PHOTOS: Na Gaeil Defeated After Epic Battle With Beaufort

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Na Gaeil 2-18

Beaufort 4-13

Jack Barry and Nathan Breen contest a kickout  during the game. Photo by Dermot Crean


Na Gaeil’s quest for a Junior Premier title goes on after they lost to Beaufort by 4-13 to 2-18 in a thrilling game at Austin Stack Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Extra-time was needed to separate the teams, but the mid-Kerry side’s three goals in the final 30 minutes proved the difference in the end and time ran out for Na Gaeil.

After losing to Firies at the semi-final stage last year and in a replayed final against eventual All-Ireland champs Glenbeigh/Glencar in 2016, Na Gaeil have come so close only to suffer agonising defeat.

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They’ll be back though, because a side with this much young talent can only learn from yesterday and it won’t be long before they’ll get that title.

Na Gaeil started brightly going 0-4 to 0-0 after eight minutes, but a minute later, Beaufort’s Fergal Hallissey collected a crossfield ball and finished smartly to the net.

Beaufort’s first goal. Photo by Dermot Crean

Jack Barry responded with a point which was crossed out by a fine score from Liam Carey and another from Niall O’Connor.

Diarmuid O’Connor raced from inside his own half to respond for the Tralee side but Beaufort were coming into the game more and should have had a second goal when sloppy defending saw Niall O’Connor shoot from point blank range, only to be denied by the Na Gaeil keeper.

Fergal Hallissey got a point from a tight angle but Andrew Barry responded and it was 1-4 to 0-7 after 23 minutes.

Diarmuid O’Connor evades a tackle. Photo by Dermot Crean

Na Gaeil finished the half strong with two points from frees from Dara Devine and a brilliantly worked point from Kieran O’Donovan, but a Beaufort free was the last kick of the first half sending the mid Kerry outfit in two points down, 0-10 to 1-5 at the break.

It was Beaufort who started the better and by the 46th minute they had scored four points without reply and went ahead by 1-9 to 0-10, with Na Gaeil still to score in the second half.

That was corrected when Dara Devine slotted over a free and sub Eoin Walsh levelled it again with ten minutes to go.

Diarmuid O’Connor put them a point ahead with a superb point from 40 yards out and when Darragh Carmody scored a peach from the wing it looked like Na Gaeil might finally do it.

Diarmuid Herlihy and Gerard Harnett in a tussle. Photo by Dermot Crean

But Beaufort weren’t finished and two late points in injury time from Liam Carey and Ciaran Kennedy sent the game to extra-time with the score 0-14 to 1-11.

Na Gaeil struck first with a fine score from Andrew Barry, quickly followed by Dara Devine slotting to the net from close range and a point immediately afterwards by Seamie O’Neill to put the Tralee side five points up.

Dara Devine celebrates his goal. Photo by Dermot Crean

Beaufort kept their heads and remarkably were ahead at the end of the first period. Two points from Carey were followed by two quick goals and Na Gaeil were rocked, 1-16 to 3-13 at the break.

Na Gaeil came out fighting though and scored two points in the first four minutes. Then disaster struck again for Na Gaeil as another high ball into the square saw Ciaran Kennedy punch the ball to the net to put Beaufort four up again.

Superb fielding during the game. Photo by Dermot Crean

Incredibly, Na Gaeil struck back a minute later after Diarmuid O’Connor got on the end of  a high ball into the square and his fisted ball found the goal.

Diarmuid O’Connor scores his late goal. Photo by Dermot Crean

Na Gaeil pressed for the equalising point over the next few minutes to no avail and the contrast of emotions at the final whistle told the story of an incredible game where the man of the match went to a Na Gaeil man, Stefan Okunbor. Scroll down for photos…

Beaufort players celebrate at the final whistle. Photo by Dermot Crean

Beaufort celebrate. Photo by Dermot Crean

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