Thursday 23 November 2017

'Far harder days ahead' for Kerry as Deise blitzed

Kerry 4-21, Waterford 1-4

Declan O'Sullivan has eyes only for the ball as he crashes home Kerry’s second goal
Declan O'Sullivan has eyes only for the ball as he crashes home Kerry’s second goal

Declan Rooney

AccumulatING 43 points more than their two opponents to date isn't the best preparation for a Munster final, but Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice was happy to see his side raise their game in the face of Waterford's plucky display in Killarney.

AccumulatING 43 points more than their two opponents to date isn't the best preparation for a Munster final, but Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice was happy to see his side raise their game in the face of Waterford's plucky display in Killarney.

Niall Carew's side had the locals twitching nervously at half-time on Saturday evening, but they were unable to live with Kerry's slick play once the hosts found their groove.

"I thought we were fairly well tested in the first half," Fitzmaurice said. "If we continued to play the way we did in the first half we wouldn't have won by 26 points. It would have been a tighter game, more physical.

"In the second half we upped the tempo and, to be fair to Waterford, they've been playing in Division 4 all year and it's just a different standard.

INSPIRED

"We know there are far harder days ahead but it's just a matter of doing your job as best you can, and we've done our job and we are happy at that."

Kerry held Waterford to one Tony Grey goal in the second period. The result was put beyond doubt nine minutes after the break when the Tomas O Se-inspired Kingdom hit 2-3 in a scoring blitz. Goals from Kieran Donaghy and a sublime Declan O'Sullivan effort were sandwiched by three points from the top drawer by O Se, Peter Crowley and Colm Cooper.

Waterford never recovered, as Carew conceded.

"You will get away with it for 35 or 40 minutes but after that you struggle," Carew said. "The energy levels drop, and when Kerry got the goal it gave them a lift and it has the opposite effect on us. Once the first goal went in then the floodgates opened. We were happy enough at half-time. We needed everything to go right for us to have any realistic chance. Scores give you that energy to keep going.

"I think we are 35 minutes, a full half, off Kerry at the moment. Getting up two divisions would be realistic for Waterford. I think had we played any Division 3 team, or a bottom of Division 2 team, we would compete very well with them."

Kerry have already secured at least a place in the final round of qualifiers, where they will surely come up against more experienced exponents of defensive tactics.

With that in mind, the management will have been happy with the patience their side displayed in the first half – if not the returns garnered – when picking their way through Waterford's blanket cover.

"We didn't cope that well with it in the first half. We found it hard to get space up there, but patience is very important when you're coming up against that blanket defence," said Fitzmaurice.

"We could have had a couple of goals in the first half but we just weren't that clinical in front of goal. At the same time, overall, we'd have to be happy.

"One of the words we were preaching this week was 'patience'.

"We felt we had to be patient because we knew they were going to get bodies behind the ball, we knew that it might take into the second half before we got a bit of a lead and a bit of momentum going.

"It was good to score a few goals but there will definitely be far tougher tests ahead."

Yet another Munster championship stroll in the park has been ticked off by Kerry. If Cork beat Clare in the manner expected in their semi-final, both teams will go into the provincial decider without a significant test.

The Munster championship needs a strong finale.

Scorers – Kerry: C Cooper (3fs), J Buckley (2fs) 0-4 each, B Sheehan 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), A Maher, K Donaghy, Declan O'Sullivan 1-0 each, J O'Donoghue, P Galvin, T O Se 0-2 each, M O Se, F Fitzgerald, P Crowley, D Walsh, Darran O'Sullivan, K O'Leary 0-1 each. Waterford: T Grey 1-1, P Whyte 0-2 (1f), S Aherne 0-1.

Kerry – B Kealy 7; M O Se 7, A O'Mahony 6, F Fitzgerald 7; T O Se 9, K Young 7, P Crowley 7; A Maher 7, J Buckley 8; D Walsh 8, C Cooper 8, P Galvin 8; Declan O'Sullivan 7, K Donaghy 8, J O'Donoghue 7. Subs: Darran O'Sullivan 7 for Walsh (45), E Brosnan 7 for T O Se (50), B Sheehan 7 for Maher (53), S Enright 7 for M O Se (57), J O'Leary 6 for Donaghy (60),

Waterford – S Enright 7; T O hUallachain 7, N Walsh 6, T O'Gorman 7; J Hurney 6, S Briggs 6, C Phelan 6; M O'Gorman 7, T Prendergas 6; S Aherne 7, T Grey 8, A Doyle 6; P Whyte 8, G Hurney 7, R Aherne 6. Subs: C O'Keeffe for Phelan (48), L O Lionain 6 for Doyle (48), P Hurney 6 for Aherne (54), S O'Hare 6 for Prendergast (66).

Ref – M Higgins (Fermanagh)

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Tomas O Se (Kerry)

When Kerry struggled to break down Waterford in the opening half, their longest-serving player was often the man to provide the crucial overlap. And his second-half point off his weaker left foot gave Kerry the great start they needed.

Turning point

Four minutes into the second-half Kieran Donaghy got on the end of an Ó Sé garryowen and flicked past Stephen Enright. In an instant all of Waterford's good work in the opening half unravelled and Kerry took advantage of the shell-shocked Déise.

Talking point

What purpose is this pancake-flat Munster SFC serving? Three facile victories for Cork and Kerry have done little for the reputation of this ailing competition. Here's hoping for a red-hot Munster final.

Magic moment

Kerry's second goal was hammered to the net by Declan O'Sullivan and it really punctured Waterford's resolve.

But in the build-up Kerry displayed everything that's beautiful about their game, with Colm Cooper, Donaghy and James O'Donoghue all involved in the move of the game.

Ref watch

Martin Higgins had a fine outing. Early on he penalised each side for infringing during a sideline kick, but he dealt with each incident without fuss. Mostly invisible – always a good sign for a ref.

What they said

Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Kerry manager): "If you're any way off, then you can make the game very hard for yourself."

Niall Carew (Waterford manager): "We are where we are. We are a Division 4 team. Our level of fitness wouldn't be near what Kerry's is or any of the top five or six."

Match statistics

Wides :

Kerry 7 (4 first half)

Waterford 7 (4)

Frees:

Kerry 18 (11)

Waterford 13 (8)

Yellow cards:

Kerry: 0

Waterford 2 (J Hurney 47, T O hUallacháin 52)

Red cards:

Kerry 0

Waterford 0

What's next?

Kerry play Cork or Clare in the provincial final; Waterford go into the qualifiers draw.

Irish Independent

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