Wolfe Tones 1-10 Kilkee 0-9
For the second time within a week, Wolfe Tones built up a sizeable lead over Kilkee in Kilmihil. This time, the Shannon men held onto it and made it back to the senior football county semi-final stage for the first time since 2007.
Many elements of Sunday’s replay were similar to the drawn game at the same venue a week before. Wolfe Tones again played with a strong first-half wind, which blew in the direction of the scoreboard end. Like last week, they raced into an early lead and led 1-2 to 0-0 after eight minutes.
Darren Ryan’s point, after just 26 seconds, was a portent of how sharp Wolfe Tones were in the opening quarter. The ball was popped to Ryan by Daniel Gallery, who enjoyed a superb first half. In fact, he scored 1-2 from play, with the goal in the seventh minute, having linked nicely with Stephen Monaghan.
With Michael O’Shea and David Russell, both of whom started in the full-forward line, playing very deep, Kilkee had virtually no threat up front, albeit they were playing into the elements.
Two Monaghan points from play, the second set up by Brendan Hughes and the excellent Kevin Cahill, flanked Kilkee’s opening point from Chris Williamson. Gallery added his points and could even have goaled five minutes before half-time, following a searing Cahill run. His rising shot went over however, leaving Wolfe Tones 1- 5 to 0-1 up.
Eleven minutes before the interval, Kilkee were dealt a huge blow when Michael O’Shea went off injured, although he did return six minutes into the second half. Kilkee were weakened even before the throw-in with the absence of Michéal Keane (suspended) and Brian Clancy, who went to Australia last week.
Just before half-time, Kevin Cahill drew two frees both of which were pointed by Gary Leahy, while Barry Harte kicked Kilkee’s second point in injury time, after Chris Williamson had been impeded.
Eight points down at half-time, 1-7 to 0-2, Kilkee needed a goal to harbour a realistic chance of salvaging a result. Christy Kirwan’s shot, eight minutes from time, was the closest they came to goaling. Seán Brennan saved on the line, while O’Shea and Russell shot over from similar half chances.
At the other end, Daniel Gallery looked to have been fouled close to the square in the seventh minute of the second half, while the same player blazed low and wide a minute later.
Gary Leahy, Stephen Monaghan and Pasty Keyes kicked Wolfe Tones’ three second-half scores, while Barry Harte, David Russell, Michael O’Shea and Darragh Kelly scored Kilkee’s seven second-half points between them.
Although Chris Dunning only came on in the closing minutes, having gone off injured in the first half of the drawn game, Wolfe Tones still showed their class up front.
Daniel Gallery was their best forward in the opening half. It was noticeable that Kilkee didn’t make any alterations to their half-back line, which was under serious pressure from Gallery and centre-forward Kevin Cahill.
Scorer of the second Wolfe Tones goal in the drawn game, Cahill didn’t score last Sunday but he played very well at centre-forward, while Stephen Monaghan also showed his class. Substitute Aaron Cunningham repeatedly ran at Kilkee and demonstrated that Wolfe Tones have viable options on the bench.
Save one poor kick-out, Jason Casey did well in goals for the winners, while Seán Brennan, William Flynn and Colm McGall were very solid in defence, with Joe McGauley impressing at midfield.
Barry Harte was the pick of the Kilkee men, with Chris Williamson, David Russell and Thomas Galvin also giving it everything.
Wolfe Tones will now take on St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield in Sunday’s semi-final for a place in the county final. Having started the championship keen to avoid relegation first and foremost, the year has panned out nicely for Brendan Reidy’s team.
Kilkee are in a rebuilding phase, with their best players among their oldest. Still, they improved on last year’s championship innings when it took a relegation semi-final replay before they beat Lissycasey.
Wolfe Tones: Jason Casey; Steven Carroll, Seán Brennan, Craig O’Brien; Colm McCall, Brendan Hughes (captain), William Flynn; Patsy Keyes, Joe McGauley; Kevin Corbett, Kevin Cahill, Kevin Corbett; Stephen Monaghan, Darren Ryan, Gary Leahy.
Subs: Aaron Cunningham for Darren Ryan (26, inj), Steven McInerney for Craig O’Brien (half time, inj) and Chris Dunning for Kevin Corbett (60).
Scorers: Daniel Gallery (1-2), Stephen Monaghan (0-3, 1f), Gary Leahy (0-3f), Darren Ryan and Patsy Keyes (0-1) each.
Kilkee: Kevin Harte; Thomas Galvin, Darragh Kelly, Darren Clarke; Christy Kirwan, Senan Larkin, Alan Russell; Kevin Larkin; Chris Williamson; Diarmuid Keane, Barry Harte, Ronan Browne; Gearóid Lynch, David Russell, Michael O’Shea.
Subs: Brian Harte for Michael O’Shea (19, inj), Keith Downes for Diarmuid Keane (half-time), Michael O’Shea for Ronan Browne (36) and Derek Deloughery for Senan Larkin (42, inj).
Scorers: Barry Harte (0-4, 2f); David Russell (0-2), Chris Williamson, Michael O’Shea and Darragh Kelly (0-1) each.
Referee: Michael Talty, Kilmurry-Ibrickane.