Kerry brush Cork aside to reach another Munster final
Adam Moynihan reports from Páirc Uí Rinn
Munster Championship Semi-Final
Cork 0-11 Kerry 0-23
A run of eight straight points between the 51st and 64th minutes lifted Kerry to what was ultimately a comprehensive victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Cork had frustrated their fiercest rivals up until then and some excellent kicking by Stephen Sherlock and Cathail O’Mahony had them trailing by the minimum.
With David Clifford being well marshalled by a combination of Kevin Flahive and Seán Powter, Kerry had struggled to find their rhythm but that string of unanswered scores finally put the contest to bed.
This match was played in front of a virtually full Páirc Uí Rinn in perfect conditions but, save for a Cork run around the 26-minute mark, it failed to really burst into life in the first half.
Kerry boast arguably the best forward division in the country but Cork’s Stephen Sherlock was the stand-out marksman of the opening period. He kicked the hosts first six points (the fifth was his first from play and also the score of the half).
David Clifford (two), Paudie Clifford, Stephen O’Brien and Séan O’Shea (two) had given The Kingdom a 7-3 lead with 20 minutes on the clock before Sherlock (three) and Cathail O’Mahony roused the home crowd by making it a draw game.
The visitors finished the half in the ascendancy, however, and a great point (as he was being fouled) by the excellent Diarmuid O’Connor and a Tony Brosnan score gave them a two-point half-time lead.
O’Mahony’s kicking kept the Rebels within striking distance at the beginning of the second half but the introduction of David Moran at midfield coincided with Kerry’s best spell of the match. With Gavin White also exploding into the game, Jack O’Connor’s side eased into fourth gear and left Cork in their wake.
Seán O’Shea accounted for a good portion of Kerry’s match-sealing points and subs Micheál Burns and Paul Geaney also got in on the act late on.
Cork’s second-half performance can perhaps be summed up by the fact that they scored just one point in the last 20 minutes. Kerry’s backs deserve credit here; corner back Graham O’Sullivan in particular caught the eye.
Speaking to the media after the match, Kerry manager Jack O’Connor said the game had “more or less” gone the way Kerry would have predicted.
“We expected a big battle from Cork. With all the controversy over the game being played here, they had no option but to battle and they did. And fair play to them. They gave us a great battle for 50 minutes.
“We needed all our experience off the bench to see out that game.”
KERRY: S Ryan; G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O'Sullivan; B Ó Beaglaoich, G White, T Morley; D O’Connor (0-1), J Barry; S O’Brien (0-2), Seán O’Shea (0-10, 8f), A Spillane; T Brosnan (0-1), D Clifford (0-4, 3f), P Clifford (0-2).
Subs: P Geaney (0-2) for Brosnan, D Moran for Spillane, P Murphy for Ó Beaglaoich, M Burns (0-1), J O’Connor for D O’Connor.
CORK: M Martin; K O’Donovan (0-1), M Shanley, K Flahive; J Cooper, R Maguire, M Taylor; I Maguire, C O’Callaghan; D Dineen, S Powter, J O’Rourke; S Sherlock (0-6, 5f), B Hurley, C O’Mahony (0-3).
Subs: D Foley for Martin, D Gore for Hurley, T Corkery for Powter, E McSweeney (0-1) for Dineen, D Hayes for O’Rourke.
Kingdom hoping to lay some old ghosts to rest at Páirc Uí Chaoimh
by Adam Moynihan
All-Ireland SFC Group 1
Cork v Kerry
Saturday at 3pm
Páirc Uí Chaoimh
I was one of the unlucky few to have been present at the last Cork-Kerry clash in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in November of 2020. It was a truly awful night.
The match was played behind closed doors which made for an eerie, unsettling atmosphere, and the rain came down harder than I ever remember seeing first-hand.
Unfortunately, Kerry came down hard too. Mark Keane’s last-ditch goal clinched an unexpected victory for the hosts and, just like that, Kerry’s year was over.
It always hurts when your team loses but that one completely floored us all. It was such a horrible way to lose a game and I felt so bad for the players as they trudged off the field, soaked to the bone and shaken to the core.
They got some form of payback the following year when they won by 21 in the Munster final, and again last year when they ran out 11-point winners in the semi-final. But something tells me that it would mean a lot more to return to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and do the business there.
It won’t be easy. The final scorelines in the last two games suggest that it was all one-way traffic but that simply wasn’t the case. In 2021, Cork led by 1-5 to 0-4 at the water break (remember those?) and they pushed Kerry hard 12 months ago too. There was nothing in that match right up until the 50th minute, at which point Kerry brought on David Moran and Paul Geaney and ultimately pulled away.
You can never really read too much into the McGrath Cup but Cork demolished Kerry in January. Their form since has been spotty but they did well to see off Louth last week, with the returning Brian Hurley (shoulder) kicking eight points in a two-point win. Hurley has proved to be a handful for Kerry full back Jason Foley in the past.
