The Long and Winding Road

November 26th, 2015
by Patrick Mannix

Fifty nine...sixty; the minutes turned to hours, hours to days and days to years as Legion's hopes of a first Senior County title in sixty nine years had to wait for a further twenty minutes of extra time to pass if they were going to end their wait for the Bishop Moynihan Cup. The tension was palpable from the terraces and stand as a collectable groan emerged from the supporters with the referee's whistle. Extra time was needed to see if one of these two boxers in the wire ring of Fitzgerald Stadium could deliver the knockout blow that would kill off the sustained challenge of their opponent. Two matches, three black cards and buckets of sweat still couldn't separate Legion from South Kerry.

Both games followed a similar pattern. Legion dominated first half proceedings but could not drive home their half time advantage on both occasions. South Kerry, who had been here many times before, waited for the onslaught of the young Legion side, but it never came. When Legion's focus began to wane South Kerry slowly ebbed away at their lead to drag themselves off the wire and back onto the playing field. The experienced heads for the long road, led by the superb Bryan Sheehan masterly closed out Legion's creative flair in Conor Keane and James O'Donoghue and saw their opportunity to strike. Legion having led by seven points at one point will feel this loss more as time ticks by. It will definitely be remembered by those in the green and white as the one that got away.

The Legion players can take solace in their youth and energy and the life they have invigorated back into Dirreen after their epic journey. Standing on the field on Sunday after the final whistle it was very reassuring to see all the Legionnaires gather around the players when they needed them most. Although little was said the players initially were inconsolable but the support they have received over the past few weeks will show them the drive and ambition that is within the club to take the next step forward. The players are the leaders, the faces representing all those Legionnaires past and present who felt their pain but the club can be proud of its team and supporters who truly have embraced this young side and the life they have brought back into the club. Peter Keane and his charges move onto the inter-county scene and no doubt will want to drive Kerry like he Legion over the last few seasons.

Hopefully more youngsters from Dirreen will continue the trend of wearing the Green and gold at minor level and the Legion Senior team will learn from this exciting journey and use the experience to spur them on to further success. The Bishop Moynihan Cup travelled along the Killarney bypass and instead of the short journey to Dirreen it traversed the long and winding road down to South Kerry safe in the hands of Bryan Sheehan for another season.

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