Oscar Traynor Cup 2013/14 , Kerry DL v Cork AUL

Oscar Traynor Cup 2013/14

Wednesday 13th November 2013
Oscar Traynor Cup ,
Kerry District League 1-1 Cork AUL

By Tommy Naughton

As always, no matter what the sport, Kerry and Cork matches are never dull affairs and this was proven in a hard fought battle in Mounthawk Park Tralee last night. With both sides already qualified to the knock out stages this game might have been written off, but with pride at stake neither side wanted to lose to their fierce rivals.

The game was played out in conditions not suitable for football with a gale blowing down the pitch which Kerry had behind them in the first half. Cork however made an explosive start, after a good move involving Howie Cokley and Alan Greaney they won a corner. Dean Kelly swung the corner in and James O’Leary made a run towards the front post and his header flew past David Hennessey in the Kerry goal to take the lead after only 90 seconds.

Kerry Looked to bounce back and Mark O’Sullivan won a free just outside the Cork penalty area. O’Sullivan took the free himself which clipped the top of the wall and went out for a corner. John McDonagh’s corner found O’Sullivan at the back post but his header was cleared of the line by Dean Kelly at the expense of another corner. This time it was James Sugrue who took a short corner which found Peter McCarthy on the edge of the box but his shot was wide of the target.

With 15 minutes gone Cork nearly doubled their lead. Again it was from a corner and the same combination as the first goal. Dean Kelly crossed for James O’Leary who this time saw Danny Roche clear off the line to save Kerry who quickly broke down the pitch before Sugrue played Roche in towards the end line. Roche pulled the ball towards the back post where Mark O Sullivan came rushing at it but he fired powerfully wide of the near post.

The midfield battle was hectic with both teams playing a 4-4-1-1 formation so their was very little room with every little mistake giving up possession. Both teams were finding it hard to create any chances from open play with set pieces looking more likely the way to goal.

Twenty minutes gone and Gintarus Paketarus should have leveled when he got on the end of a James Sugrue free but he headed across the goal and past the far post. John McDonagh then tried from long range but his well struck shot just went over the top of the bar.

Gary Nolan was causing Kerry loads of trouble up top for Cork with some great runs down the channels which were picked out by some great passes from Cian O’Driscoll and Howie Coakley. However each time it was played to him he was left isolated and the Kerry defence would smother him out.

Just before half time a yellow card was shown to Howie Coakley for something that was said to the referee, Coakley and the Cork players were incensed at the matter as they maintained it was the wrong payer booked for the comments that were shouted at the referee. Minutes later Mark O’Sullivan received a yellow for a miss timed tackle that saw the Cork team and management screaming for a red.

Mark Nolan found Alan Greaney after a great run , Greaney weaved his way into the Kerry Box and just as he fired with the keeper to beat Con Barrett slid in to block the shot and was the rebound was cleaned up by Hennessey.

James Sugrue finally made Jason Sexton in the Cork goal make a save when his long range effort went straight and low towards the keeper. The last chance of the half saw Gary Nolan make a great run into the Kerry box. Nolan evaded the tackle of two defenders before shooting towards goal. Hennessey who had started to move to his left stretched back his right hand to stop a certain goal which he quickly reacted to smother.

The half time whistle came shortly after and Cork seemed the happier having the lead while playing against the very strong wind. Kerry had dominated the possession but at times were looking for the perfect goal and only manage to make the Cork keeper make one save in the first half.

The second half had one change before it started with the match referee Adrian Grimes being replaced by Stuart Templeman and Derek O’Shea taking over as his Assistant on the line.

From the start Kerry seemed to up the tempo of the first half and already Cork seemed to sit back and look to attack on the counter attack, which nearly worked when Cian O’Driscoll broke down field but hesitated to play Gary Nolan in who only had the keeper to beat but he was offside by the time the pass was made.

