Kerry 0-17 Tipperary 1-05
YOU didn’t need to see the concern on Jack O’Connor’s face as he spoke to the players on the field immediately afterwards or listen to what he had to say in public to recognise that the Kerry manager was far from happy with the manner of their victory in Killarney yesterday.
They duly qualified for the Bank of Ireland Munster football final, with what he regarded as an improvement on the win over
Waterford, but in truth it wasn’t what was expected from a team which high hopes of winning the All-Ireland.
It wasn’t a case of underdogs Tipperary pushing them all the way. Seamus McCarthy’s team was competitive up to the stage that they confidently took the game to the holders after an opportunist 20th minute goal from centre-back Robbie Costigan. At the interval, they were two points in arrears with every reason to be optimistic, but that as good as it got.
The game’s best entertainment came via good individual performances. Bryan Sheehan’s growing stature was enhanced with some excellent free-taking, (seven points from 10 kicks), Marc Ó Sé again stood out at full back (and in the centre after the resumption) and Seamus Moynihan delighted home fans with excellent play in the second-half.
Tipp could take a lot of satisfaction from the form shown by a number of defenders, including team captain Michael Phelan, who kept a tight rein on Cooper all through.
Kerry began very promisingly, with Sheehan hitting his first point after a mere 50 seconds, Donaghy adding one two minutes later and Paul Galvin kicking over splendidly from the right flank in the 10th minute. More notably, this was to prove the only one from play from a member of the attack, until captain Declan O’Sullivan scored eight minutes after the break.
Before they conceded the goal, Kerry added a further three points and effectively were in complete control — with their dominance at midfield and half back effectively preventing Tipperary from penetrating. They moved the ball smartly going forward, with Declan O’Sullivan the first of the half forwards to make an impression. Sheehan worked hard to win ball and earned some of the frees himself, Darren O’Sullivan toiled without making headway and the same applied to Colm Cooper, who saw little enough of the ball — and had the added misfortune to be forced off for five minutes (in the 23rd) when accidentally cut in the face by studs after being tackled low by Phelan.
Interestingly, Tipp used the experienced Brian Lacey as an extra half back when they were under pressure and it saw him win ball at times. However, while Damian O’Brien made a few good runs from the centre and Philip Austin probed, Declan Browne was not being brought into the game, though he had more to offer when moved to centre forward.
There was a significant improvement in Tipp’s overall play after Costigan goaled well. Browne (who was to get the rest of their scores) followed with a 26th-minute score from play to further boost them and got an even better score from the left wing five minutes. At the break, it was 0-8 to 1-3.
Browne put over a free three minutes into the second half to leave just a point between the sides, but Kerry responded with three quick scores to take a tight grip on the game.
With Andrew Morrissey doing very good work at corner back, Tipperary also made a certain amount of ground at midfield, but they found it very difficult to make progress at half forward. With Browne frustrated by the combination of badly-directed ball and the effectiveness of Kerry’s defensive play, the supply route for scores just dried up.
Once more Kieran Donaghy and Darragh Ó Sé took control in the centre and both Mike Frank Russell and Eamonn Fitzmaurice boosted the attack following their introduction. However, in reality it wasn’t an impressive performance from the attack, with Cooper again largely anonymous.
After Lacey went off following a second yellow card eight minutes from the end, Tipperary almost snatched a goal through Damian O’Brien, but ‘keeper Diarmuid Murphy made a fine save, as did his opposite number on the Tipp team, Paul Fitzgerald, in denying Ronan O’Connor.
Kerry management and players have a lot of soul-searching to do over the next few weeks, though they’ll recognise that Munster finals against Cork often take on a life of their own.
* Mayo referee Michael Daly handled the game reasonably well, except that he didn’t apply the advantage enough.
Scorers for Kerry: B. Sheehan 0-7 f; K. Donaghy 0-2; P. Galvin, T. O Se, S. Moynihan,
Declan O’Sullivan, MF Russell, C. Cooper, E. Fitzmaurice and A. O’Mahony 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: D. Browne 0-5 (0-3 frees); R. Costigan 1-0.
KERRY: D. Murphy; A. O’Mahony, M. O Se, T. O’Sullivan; T. O Se, S. Moynihan, M. Lyons; D. O Se, K. Donaghy; P. Galvin, E. Brosnan, Declan O’Sullivan (c); Darren O’Sullivan, B. Sheehan, C. Cooper.
Subs: MF Russell for Darren O’Sullivan (42nd minute); E. Fitzmaurice for Galvin (48th); R. O’Connor for Brosnan and T. Griffin for Donaghy (61st); K. Young for T. O’Sullivan (68th).
TIPPERARY: P. Fitzgerald; M. Phelan (c), P. King, A. Morrissey; M. Peters, R. Costigan, C. Maher; K. Mulryan, E. Hanrahan; P. Austin, D. O’Brien, B. Lacey; B. Mulvihill, D. Browne, B. Hickey.
Subs: H. Coughlan for Hickey (51st); A. Fitzgerald for Hanrahan and G. Hannigan for Mulryan (64th).
Referee: M. Daly (Mayo).