Significantly, John Cleary’s side are strong in a key area where Kerry struggled against Mayo: midfield. Ian Maguire and Colm O’Callaghan scored 0-2 each in Navan (and the latter scored 2-4 in that aforementioned McGrath Cup game at the start of the year).
Jack O’Connor named his team last night with Adrian Spillane replacing Tony Brosnan and Paul Murphy coming in for Dylan Casey. Spillane will add some extra brawn and energy around the middle third. Going by the last outing, Kerry need it.
It is also worth noting that David Clifford has never really shot the lights out against Cork. He has been well minded by Maurice Shanley, Seán Meehan and Kevin Flahive in the past three championship meetings, with the retreating Seán Powter also getting stuck in when needed.
Flahive suffered a cruciate injury late in last year’s game but he could potentially be in line for a comeback tomorrow; he has been added to Cork’s 26 for the first time in over 12 months.
Meehan has been ruled out with a hamstring injury so Shanley may be asked to track the Footballer of the Year this time around.
Clifford was one of the few bright sparks against Mayo and he would love to bring that form to the Páirc on Saturday. With vital points on the line, there would be no better time to lay some ghosts to rest.
From a Kerry perspective, you would hope – and perhaps expect – that Clifford and his teammates can do exactly that and get the show back on the road.
1. Shane Ryan
2. Graham O’Sullivan
3. Jason Foley
4. Tom O’Sullivan
5. Paul Murphy
6. Tadhg Morley
7. Gavin White
8. Diarmuid O’Connor
9. Jack Barry
10. Dara Moynihan
11. Seánie O’Shea
12. Adrian Spillane
13. Paudie Clifford
14. David Clifford
15. Paul Geaney
Subs: S Murphy, T Brosnan, D Casey, BD O’Sullivan, R Murphy, M Burns, M Breen, S O’Brien, D O’Sullivan, C O’Donoghue, S O’Brien.
1. Micheál Aodh Martin
2. Maurice Shanley
3. Rory Maguire
4. Kevin O’Donovan
5. Luke Fahy
6. Daniel O’Mahony
7. Matty Taylor
8. Colm O’Callaghan
9. Ian Maguire
10. Brian O’Driscoll
11. Ruairí Deane
12. Killian O’Hanlon
13. Seán Powter
14. Brian Hurley
15. Chris Óg Jones
Subs: P Doyle, C Kiely, T Clancy, K Flahive, P Walsh, E McSweeney, B Murphy, J O’Rourke , M Cronin, S Sherlock, F Herlihy.
Is Killarney green or blue? Celtic and Athletic to face off in tonight’s league final
Kerry Premier A League Final
Killarney Celtic v Killarney Athletic
Tonight at 7.45pm
Mounthawk Park, Tralee
Killarney Celtic will be gunning for their fifth league title in a row tonight (Friday) when they take on crosstown rivals Killarney Athletic in Tralee.
Celtic have been the dominant force in Kerry soccer in recent times with Athletic playing second fiddle. This will be the third Premier A final in a row to be contested by the Killarney clubs; Celtic won the 2020 decider 4-0 and last year’s final ended in a 3-0 victory for the club from Derreen. (The 2020/21 season was scrapped due to the pandemic.)
Prior to that, Celtic defeated Castleisland in 2019 and Dingle Bay Rovers in 2018, both on a scoreline of 1-0.
Celtic and Athletic also met in the 2017 final. The Blues prevailed in that particular encounter to capture their first ever Premier A title.
As for this season, Neilus Hayes’ Hoops qualified for the final by virtue of their first-place finish in the Premier A. Despite losing key players – including attackers Ryan Kelliher, Stephen McCarthy and Trpimir Vrljicak – to the Kerry FC project, the Celts won 12 of their 14 matches and ended up with an imposing goal difference of +34.
Athletic were not far behind, however; Stuart Templeman’s team only lost one league game all season en route to 35 points – one behind Celtic and 11 clear of Castleisland in third.
Interestingly, both of Celtic’s losses came at the hands of Athletic. The Woodlawn outfit impressively beat the old enemy 3-2 and 0-1 over the course of the regular season.
Goals by Roko Rujevcan, Pedja Glumcevic and a 90th-minute winner by Brendan Moloney clinched that dramatic 3-2 win in October of last year. It was a result that signalled Athletic’s intentions for the rest of the season.
Rujevcan was also on the scoresheet when Athletic snatched a rare away win at Celtic Park on April 30.
Celtic’s imposing record in finals probably makes them slight favourites and in the likes of John McDonagh, Brendan Falvey, Wayne Sparling, Kevin O’Sullivan and Witness Odirile they have a potent mix of steel and skill.
But Athletic will take heart from their recent results in this fixture and they will be hoping that two of the stars from the 2017 team – Shane Doolan and Shane Lynch – can lead the current crop of players to glory.
Meanwhile, the Division 2B final between Killarney Athletic B and Atletico Ardfert that was also due to take place tonight has been cancelled. Athletic have received a walkover.
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