Kingdom suffer pounding from Banner

PLUCKY Kerry put up a brave show against Clare in this Munster MHC opener at the Austin Stack Park, Tralee last evening before succumbing in the second-half to last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists.

It turned out to be a rout in the second-half as Clare stamped their superiority on proceedings and Kerry were simply blown away.

Inspired by the midfield dominance of last year’s pairing of Colm Galvin and team captain Tony Kelly Clare, after initial Kerry resistance from dual star Padraig Boyle, had no answer to the space and point taking of Aaron Cunningham, who amassed four sublime efforts from play.

Tony Kelly chipped in with three points of his own and a goal came in the 23rd minute when, after Kerry keeper Kieran Fitzgibbon prevented a point by batting the ball clear, dapper Ard Scoil Rís full-forward Oisin Hickey blasted the loose ball to the net.

Kerry, thanks to a Pádraig Boyle 13th minute goal, actually led 1-2 to 0-4, but Clare pulled clear to lead 1-12 to 1-5 at the interval and the remainder was mere target practice.

Three minutes into the second-half Clare scored two goals and a point with full-forward Oisin Hickey completing his hat-trick.

It was all one way traffic as the Banner lads shredded the Kerry defence with Aaron Cunningham firing over a succession of superb points from the touchline before being withdrawn.

Clare were in a different league to Kerry, whose challenge faded dramatically as goals from Shane O’Donnell and two from Alan Mulready saw the visitors crush the Kingdom challenge and cruise to a 31point victory.

Clare now advance to the semi-finals, while Kerry faces the might of Cork on Saturday evening.

Scorers for Clare: O Hickey 3-1, A Mulready 2-2, A Cunningham 0-6, C O’Connor 0-6 (0-4 frees), S O’Donnell 1-1, C Galvin and T Kelly 0-3 each, G O’Connell and J Colleran 0-1 each

Scorers for Kerry: P Boyle 1-1, P J Connolly 0-3, M Delaney 0-2 (0-1 free), S Dunne 0-2 (0-1 free)

CLARE: E Quilligan; J Browne, N O’Connor, S Morey; M Moroney, J Shanahan, G O’Connell; C Galvin, T Kelly; A Mulready, C O’Connell, F Melody; S O’Donnell, O Hickey, A Cunningham.

Subs: P Duggan for F Melody (h/t), J Colleran for M Moroney (48), S McGrath for A Cunningham (50), D Moloney for S Morey (50), D Barry for G O’Connell (56.

KERRY: K Fitzgibbon; T Moore, D Fitzell, M O’Halloran; D Collins, T Barrett, K O’Sullivan; E O’Connor, M Delaney; R Heffernan, P J Connolly, L Fitzell; D Goulding, P Boyle, S Dunne.

Subs: T B McElligott for M O’Halloran (43), P McGrath for D Goulding (46), And D Leahy for L Fitzell (50).

Referee: J O’Brien (Tipperary).

RESULT: Leinster MFC: Longford 1-10 Westmeath 0-7.

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