Monday 11 December 2017

14-man Kerry overcome Clare challenge to qualify for Munster decider

Podge Collins, Clare, in action against Fionn Fitzgerald
Podge Collins, Clare, in action against Fionn Fitzgerald

It will be a Cork-Kerry Munster final after Kerry beat Clare by 1-17 to 1-13 in Ennis but it wasn't plain sailing.

Clare were 10/1 outsiders but battled manfully against an under-strength Kerry side reeling from injuries to many key men.

Clare playing their third game in three weeks were ahead at the break by a point with their blanket defence and fast counter tactics working well.

The Banner men had started well but fell behind early on after Kerry corner back Paul Murphy marauded forward and struck for a goal.

Points from Shane Brennan and Shane McGrath restored parity before McGrath pounced for a goal and suddenly the Ennis crowd began to believe.

The Kingdom rallied well but frees from David Tubridy gave Clare a 1-8 to 1-7 half time lead.

Stephen O'Brien, Paul Geaney and Michael Geaney were all on the scoresheet as Kerry went into a three-point lead after the break.

Geaney scored a dubious looking point soon afterwards as Kerry looked to hold off a spirited Clare side.

Brian Sheehan's third point from play and a fisted effort from Declan O'Sullivan put four in it but then Anthony Maher received his marching orders for a second yellow card.

Geaney sixth point from play on his debut eased Kerry nerves and despite their best efforts Clare couldn't reel Eamonn Fitzmaurice's men in.

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