In the end it just wasn't to be and the Davitts fairy tale failed to materialise as the men from Milltown-Castlemaine got to write the details of the final chapter of the Davitts book for this season. But despite the ending, there will be plenty of good reading for those from the borderline in the years to come as they look back fondly on an adventure they could have hardly dreamed of this time last year.
While there are fond memories to be looked back on, it will be back to business very soon for Davitts and in between there will be time for some of their players to look back on what happened on Sunday in Croke Park and what they could have done differently. It was just one of those days that happens to teams form time to time, where they don't give a true account of themselves and they will be disappointed with their performances.
Davitts just struggled to get into the game from the off and once it started to go away from them they weren't able to pull the Kerry champions back in, despite the maximum of effort being exerted when there was still chance for them to turn the game around.
Milltown-Castlemaine were straight out of the blocks and pushed themselves into a two point lead before two minutes had elapsed on the clock. Wing back Paul O'Carroll and corner forward Ian Twiss pointed from a free. Davitts struck back with a point from midfielder Ronan McNamara, before Michael Conroy and Jerome Flynn exchanged points.
While Conroy was always going to be the Davitts go to man in the contest, their over reliance on hitting long balls into his corner also played a part in their undoing. The Kerry champions had obviously paid close attention to the threat that Conroy posed and dropped centre half back Marcus Mangan in front of Conroy and corner back Kevin McKenna to choke off the supply of ball into the Davitts captain.
Ten minutes in the Milltown-Castlemaine pressure paid off when full forward Colm Kearins punched the ball to the back of the net from close range. While Kearins was in the right position at the time to apply the finish, neither Davitts goalkeeper Mark Diskin or full back Roche will be happy with their positioning in the lead up to the goal, as both men left it to the other to cut out a high dropping ball in and let Kearins get in position to finish the ball to the net.
Davitts did bag their own goal five minutes before the break, by that stage the Kerry side had stretched their lead out to 1-5 to 0-2. When the Davitts goal did come about it was a goal worthy to grace any game in Croke Park. Paul Carey dropped the ball in on top of Conroy. The Davitts captain was under pressure from three men and instead of trying to claim the ball himself he flicked it into the path of Fergal McGrath. There was still plenty of work to do for McGrath who threw a couple of shimmies before applying a deft finish to place the ball low to the left hand corner of the net, well out of the reach of goalkeeper Joe Daly. But that really was as good as it got for Davitts, as the Kerry men hit back straight away with two more points to re-exert their authority on the game.
Davitts did hit the first score of the second half through Keith Prendergast, but they kicked a couple of wides and took the wrong option over their next few attacks and failed to pull back in the gap, and it was another 27 minutes before they managed to score again. By that stage it was too little to late.
Davitts: M Diskin; C Roche, A Roche, K Gallagher; J Clarke, C Boyle, J Cummins; R McNamara, P Carey; K Prendergast, D McDonagh, O Coyne; A McTigue, F McGrath, M Conroy. Subs: F Barrett for Clarke (39 ), K Glynn for McDonagh (39 ), C O’Gara for Kearns (51 ), J Ronayne for Carey (57 ).
Scorers for Davitts: M Conroy 0-3fs, F McGrath 1-0, A McTigue, R McNamara, K Prendergast 0-1 each.
Milltown-Castlemaine: J Daly; K McKenna, D Murphy, J Blennerhasset; J O’Connor, M Mangan, P O’Carroll; M Burke, D Kelliher; J Flynn, S Murphy, G Wrenn; C Moriarty, C Kearins, I Twiss. Subs: D Twiss for Flynn (51 ), P Wrenn for O’Carroll (62 ), K McKenna for I Twiss (64 ).
Scorers for Milltown-Castlemaine: I Twiss 0-4fs, C Kearins 1-0, G Wrenn 0-3, D Kelliher 0-2, P O’Carroll, J Flynn, C Moriarty, D Twiss 0-1 each.
Referee: D Brazil (Offaly ).