Disappointing draw for Kingdom

FAI Oscar Traynor Trophy: Kerry 0 Limerick Desmond League 0

Limerick Desmond League player John Hayes gets his head to the ball ahead of Kerry’s Kevin O’Sullivan during their Oscar Traynor Cup clash in Mounthawk Park on Sunday. Photo by Domnick Walsh
Limerick Desmond League player John Hayes gets his head to the ball ahead of Kerry’s Kevin O’Sullivan during their Oscar Traynor Cup clash in Mounthawk Park on Sunday. Photo by Domnick Walsh

Mike Rice - Senior Soccer

Both sides came into this game hoping to claim the three points to put them in a strong position to reach the quarter-final, but at the end of a largely disappointing game they had to settle for a share of the spoils with neither side able to find the net.

Conditions were ideal for this game at Mounthawk Park but the players did not do themselves justice on the day with the game very poor from an entertainment point of view. The first half was a poor quality, foul ridden affair in which neither side created too many scoring chances.

General play was scrappy with very little happening in the final third of the pitch at either end. To their credit the sides showed a much greater appetite for the game in the second and both sides had chances of nicking the three points late in the game but they were unable to engineer that elusive goal.

Kerry had an early chance when Stephen McCarthy was taken down just outside the box. After dusting himself off he took the free kick and his dipping shot was easily saved by the Limerick goalie Michael Stack.

Another half chance presented itself for Kerry in the 13th minute but Matt Keane fired his shot high and over the top. At this stage Limerick began to get a grip of the game at midfield where Joe McAuliffe and Kevin Murphy were pulling the strings.

They had to wait until the 34th minute to get their first decent effort on goal and a shot from Tim Larkin failed to find the target. Just before the break Limerick struck on the break and a looping shot from Kevin Murphy went fractionally wide.

Both sides upped the tempo of their play from the start of the second half and it was Kerry that were on the front foot and putting a lot of pressure on the Limerick rearguard.

They went close to breaking the deadlock in the 48th minute. Accurate and penetrating approach work from midfield unhinged the Limerick defence with James Sugrue linking up with William Courtney. He slipped the ball to Adam O'Rourke who played in Stephen McCarthy and his shot from an angle hit the side netting.

Then Kerry forced four successive corner kicks but they failed to break down an excellent Limerick defence excellently marshalled by Seán O'Shea and Cormac Roche. As the half moved on both sides used their benches and looked for that bit of magic that might produce a goal.

Limerick went close to breaking the deadlock in the 74th minute after a swift counter attack Tim Larkin got in behind the Kerry defence, but he was denied by a great save by Kerry goalie Stephen Bartlett.

Kerry went close to scoring in the 82nd minute when a fantastic through ball by Adam O'Rourke put sub Cathal O'Shea through on goals, but the Limerick goalie Michael Stack done brilliantly to come off his line and win the race for the ball and get it to safety.

Play then moved down the end and after great build up play Gary Enright found a pocket of space to unleash a shot from outside the box but his effort on goal went over the top.

Kerry forced two late corner kicks which yielded nothing and a draw was probably a fair outcome at the end.

The top two in the group will qualify for the quarter-finals, with the group winners having home advantage.

Kerry: Stephen Bartlett, Adam O'Rourke, Stevie O'Mahony, Shane Doolan, Kevin O'Sullivan, Matt Keane (Paudie Quinn, 80), James Sugrue, Wayne Sparling, Gary Keane, Stephen McCarthy (Cathal O'Shea, 75), William Courtney, (Ashley Kelliher 62)

Limerick Desmond League: Michael Stack, Cormac Roche (Dylan Kelly, 66), Alan O'Shea, John Hayes, Sean O'Shea, Gary Enright, Kevin Murphy, Joe McAuliffe, (Jamie Kelly 76), Darren Murphy, Fiachra Cotter (Pa Ahern, 51), Tim Larkin

Referee: Anthony Morrison