lead to nine points.
The game looked to be getting away from Naomh Éanna who started the second half as slow as the first, but another free from Eastwood got them up and running as the game entered its final 20 minutes. They kicked their second point of the half through goalscorer, Scott, who sent the ball over the bar with the outside of his right foot in what was a booming score.
Eoin Nagle then showed some great footwork and smartness to keep the ball in play when it looked like a lost cause, the recycled ball then found its way to Scott who scored his second point in a row with another outside of the boot effort.
Brendan Kealy again saved Kilcummin’s blushes with another one on one save against Kristian Healy before Kilcummin turned defence into attack quickly leaving McCarthy with the chance to score once more.
The Antrim men weren’t going to go away though. Peter Healy dispossessed Kevin Gorman in midfield before sending a beautiful pass into Nagle who drew a foul leaving Eastwood with the chance to kick his sixth of the day.
However, Kilcummin looked to have put the nail in Naomh Éanna’s coffin as the man of the match McCarthy fired to the roof of the net for his second goal and Kilcummin’s fourth.
Substitute, John McCarthy fired over for Kilcummin before an inspired block from corner back, Daniel Moynihan, brought the Kerry crowd to their feet.
Naomh Éanna kept driving on and continued to battle hard, but it was to be Kilcummin’s day in the sun as McCarthy went on to score his hat-trick goal followed by an Ian Devane point in the final minute to secure a 13-point victory.
Naomh Éanna (Antrim)
1. Paddy Flood
2. Killian Jennings
3. Damien Gault
4. Mick McNamee
5. Conan Lyttle
6. James McAuley (c)
7. Conor McAuley
8. Philly Curran
9. Joe Maskey
10. Peter Healy
11. Ruirai Scott 1-02
12. Kristian Healy
13. Ethan Gibson
14. Odhran Eastwood 0-07
15. Eoin Nagle 1-00
18. Ciaran O’Neill for 8. Philly Curran
24. Cormac Eastwood for 3. Damien Gault
22. Niall McKeown for 13. Ethan Gibson
17. Ryan Kennedy for 11. Ruirai Scott
1. Brendan Kealy (c)
2. Sean O’Leary
3. Donal Maher
4. Daniel Moynihan
5. Philip Casey
6. Chris O’Leary
7. William Maher
8. Kieran Murphy 1-01
9. Kevin Gorman
10. Shane McSweeney
11. Gary O’Leary 0-03
12. Padraig Nagle
13. Noel Duggan 0-01
23. Kevin McCarthy 3-07
15. Matt Keane 1-0
18. John McCarthy 0-01 for 12. Padraig Nagle
17. Daniel O’Leary for 7. William Maher
20. Kelvin Teahan for 8. Kieran Murphy
14. Ian Devane 0-01 for 10. Shane McSweeney