Kingdom rally to set up semi-final showdown with Cork

KERRY produced a strong second-half performance against Tipperary at Semple Stadium yesterday to book their place in the Munster JFC semi-finals.

Inspired by centre forward Michael O’Donoghue and former senior star Aodán MacGearailt, the Kingdom set up a last-four showdown with champions Cork on June 6.

Tipperary adopted a different approach to this year’s junior championship with the squad viewed as a development panel for the senior set-up, while all players on the squad were 25 years of age or younger.

But the Premier County must wait at least another year to end a winless streak in this competition which stretches back to 2003. Kerry, who were last crowned provincial champions in 2008, led by 1-5 to 0-6 at half-time before a run of five unanswered points after the break effectively sealed victory.

Kerry struck early for their goal, with just eight minutes on the watch, as Michael Murphy fed the marauding O’Donoghue for a neat finish at the Killinan End.

Tipp full forward Stephen Hahessy did well for the hosts in the first half, kicking three points from play, and the Carrick Swan forward saw an angled drive well saved by Kerry goalkeeper Seán Óg O Ciardubháin.

Alan O’Sullivan, a member of Kerry’s senior panel earlier this year, chipped in with a brace of scores from play in the opening half before the visitors turned up the heat during the second period.

Tipp were outscored 0-8 to 0-3 after half-time and had goalkeeper Kieran Kenrick to thank for superb penalty save from MacGearailt with six minutes remaining.

Kenrick, who won a Tipperary cup soccer medal with Clonmel Celtic on Saturday evening, did brilliantly to tip MacGearailt’s 11 metre effort over the crossbar. Kerry did have the benefit of a crossfield breeze in the second half of a scrappy tie which was pockmarked by frees awarded against both teams for misuse of the new hand pass rule, which is sure to cause further problems in the weeks to come.

Scorers for Kerry: M O’Donoghue 1-3 (0-2f), A MacGearailt 0-4 (2 45s), J Buckley & A O’Sullivan 0-2 each, M Murphy and G O’Driscoll 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: S Hahessy 0-3, T Hanly & T Egan (1f) 0-2 each, D Dwyer & L O’Gorman.

KERRY: S Óg O’Ciardubháin; S Enright, A Cahill, B McGuire; F Griffin, A Greaney, E O’Neill; G O’Driscoll, D Murphy; M Murphy, M O’Donoghue, A O’Sullivan; G Sayers, A MacGearailt, J Buckley.

Subs: E Hickson for Cahill (ht.), F Courtney for Sayers (49), B Poff for D Murphy (58), T McGoldrick for Buckley (59).

TIPPERARY: K Kenrick; D Buckley, R Power, D Lynch; D Bourke, D Dwyer, P O’Dwyer; D Heffernan, L O’Gorman; T Hanly, R O’Dwyer, L Coskeran; T Egan, S Hahessy, P McEvoy.

Subs: D Foley for Heffernan (h.t), R Kiely for Power (40), D Lowry for McEvoy (41), D Lynagh for Coskeran (50).

Referee: M Condon (Waterford).

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