Sean Byrne-Deise Sport

At a stretch: Kilrossantys Tommy Prendergast and Nires Michael OGorman contest a high ball during their County Senior Football Championship clash in Fraher Field. | Photo: Sean Byrne-Deise Sport

The Nire 0-11; Kilrossanty 0-5

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County Senior Football Champions The Nire have become the first of the eight teams in this year’s competition to qualify for the quarter-finals following a six-point win over Kilrossanty at Fraher Field on Saturday evening last.

The title-holders were forced into making changes to the team which won their previous two games with ease. Veteran Connie Power lined out between the posts in the absence of regular netminder Tom Flynn and with dual inter county start Shane Walsh out with an injury Craig Guiry took his place and former underage footballer of the year James McGrath filled in for Connie Power in attack.

Kilrossanty started the game brightly with a point in the first minute from the boot of Michael Walsh. Diarmuid Wall responded for the champions but by the midway stage of the opening half Kilrossanty were back in front thanks to a point from Paul Whyte.

A brace of points from James McGrath and efforts from Michael Moore and Brian Wall meant that the champions went into their half-time huddle three points to the good.

Not for the first time this year going long periods without scoring was to cost Kilrossanty. After Paul Whyte pointed on 14 minutes, the club which famously lent Kerry a set of jerseys early in the 125-year history of the GAA had to wait till the 20th minute of the second half before they got their next score.

By this time Craig Guiry and a brace from Brian Wall in the second half had the champions 0-8 to 0-3 ahead. Kieran Ryan added a fourth Kilrossanty point with seven minutes left on the watch and Paul Whyte scored his third a minute later.

The champions finished the stronger, however, with James McGrath, Brian Wall and Craig Guiry all adding points, but just as Kilrossanty were coming back into the game Tommy O’Sullivan sent Paul Hayes off for a second yellow card and once again you would have to wonder had they a full complement of players on the field would they have shocked an understrength Nire. The answer we will never know.

The Nire: C Power; J Walsh, T O’Gorman, Maurice O’Gorman; J Moore, D Ryan, P Prendergast; B Wall, Michael O’Gorman; C Guiry, D Wall, J McGrath; L Lawlor, M Walsh, M Moore.

Scorers: B Wall 0-4 (0-3 Frees), J McGrath 0-3, C Guiry 0-2 (0-1 frees), D Wall and M Moore 0-1 each.

Kilrossanty: D Mullhearne; C Foley, C Hayes, M Power; P Lennon, N Walsh, B Mansfield; T Prendergast, S Prendergast; M Kirwan, M Walsh, A Kirwan; P Whyte, C Dee, J Veale. Subs: K Ryan for M Walsh, J Coad for Dee, M Kiely for Lennon.

Scorers: P Whyte 0-3 (0-2 frees), M Walsh and K Ryan 0-1 each.

Referee: T Sullivan (Affane).