By Eoghan Cormican, Fitzgerald Stadium
Clare 0-12 Kerry 0-09
Clare progressed to the final of the McGrath Cup with a three-point win away to Kerry this afternoon.
Colm Collins’ outfit delivered a fine second-half showing where they outscored their hosts by 0-9 to 0-2 - Kerry failed to score from play in the second thirty-five minutes.
Crucial to the win were the five unanswered points slotted directly upon the change of ends which had the visitors 0-8 to 0-7 in front on 55 minutes.
Kerry returned to the dressing-room 0-7 to 0-3 in front, having kicked the last six scores of the half. Points from Cathal O’Connor (free) and Eoin Cleary (0-2, 0-1 free) pushed Clare into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 11 minutes.
The visitors, however, would not score for the remainder of the half and points at the other end from Kerry’s Jamie O’Sullivan (0-2), Pádraig O’Connor, Jeff O’Donoghue and Gavin O’Grady (0-2) moved Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side into a commanding interval lead.
The gap, it should be noted, would have been closer had Eoin Cleary capitalised on the outstanding goal chance of the afternoon after being put through by Gary Brennan.
The corner-forward elected to catch the ball when palming it represented the smarter option. It mattered little at the end.
Kerry: S Murphy; B Ó Beaglaoich, G Hartnett, P O’Sullivan; Pádraig O’Connor, D O’Sullivan, T O’Sullivan; B O’Sullivan, W Guthrie; Philip O’Connor, J O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan; P Joy, G O’Grady, J O’Donoghue.
Subs: S Keane for Guthrie (44 mins), D O’Brien for Joy (48), M Foley for T O’Sullivan (52), K Crowley for J O’Sullivan (52), T O’Sullivan for Crowley (62, bc), J O’Sullivan for O’Callaghan (64).
Clare: J Hayes; M Malone, Gordon Kelly, E Ralph; P Lillis, J Malone, C O’Dea; C O’Connor, G Brennan; S Collins, E Coughlan, T Downes; E Cleary, K Malone, K Sexton.
Subs: D Tubridy for Downes (HT), C O’Halloran for M Malone (HT), D Burke for Coughlan (40 mins, inj), Graham Kelly for Ralph (51), M O’Leary for K Malone (53), S Haugh for Sextion (62).
Referee: M Collins (Cork).