Monday 23 October 2017

Kingdom sweat on O'Donoghue after Geaney secures silverware

Kerry 3-13 Limerick 2-12

Kerry's David Moran evades the attentions of Limerick's Jamie Lee, left, and Iain Corbett. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Kerry's David Moran evades the attentions of Limerick's Jamie Lee, left, and Iain Corbett. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Early-season silverware and a major injury scare were the main upshots of Kerry's hard-fought victory at the Gaelic Grounds.

On first viewing, it appeared that 2014 Footballer of the Year O'Donoghue had sustained a serious problem approaching the end of normal time, before two extra ten-minute periods were required.

Limerick captain Iain Corbett scores a penalty against Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Limerick captain Iain Corbett scores a penalty against Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

O'Donoghue jumped on one leg and crumpled in a heap after an innocuous-looking challenge, with manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice explaining later that the player had had his foot accidentally stamped on.

O'Donoghue hobbled to the touchline and eventually made his way back to the Kerry bench, having taken the circuitous route behind the goal.

After the game, he happily posed for photos and signed autographs but didn't appear altogether comfortable bearing weight on his injured foot. One fan asked O'Donoghue how he was and he signalled that it wasn't anything too serious.

Fitzmaurice, too, is hoping that it's nothing long-term following an attritional afternoon that also saw versatile Paul Murphy pick up a thigh injury, while Gavin Crowley was brought on and then went off again with injury.

Kerry captain Killian Young lifts the McGrath Cup after the McGrath Cup Final against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Kerry captain Killian Young lifts the McGrath Cup after the McGrath Cup Final against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Two weeks out from Kerry's Allianz League opener against Donegal, Fitzmaurice could do without problems of this nature.

He said: "The lads don't seem to think he (O'Donoghue) is that bad. It was a stamp on the foot, it wasn't a muscle tear or anything like that. He looked to be in a bit of pain, but you'd be hoping it wouldn't be anything too serious."

O'Donoghue's replacement, former All-Ireland minor medallist Conor Geaney, scored 1-2, including the insurance goal in the 89th minute.

That well-taken effort was the solitary score in the second period of extra-time and while Kerry claimed their first McGrath Cup title since 2013, and their fifth in all, Limerick gave them plenty to think about.

The Treaty men were six points down approaching half-time and again early in the second half but they came from behind to make a real game of it.

Geaney landed a late free which looked to have secured the win for the visitors but Limerick's Sean O'Dea bombed forward from the back to land an equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage-time.

And Fitzmaurice reflected: "It was a serious work-out. With extra-time, we got 90 minutes of football. It was a great positive really that everyone got a run, which is good going forward."

In front of 2,010 spectators, the sides were level at 1-11 apiece after 70 minutes, before trading goals in the first period of extra-time.

Barry O'Sullivan netted with Kerry's first attack but that was cancelled out when Limerick's impressive captain Iain Corbett goaled from a penalty after Shane Enright fouled lively full-forward Danny Neville.

As the teams turned around, Kerry led by 2-13 to 2-12, and Geaney's well-taken goal, set up by a precise Conor Keane pass, put the result beyond any doubt.

A tight finish didn't look likely when Kerry opened up a 1-6 to 0-3 lead approaching half-time, David Moran toe-poking home a 29th-minute goal to open up some daylight.

Limerick trailed by 1-6 to 0-4 at the break and Kerry were still well in control, 1-8 to 0-5 clear, before the hosts bagged 1-3 without reply to gain parity.

Seamus O'Carroll's 53rd-minute goal levelled matters but crucially, Limerick could never get ahead as the sides were deadlocked on three further occasions down the home straight.

Scorers - Kerry: C Geaney 1-2 (0-2f), D Moran 1-1, J O'Donoghue 0-4 (3f), B O'Sullivan 1-0, J Lyne, BJ Keane (2f) 0-2 each, P Murphy, M Geaney 0-1 each. Limerick: I Corbett 1-2 (1-0 pen), S O'Carroll 1-1, D Neville 0-3, J Lee 0-2 (1f), S O'Dea, D Treacy, G Collins, S McSweeney (f) 0-1 each.

Kerry - B Kealy; S Enright, J Foley, K Young; P Murphy, T Morley, T O'Sullivan; D Moran, J Barry; J Lyne, J Savage, M Geaney; BJ Keane, P Geaney, J O'Donoghue. Subs: G Crowley for Murphy (inj, 30), B Sullivan for Savage (45), B Ó Seanacháin for M Geaney (46), B O'Sullivan for Barry (46), D Daly for Crowley (inj, 59), C Geaney for O'Donoghue (inj, 65), C Keane for P Geaney (79), K McCarthy for Keane (80), A Spillane for T O'Sullivan (83).

Limerick - D O'Sullivan; D Daly, J McCarthy, S O'Dea; P White, I Corbett, P Hannon; D Treacy, B Fanning; P Nash, S O'Carroll, B Donovan; S McSweeney, D Neville, G Collins. Subs: J Lee for McSweeney (48), G Noonan for Nash (49), D Ward for Daly (51), C Fahy for Hannon (60), J Naughton for O'Carroll (69), J Bridgeman for White (70+1), C Sheehan for Collins (75), P Quinn for Fanning (83), K Ryan for Treacy (85).

Ref - A Kissane (Waterford).

Irish Independent

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