Kerry deny Limerick Munster title

Kerry 1-17 Limerick 1-14

Kerry have won the Munster senior football title for the first time since 2007 after they got the better of Limerick at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney this afternoon.

The All-Ireland champions, who trailed by 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time, produced a scintillating display at the outset of the second half that looked to have set them up for a comfortable victory but Limerick rallied and managed to level the game with 11 minutes remaining before Kerry found another gear.

For Limerick, it is another crushing heartbreak after the Munster final losses of 2003, ’04 and ’09, and they will know that they had chances to emerge victorious and claim the county’s first provincial title since 1896.

Playing with the wind, they flew out of the blocks and scored four points in as many minutes after the throw-in, Ger Collins with three and man of the match John Galvin scoring one.

At the other end, Stephen Lucey was keeping Kieran Donaghy quiet while the roving Stephen Kelly got through plenty of work. Galvin and James O’Donovan owned midfield and Kerry looked to be in big trouble but some cheap frees allowed them to come back into the game and by the 13th minute there was just a point in it, 0-5 to 0-4.

Limerick again stepped up though and three unanswered points, one from Kelly and two long-range frees by goalkeeper Brian Scanlon gave them a cushion again. By the 33rd minute, they had extended it further, moving 0-10 to 0-5 in front after a wonderful point from captain Seanie Buckley, but points from Mike McCarthy and Colm Cooper left three in it at half-time.

Limerick had wasted some opportunities of scores however and just before the break Kerry introduced Micheál Quirke in midfield, who would have a big influence in the middle.

His dominance brought about a complete turnaround at the start of the second half as Kerry reeled off seven points in a row to move 0-14 to 0-10 ahead and when Cooper found the net after a fine Donncha Walsh pass, the game looked to be over for Limerick.

Ger Collins pointed immediately after that for Limerick though and then Galvin goaled after he dispossessed Seamus Scanlon close to the Kerry goal and all of a sudden the game was back on, 1-14 to 1-11.

James Ryan, Collins and Galvin all pointed after that and the game was really in the melting pot with 10 minutes left but Limerick could not find the crucial go-ahead score. Instead, Cooper, David Moran and Tomás Ó Sé all scored for Kerry in the dying minutes to settle Jack O’Connor’s side and finally end Limerick’s challenge.

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