No shock in Killarney as Kerry ease past Clare

No shock in Killarney as Kerry ease past Clare

Kerry 2-23 Clare 0-17

If the precise details from Fitzgerald Stadium are a tad fuzzy, we apologise in advance, writes Tony Leen, Irish Examiner Sports Editor.

Our attention span had less chance of surviving the seven minutes of additional time when some bright spark in the press tribune found a radio signal from Thurles.

Cork gone. Cork back. What a comeback. Gone again.

The publicans and businesses in Killarney wept quietly and patted their pants pockets for loose change as they mulled over the Cork loss in Semple Stadium - and to them on July 3rd.

Tipperary will bring numbers to the Munster final, but they won't bring Cork numbers.

The business of Killarney is no business of Eamonn Fitzmaurice however. His only concern, if there is one, is the 17 points conceded to Clare in Sunday's shootout in Killarney.

Not that Kerry's progress was ever in peril, but some of the Clare advances went a little too unimpeded for a defender of Fitzmaurice's precision.

If it's simplistic to say Kerry's two early goals were the difference in the end, it's also true to say that Clare never bridged the six point gap the Colm Cooper and Stephen O'Brien deflected effort gave them.

The Kingdom emptied the bench in the second half, with the returning Anthony Maher introduced to wide acclaim by a crowd of 11,358. He also scored a late point.

If Fitzmaurice's final dressing room instruction to his Kerry players before was to slap Clare down early and often, he can't dispute his players' honour to the code.

No shock in Killarney as Kerry ease past Clare

Within five minutes, Clare were reaching for the smelling salts, trailing 2-1 to 0-1. How much that dictated the tempo for the remainder of the first period is a moot point, but the Banner more than held their own.

The greater the pity then that Podge Collins had a moment's brain freeze in the 27th minute when tripping Kerry defender Tadhg Morley five metres from his own end line.

The black card removed one of the most intriguing elements of the day - Weaker County bingo, where we wistfully wonder how successful Podge and the likes of Gary Brennan could be with one of the September counties.

Not that Podge's dismissal sent Clare scurrying back into their shell. Au contraire.

Brennan continued to drive from midfield, and his two first half points ensured they were only 2-10 to 0-9 down at the break. Not much more than that left-right combo from Colm Cooper and Stephen O'Brien in the first five minutes.

The annoying thing for Clare coach Colm Collins is that both Kerry goals were avoidable. Gooch's came from a loping ball that keeper Joe Hayes misjudged.

The second, an O'Brien shot, rebounded back off the post and trickled over the line via Dean Ryan's shin.

Scorers for Kerry: S O'Brien (1-5), P Geaney (0-5, 1 free), C Cooper (1-3, 1 free), B J Keane, D. O'Sullivan, B Sheehan (frees) (0-2 each), D Moran, A Maher, P Murphy, K Young (0-1 each).

Scorers for Clare: D Tubridy (0-7, 4 frees, 2 45s), E Cleary (1 free), P Lillis (0-3 each), G Brennan (0-2), C O'Connor, P Collins 0-1 each).

KERRY: B Kelly; S Enright, M Griffin, K Young; B O Beaglaoich, P Crowley, T Morley; K Donaghy, B Sheehan; P Murphy, C Cooper, D Walsh; Darran O'Sullivan, P. Geaney, S O'Brien.

Subs for Kerry: M O Se or Morley (45); D Moran for Sheehan (47); J Lyne for O Beaglaoich (50); Barry J Keane for O'Sullivan (52); M Geaney for Walsh (53); A Maher for Donaghy (64)

CLARE: J Hayes; D Ryan, K Harnett, M McMahon; C O'Dea, G Kelly, S Collins; G Brennan, C O'Connor; J Malone, K Sexton, S McGrath; E Cleary, D Tubridy, P. Collins.

Subs: P Lillis for P Collins (black card, 27); P Burke for S McGrath (45); S Hickey for S Collins (52); S Malone for C O'Dea (62); D McMahon for G Kelly (black card, 66).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford).

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