Tubridy's introduction gives Clare edge
Clare 0-12 Kerry 0-9
Published 11/01/2016 | 02:30
Clare qualified for their first McGrath Cup final since 2011 and finished with a 100pc record in the group phase, after adding a victory over an experimental Kerry selection in Fitzgerald Stadium yesterday to their defeat of Tipperary last weekend.
With the majority of the Kerry panel only returning from their team holiday the previous day, Eamonn Fitzmaurice fielded a side containing some of the county's recent All-Ireland minor and junior winners, along with players from Kerry SFC finalists South Kerry and Killarney Legion.
Clare recovered from a four-point deficit at half-time to win by three points, with the introduction of David Tubridy as a second-half substitute a big factor in their win.
Few of the Kingdom side impressed apart from Padraig O'Connor and Brian Ó Beaglaoich in defence.
Gavan O'Grady opened the scoring from a free in the fourth minute, but it would be Kerry's only score until the 17th minute, as Clare took a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
Kerry went ahead by the 22nd minute, 0-4 to 0-3, before they survived a major scare three minutes later. Eoin Cleary and Thomas Downes spurned a double goalscoring chance for the Banner County as points from Jamie O'Sullivan, Jeff O'Donoghue and a free from O'Grady had Kerry 0-7 to 0-3 in front at half-time.
Clare scored the first four points of the second half to draw level by the 48th minute.
The visitors went back ahead with 15 minutes left as Sean Collins slotted over, although Kerry responded three minutes later through, their first score of the second-half, a Jeff O'Donoghue free.
A third point for Tubridy and a fourth from Cleary, with a second Cathal O'Connor point sandwiched in between, had Clare back in front by 0-11 to 0-8 on the stroke of 70 minutes.
Jamie O'Sullivan blasted Kerry's only other second-half score from a close-range free over before Clare substitute Martin O'Leary, restored the Banner's eventual three-point winning margin.
The result makes Kerry's match away to Tipperary next weekend an effective damp squib as neither side can now qualify for the final.
Scorers - Clare: E Cleary 0-4 (1f), D Tubridy 0-3 (1f), C O'Connor 0-2 (1 '45'), K Sexton, S Collins, M O'Leary 0-1 each. Kerry: G O'Grady (3fs), J O'Sullivan (2fs) 0-3 each, J O'Donoghue 0-2 (1f), Padraig O'Connor 0-1.
Kerry - S Murphy; B Ó Beaglaoich, G Hartnett, P O'Sullivan; Padraig O'Connor, D O'Sullivan, T O'Sullivan; B O'Sullivan, W Guthrie; Phillip O'Connor, J O'Sullivan, S O'Callaghan; P Joy, G O'Grady, J O'Donoghue. Subs: S Keane for Guthrie (44), D O'Brien for Joy (49), M Foley for T O'Sullivan and K Crowley for J O'Sullivan (both 52), T O'Sullivan for Crowley (61), J O'Sullivan for O'Callaghan (64).
Clare - J Hayes; M Malone, P Lillis, C O'Dea; E Ralph, G Kelly, K Malone; C O'Connor, G Brennan; S Collins, E Coughlan, T Downes; E Cleary, J Malone, K Sexton. Subs: D Nagle for Malone and D Tubridy for Downes (both H/T), D Burke for Coughlan (39), G Kelly for Ralph (51), M O'Leary for K Malone (53) and S Haugh for Sexton (62).
Ref - M Collins (Cork).