There then was a flurry of yellow cards for both sides with Con Barrett and John McDonagh for Kerry and Gary Nolan for Cork all for late tackles. Early changes saw Danny Roche replaced by Bryan Murphy for Kerry and Derek Heaphy replacing Gary Nolan for Cork.

Mark O Sullivan on the hour mark saw his well hit shot blocked by James O’Leary with Kerry players shouting for a penalty for a hand ball which was waved away. Three minutes later though the nature of the game changed. Kerry were awarded a free deep in their own half but after the whistle had gone Howie Coakley kick the ball away from the pitch. The player who claimed to be wrongly booked in the first half was shown his second yellow and then a red and Cork were down to ten men. Cork seemed to be losing their control and a minute later Mark Nolan received a yellow for another poor tackle.

With the man advantage it was all Kerry now with Mark O’Sullivan getting on the ball more and pulling the strings and he nearly grabbed the equalizer when Gintarus Paketarus pulled the ball back to the edge of the box, O Sullivan struck his shot towards the top corner only for Jason Sexton to produce a fine save.

Minutes later O’Sullivan and Sugrue played a lovely one two before finding Peter McCarthy’s run behind the Cork defence but his shot only found the side netting. With 15 minutes remaining Kerry introduced Aaron Houlihan for Gary Keane and made the move of going 3-4-3 with Con Barrett moving up top. Cian O’Driscoll then received a yellow as Cork were now struggling to stop the Kerry attacks.

With ten minutes remaining James Sugrue floated a free which was headed back across the box by Con Barrett for Mark O’Sullivan to hit on the volley only for Cork’s outstanding centre back James O Leary to throw himself in front of it to block with Kerry claiming it was again a hand ball but was once again this waved away by the referee who was in a perfect position to see.

Cork now pinned into their own half knowing a draw would still secure top spot in the group couldn’t get a hold of the ball. Bryan Murphy was next to go close for Kerry but again a Cork body was in the way to block it out for a corner. With two minutes remaining Kerry were finally rewarded for their pressure and never give up attitude. Mark O’Sullivan found Aaron Gazza Houlihan who took one touch to get the ball out of his feet and then put his foot through it from nearly 25 yards out. The strike against the wind flew in to the top corner giving Sexton no chance in the Cork goal.

The game wasn’t over yet but the Cork side line were shouting for the final whistle to end in the draw they wanted but they again nearly stole all three points in the 92nd minute. Gary Comerford hit a wonderful free kick form distance with the strong wind behind him which Hennessey had to react quickly to dive to his right and save with one hand.

So a dramatic draw which see’s Cork top the group on goal difference. Kerry will also be very happy with their second half performance which sees them qualify in second place unbeaten and only conceding two goals in three games .

Kerry DL: David Hennessey(Mitchels Avenue) , Jonathan Burrows(Tralee Dynamos) , Shane Guthrie(Tralee Dynamos) , Con Barrett(St Brendans Park) , John McDonagh(Killarney Celtic) , Danny Roche(Tralee Dynamos) , Mark O Sullivan(St Brendans Park) , James Sugrue(Tralee Dynamos) , Peter McCarthy(Killarney Celtic) , Gary Keane(Killarney Celtic) , Gintarus Paketarus(Killarney Celtic) . Subs; Bryan Murphy(Listowel Celtic) for Roche , Aaron Houlihan(Tralee Dynamos) for Keane , David Hayes(Killarney Celtic) , Kevin McCarthy(Listowel Celtic) , Robert Watson(Killarney Celtic) , Gary Sugrue(Spa Road) , Darren Breen(Mitchels Avenue) .

Cork AUL: Jason Sexton , Gary Comerford, Vincent Lonergan, Anthony Peelo, James O Leary, Mark Nolan , Howie Coakley , Dean Kelly , Gary Nolan , Alan Greaney , Cian O Driscoll .Subs; Derek Heaphy for Nolan , Graham Carroll , Paul Byrne , Tony Carroll , Tomas Butler ,Patrick Long .Luke Cambridge .