Dead rubber still produces a little bounce in Clonmel

McGrath Cup Round 2: Tipperary 1-13 Kerry 1-11

Kerry’s Paul O’Shea is tackled by Bill Maher of Tipperary on the way to scoring his side’s goal during the McGrath Cup Group B match at Clonmel Sportsfield in Tipperary. Photo by Sportsfile
Kerry’s Paul O’Shea is tackled by Bill Maher of Tipperary on the way to scoring his side’s goal during the McGrath Cup Group B match at Clonmel Sportsfield in Tipperary. Photo by Sportsfile

Paul Brennan, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

With regard to advancing to the final of the McGrath Cup neither Kerry nor Tipperary had any route to that final, therefore reducing this fixture to the dreaded 'dead rubber' status, but in terms of it still being a competitive fixture at least the game carried a bit of bounce.

The optics of Kerry losing the game and finishing bottom of the three-team Group B won't sit right in the Kingdom but neither will it trouble too many for too long: winning the McGrath Cup comes fairly low on the priority list in these parts.

What was of a greater priority was that Kerry entered the competition and fulfilled their fixtures, followed by being as competitive as possible, and then, finally, looking for favourable results to see where that took them. In the end, events conspired against any sort of strong Kerry team being fielded but successive defeats to Cork and Tipperary must be put in context.

That stand-in manager John Sugrue drew heavily on his Under-20 players stacks the odds against his own team, who faced an older, and therefore more physical, seasoned and experienced Tipperary team.

That experience was most evident in Conor Sweeney, the prolific forward who bagged himself 1-6, including a first minute penalty goal that kept the home side in the lead from there to the end.

Three Sweeney points, including one from an advanced mark, helped Tipperary to a 1-5 to 0-1 lead after 17 minutes before Paul O'Shea landed three fine scores for Kerry to help make it 1-6 to 0-5 after 36 minutes and 1-9 to 0-6 at half time.

Sean Quilter converted three excellent free kicks to make it 1-9 to 0-9 before Tipperary replied with three unanswered points to restore a six-point lead after 55 minutes.

Cormac Coffey and Evan Cronin found the target for Kerry before Paul O'Shea scored a peach of a goal after some tenacious play to make it 1-12 to 1-11 to Tipperary after 69 minutes.

Try as they did, Kerry couldn't engineer an equalising score and another of Tipperary's more notable players, Jack Kennedy, kicked an insurance score as Kerry fell to another defeat in this competition.

The result aside, Coffey, Darragh Lyne, Quilter and O'Shea showed glimpses of the talents they are, and all in all it has been a useful exercise for a young squad and the incoming Under-20 team manager.

TIPPERARY: Michael O'Reilly, Liam Fahey, Colm O'Shaughnessy, Daire Brennan; Bill Maher, Robbie Kiely, Padraic Looram 0-1, Steven O'Brien 0-2, Tommy Nolan, Dan O'Meara, Jack Kennedy 0-2, Greg Henry 0-1, Liam Boland, Conor Sweeney 1-6 (1-0 pen, 2f), Liam Treacy. Subs: Colman Kennedy 0-1 for D O'Meara (31), Conal Kennedy for S O'Brien (ht), Jason Lonergan for L Treacy (45), Jack Harney for Liam Fahey (63), Dean McEnroe for T Nolan (63).

KERRY: Deividas Uosis (Dingle), Pa Kilkenny (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks), Sean T. Dillon (St Senans), Cormac Coffey 0-1 (Kerins O'Rahillys), Colm Moriarty (Annascaul), Dan McCarthy (Kenmare), Darragh Lyne (Legion), Mark O'Shea (Dr Crokes), Ronan Buckley 0-1 (Listry), Paul O'Shea 1-3 (Kilcummin), Adam Donoghue (Castleisland Desmonds), Sean Quilter 0-3f (Austin Stacks), Sean Keane 0-1f (Listowel Emmets), Killian Falvey (Annascaul). Subs: Evan Cronin 0-1 (Spa) for S Keane (29), Owen Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla) for D McCarthy (40), Luka Brosnan (Castleisland Desmonds) for A Donoghue (blood, 40), Brendán O'Neill (Ballydonoghue) for Sean T. Dillon (44), Michael O'Gara (Austin Stacks) for C Moriarty (48), David Mangan (Laune Rangers) for D Casey (48).

Referee: David Murnane (Cork)

The game in 60 seconds

Main man

Conor Sweeney wreaked most havoc for Tipperary but PAUL O'SHEA can be very pleased with his afternoon's work, finishing with 1-3 from play, with his goal due reward for his own perseverance and that of the Kerry team to keep working unto the very end.

Key moment

In the very first minute Liam Boland won a penalty from a heavy tackle by Cormac Coffey, which Conor Sweeney put low past Deividas Uosis. That gave Tipperary a buffer throughout, which they need at the end to secure the victory.

Talking point

It's an old cliché that sports people often learn more in defeat than in victory, but if there's any truth in that, then Kerry - and manager John Sugrue - will be well educated after McGrath Cup losses to Cork and Tipperary. Those losses won't hurt Kerry any more than wins would have benefitted them. It's about what the young players will have gained from the experience.