Munster SFC: O'Donoghue inspires Kerry
Munster SFC Semi-Final
Kerry 1-18 Clare 1-12
By Peter O’Connell at Cusack Park, Ennis
Munster champions Kerry eventually qualified for a Munster final meeting with Cork on July 2, when they held off Clare in Cusack Park, Ennis.
While the first half was a good battle, Kerry upped their game considerably in the last 25 minutes and outscored Clare 1-10 to 0-7 during the second period.
Following a first half, which featured seven yellow and one red card, the teams were tied at half-time, Clare 1-5 Kerry 0-8.
Gary Brennan set the tone right from the throw in when the Clare captain cut through the Kerry defence from the throw in. He laid off to David Tubridy who fired over a sublime, left footed point. When Tubridy goaled a 13th minute penalty, which was won by Keelan Sexton, Clare led 1-3 to 0-2. Jamie Malone added a point to extend Clare's lead by the 18th minute.
However Kerry, who had the breeze, fought their way back into it with four James O'Donoghue points, while Paul Geaney added two. Kerry were reduced to 14 players when Donnchadh Walsh was shown a second yellow, a minute before half-time, when the wing forwarded fouled Clare's Martin McMahon.
Kerry briefly led, but Ciaran Russell, attacking from wing back, equalised just before the interval, leaving the 5,786 attendance that a possible shock was on.
That belief deepened when Clare put over the opening two points of the second half with Eoin Cleary and Cathal O'Connor firing over frees won by Gary Brennan.
However, the game turned on an incident nine minutes into the second half when a Jamie Malone shot hit the Kerry crossbar and ended up spinning wide. At that stage Clare led 1-8 to 0-10 and a goal at that juncture, would have rattled Kerry further.
Kerry responded with a flurry of points from James O'Donoghue, Stephen O'Brien, Anthony Maher and Shane Enright. Stephen O'Brien, who impressed after being introduced at half-time, netted Kerry's goal three minutes from full-time. While Clare had an extra man, O'Brien walked through the heart of the Clare defence before goaling.
Kerry showed their experience when a lesser team could have panicked. While Gary Brennan was outstanding in the first half, Jack Barry came more into in as the game developed, while James O'Donoghue looked very sharp from play and frees for Éamon Fitzmaurice's team. Anthony Maher also had a good spell in the second half, which played a key role in helping Kerry to establish control.
Scorers for Kerry: James O’Donoghue 0-9 (4fs), Stephen O’Brien 1-1, Paul Geaney 0-4 (2fs), Anthony Maher, Michael Geaney, Shane Enright, Bryan Sheehan (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: David Tubridy 1-3, Eoin Cleary 0-6 (4fs), Jamie Malone, Ciaran Russell, and Cathal O’Connor (f) 0-1 each.
KERRY: Brian Kelly; Fionn Fitzgerald (captain), Mark Griffin, Shane Enright; Peter Crowley, Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy; Jack Barry, Anthony Maher; Michael Geaney, Kevin McCarthy, Donnchadh Walsh; Barry John Keane, Paul Geaney, James O'Donoghue.
Subs: Stephen O'Brien for Barry John Keane (half-time), Jack Savage for Kevin McCarthy (45), Jonathan Lyne for Michael Geaney (52), Kieran Donaghy for Anthony Maher (61), Bryan Sheehan for Jack Barry (64), Johnny Buckley for Paul Geaney (68).
CLARE: Joe Hayes; Gordon Kelly, Kevin Harnett, Martin McMahon; Pearse Lillis, Dean Ryan, Ciaran Russell; Gary Brennan (captain), Cathal O'Connor; Jamie Malone, Seán Collins, Shane Brennan; Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy, Keelan Sexton.
Subs: Cian O'Dea for Shane Brennan (50), John Hayes for Pearse Lillis (56), Eoghan Collins for Kevin Harnett (66), Gearóid O'Brien for Cathal O'Connor (70).
REFEREE: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).