Kerry too strong for Clare despite first half sending-off

Kerry too strong for Clare despite first half sending-off
James O'Donoghue of Kerry in action against Shane Brennan of Clare during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kerry and Clare at Cusack Park, in Ennis, Co. Clare. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Kerry 1-18 Clare 1-12

By Eoghan Cormican

Fourteen-man Kerry overpowered Clare to set up a Munster final date with Cork.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s charges lost Donnchadh Walsh to a second yellow just before the break but the sending off was to have virtually no impact on proceedings as the visitors outscored their hosts by 1-10 to 0-7 in the second period.

James O’Donoghue was outstanding for the winners. He finished with nine points, four of which came from play.

Deadlocked at 1-5 to 0-8 at the break, Clare began the second-half in fine fettle, with Eoin Cleary and Gary Brennan throwing over a free each. Kerry worked their way back level but then arrived the key moment as Jamie Malone, having been put in the clear, took paint off the Kerry crossbar with a thunderous drive.

Kerry punished the let off, kicking four without reply. They could have also had a goal during this spell, with Paul Keaney’s fisted effort coming off the post. They did raise a green flag on 68 minutes, Stephen O’Brien providing the finish. The goal moved Kerry 1-17 to 1-10, ending the game as a contest.

Paul Geaney of Kerry scores a point despite the attentions of Kevin Harnett of Clare during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kerry and Clare at Cusack Park, in Ennis, Co. Clare. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Paul Geaney of Kerry scores a point despite the attentions of Kevin Harnett of Clare during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kerry and Clare at Cusack Park, in Ennis, Co. Clare. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

It had looked so promising for the home outfit following Donnchadh Walsh’s sending off for a second yellow card offence on 33 minutes. The subsequent red flashed by referee Pádraig Hughes brought the first-half card count to eight; two yellow for Clare, five yellow and one red for Kerry. And, in truth, you couldn’t describe it as a nasty or ill-tempered affair. It was more a case of Hughes being far too keen to dip into the back pocket.

Walsh’s first offence came on 16 minutes, a trip on Keelan Sexton which saw Clare awarded a penalty. David Tubridy expertly dispatched the penalty and when Jamie Malone split the posts in the ensuing passage of play, the underdogs led by 1-4 to 0-2.

The visitors took over thereafter and kicked six-in-a-row to open up a one point lead. Of their 0-8 tally, just 0-2 came from play, with James O’Donoghue and Paul Geaney kicking a point apiece.

Scorers for Kerry: J O’Donoghue (0-9, 0-5 frees); S O’Brien (1-1); P Geaney (0-4, 0-2 frees); B Sheehan (0-1 free), S Enright, A Maher, M Geaney (0-1 each).

Scorers for Clare: D Tubridy (1-3, 1-0 pen); E Cleary (0-6, 0-4 frees); G Brennan (0-1 free), J Malone, C Russell (0-1 each).

Kerry: B Kelly; F Fitzgerald, M Griffin, S Enright; P Crowley, T Morley, P Murphy; J Barry, A Maher; M Geaney, K McCarthy, D Walsh; BJ Keane, P Geaney, J O’Donoghue.

Subs: S O’Brien for Keane (HT); J Savage for McCarthy (46): J Lyne for M Geaney (58); K Donaghy for A Maher (62); B Sheehan for Barry (64); J Buckley for P Geaney (69).beat

Clare: Joe Hayes; D Ryan, K Hartnett, G Kelly; C Russell, M McMahon, P Lillis; C O’Connor, G Brennan; S Brennan, J Malone, S Collins; E Cleary, D Tubridy, K Sexton.

Subs: C O’Dea for S Brennan (50 mins); John Hayes for Lillis (56); E Collins for K Hartnett (66); G O’Brien for O’Connor (70)

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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