Rampant Kerry always in control against Limerick

WITHOUT ever needing to move out of second gear, Kerry booked their spot in the Munster JFC final with the minimum of fuss on Saturday.

Easing home by a whopping 16 points, the Kerry juniors simply brushed aside a poor Limerick challenge in this disappointing semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds that was every bit as one-sided as the score-line states.

With Alan Fitzgerald leading the Kerry charge with a haul of 1-8 (1-7 from placed balls), alongside the impressive Andrew Garnett at midfield, Kerry had the game’s two top performers, while Limerick, after a promising opening five minutes, were distinctly second best for most of the contest.

Having raced into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead, Limerick, thanks to promptings of full-forward Garrett Noonan, looked to make a game of it. However, with Garnett and Tim Coakley settling in midfield, Kerry quickly took control.

Six points on the trot in a 10-minute spell saw Kerry overhaul Limerick’s advantage, as the visitors moved 0-7 to 0-3 ahead, thanks to three Fitzgerald frees, as well as efforts from Garnett, Gary Sayers and Gavin O’Grady.

Still holding that four-point advantage at half-time, 0-9 to 0-5, Kerry kicked on in the second half, outscoring Limerick by 1-10 to 0-1, with Fitzgerald clinically dispatching an early penalty after O’Grady was fouled in the square.

Incidentally, it’s the second match in a row that Kerry have held the opposition to just one second half score, as they achieved the same feat against Tipperary in the first round match two weeks’ previously.

So with Limerick just managing a solitary Donnagh Kelly point in reply, the second half was a Kerry procession, as they added scores at will, with Fitzgerald, Sayers, Garnett, Brendan Poff and Paul Kennelly all helping to keep the scoreboard operator busy.

Scorers for Kerry: A Fitzgerald 1-8 (6f, 1-0 pen, 1 45), G Sayers 0-3, B Poff, A Garnett, G O’Grady (1f) 0-2 each, P Kennelly, M Brennan 0-1 each.

Limerick: G Noonan (3f), D Kelly, J Bourke, T Collins 0-1 each.

KERRY: S Óg Ó Ciardubháin; K O’Dwyer, S Brosnan, C O’Mahony; E Hickson, B Costello, J Walsh; M Coakley, A Garnett; G Sayers, M Murphy, M Brennan; G O’Grady, B Poff, A Fitzgerald.

Subs: P Kennelly for M Brennan (45); F Courtney for M Murphy (51); T McGoldrick for G O’Grady (54); P O’Connor for J Walsh (54); K O’Connor for C O’Mahony (54).

LIMERICK: C Wallace, M Fitzgerald, A O’Sullivan, D Finnerty; C Ryan, P Martin, E Mulcahy; E Horan, P Horan; B O’Sullivan, J Bourke, T Scanlon; R Lynch, G Noonan, T Collins.

Subs: M McMahon for E Horan (ht); T Butler for D Finnerty (ht); D Kelly for B O’Sullivan (ht); D Lambe for P Horan (45); B Shannon for T Collins (52).

Referee: Keith O’Brien (Tipperary).

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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