Egan helps Tipp end Munster wait
MUNSTER U21FC FINAL
TIPPERARY caused a sensation in Tralee last night when they beat Kerry in the Cadburys Munster U-21 football final by a single point in a dramatic encounter.
Kerry had won 25 Munster titles while Tipperary had lost on their previous nine attempts in finals so there was much rejoicing at the final whistle.
And it was a game that Tipperary deserved to win after struggling to get in front in the first half but the introduction of Shane Egan in the second period made all the difference as he kicked two vital points.
To add to Kerry's woes, Tipperary were managed by Killorglin man John Evans and he has been responsible for the renaissance in Tipperary football.
The Premier County took over at midfield after half-time where the brilliant Peter Acheson gave a man of the match display as Kerry wasted some gilt-edged scoring chances, with seven wides costing them dearly.
Despite playing against the icy wind, Kerry got off to a dream start with a goal in the seventh minute when Barry Shanahan sent Mikey Geaney racing down the left. He fed Barry John Walsh who put Paul Geaney through and he rounded the ’keeper before shooting to the net. Tipperary were having problems coping with Kerry's ploy of playing corner-forward Daithi Casey as a third midfielder and his pace caused major problems. Kerry carried the ball well against the wind with Casey carving open the Tipperary defence with searing runs which resulted in points from Edmund Walsh and Paul Geaney as the home side led 1-2 to 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter.
Then, in the 26th minute, Tipperary were right back in it thanks to a goal that was superbly carved out by Acheson whose 30-metre cross-field pass found corner-back Donal Lynch unmarked and he played in Bernard O'Brien who blasted to the Kerry net.
Alan Moloney then gave Tipp the lead with a point after a superb catch and then added another from a freeas Tipperary led 1-4 to 1-2 at the interval.
With wind advantage, Kerry made a bright start to the second half and were level inside the opening ten minutes with points from Barry John Keane (free) and a superb effort from substitute Pa Curtin. Keane gave the Kingdom the lead, with a 40-metre free. Tipperary, though, were level in the 47th minute when Sean Carey got their first score of the half from a free.
Then Tipperary got stuck in and after Kerry kicked three successive wides, Egan gave Tipperary the lead in the 53rd minute and doubled their advantage, three minutes later. Keane went for goal when a point was on and despite a Walsh point in the 58th minute, Tipperary, with Acheson the hero, held out for an historic first Munster U-21 crown.
SCORERS – Tipperary: B O'Brien 1-0, S Carey 0-2f, A Moloney 0-2 (1f), S Egan 0-2, C Sweeney 0-1f. Kerry: P Geaney 1-1, BJ Keane 0-2 f, BJ Walsh (f ), E Walsh and P Curtin 0-1 each.
KERRY – T Mac an tSaoir; P Crowley, K O'Connor, B McGuire; P O'Connor, B Shanahan, J Lyne; J Buckley, E Walsh; P O'-Donoghue, B J Keane, M Geaney; D Casey, B J Walsh, P Geaney.
Subs: P Curtin for P O'Donoghue (36 mins), G O'Keeffe for M Geaney (48).
TIPPERARY – K Kenrick; R Kiely, C McDonald, D Lynch; P O'Dwyer, J Coghlan, D O'Dwyer; A Moloney, P Acheson; S Carey, B O'Brien, A Matassa; C Sweeney, B O'Meara, M O'Dwyer.
Subs: S Egan for B O'Meara (h/t), T Hanley for B O'Brien (50)
REF – C Lane (Cork)