Sunday 18 March 2018

Kingdom race out of blocks to sink Banner

Kerry 2-23 Clare 0-17

Kerry’s Darran O’Sullivan attempts to get away from Clare’s Dean Ryan during their Munster SFC semi-final in Killarney. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Kerry’s Darran O’Sullivan attempts to get away from Clare’s Dean Ryan during their Munster SFC semi-final in Killarney. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Cathal O'Connor of Clare in action against Paul Geaney and Paul Murphy of Kerr. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Cathal O'Connor of Clare in action against Kieran Donaghy of Kerry. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Clare manager Colm Collins reacts. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Before they even got to Killarney, the signs weren't good for Clare.

Leaving Cratloe after their pre-match meal, their new 2016 team bus "refused to budge", as manager Colm Collins put it.

A replacement bus was sourced and Clare made it to the pitch in good time thanks to a garda escort. Unfortunately for them, the game as a contest was probably done after just seven minutes.

The Banner defenders were coughing up a worrying amount of space and debutants Brian Ó Beaglaoich and Tadhg Morley combined to set Stephen O'Brien away. His shot clipped the near post and slipped over the line to put Kerry 2-2 to 0-1 to the good.


Clare had been the architects of their own downfall for the first goal that came inside the first minute. Colm Cooper's right-footed effort looked to be dropping harmlessly short but Banner keeper Joe Hayes misjudged the flight of the ball and it dropped over his head and into the net. When O'Brien followed up with his major, the day was done.

"The first goal was ridiculous, a terrible goal to concede," Collins rued afterwards. "And in the build-up to the second one we were found wanting as well - a couple of people should have worked a lot harder. But teams like Kerry, that's what they do."

Not much else went right for Clare. Their best outlet was dual star Podge Collins who moved into the full-forward line early in the game and looked to be giving Ó Beaglaoich a tough afternoon, but he was shown a black card for a trip on Morley on 27 minutes.

Clare kept asking questions but were leaking too many scores at the other end. O'Brien was running riot and had 1-4 to his name by the break while Paul Geaney added three points. Collins's men rallied as the half drew to a close and kicked three of the last four scores but Kerry looked comfortable as they took a 2-10 to 0-9 lead in at the short whistle.

The second half saw a drop in pace but Kerry remained comfortable despite the near-heroic efforts of the likes of Gordon Kelly, Gary Brennan and Kevin Hartnett, while Hayes made two good saves.

Kerry saw out the game with 13 men after Killian Young was forced off with an injury late on after all six subs had been used. Michael Geaney saw black in injury time too, though the numerical disadvantage made little difference.

Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice declared himself pleased with the afternoon's work though the concession of 17 points was a concern.

There were far more positives though. Anthony Maher returned to action to kick a point and earlier in the day James O'Donoghue played 60 minutes for his club.

"We made a lot of mistakes as well and we conceded 17 points so there's plenty to be working on but generally I'd be very happy with the lads. It was our first day out and we have put a lot into this game with a lot of injuries and distractions and I was happy we got the job done," Fitzmaurice said.

"Absolutely, we could have been better and there are areas to work on but we have great context for our training in the next couple of weeks and [we have to] get right for the Munster final. From my point of view it's fantastic to be getting your teeth into stuff like that."

SCORERS - Kerry: S O'Brien 1-5, C Cooper 1-3 (1f), P Geaney 0-5 (1f), BJ Keane, D O'Sullivan, B Sheehan (2f) 0-2 each, P Murphy, K Young, D Moran, A Maher 0-1 each. Clare: D Tubridy 0-7 (4f, 2 45), E Cleary (1 sl, 1f) P Lillis 0-3 each, G Brennan 0-2, P Collins, C O'Connor 0-1.
Kerry - B Kelly 8; S Enright 7, M Griffin 7, K Young 7; B Ó Beaglaoich 6, P Crowley 7, T Morley 7; K Donaghy 8, B Sheehan 7; P Murphy 6, C Cooper 7, D Walsh 8; D O'Sullivan 6, P Geaney 7, S O'Brien 8. Subs: M Ó Sé 6 for Morley (47), D Moran 6 for Sheehan (49), J Lyne for Ó Beaglaoich (52), BJ Keane for O'Sullivan (54), M Geaney for Walsh (57), A Maher for Donaghy (64).
CLARE -J Hayes 7; D Ryan 7, K Harnett 7, M McMahon 7; C O'Dea 6, G Kelly 8, S Collins 7; G Brennan 7, C O'Connor 7; J Malone 7, K Sexton 7, S McGrath 7; E Cleary 7, D Tubridy 7, P Collins 7. Subs: P Lillis 6 for P Collins (BC 27), P Burke 6 for McGrath (46), S Hickey 6 for S Collins (52), S Malone for O'Dea (62), D McMahon for Kelly (BC 65).
REF: F Kelly (Longford).

Irish Independent

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