Last night in Dungarvan, the county’s latest batch of minor footballers were played off the field to the tune of 22-points. The home outfit trailed by 0-11 to 0-0 after just 13 minutes of action, that gap stretching out to 15 come the interval. Worse again was the Déise’s inability to register a single score until the 21st minute, a further 22 minutes passing before they added a second.
Four weeks ago on the very same field, the Waterford U21s were on the receiving end of a 25-point trouncing from Cork. On that occasion, the home outfit failed to open their account until the 48th minute.
All in all, it has been yet another regressive spring for underage football in the county.
For Kerry, manager Peter Keane and his backroom team knew as much about their team departing Fraher Field as they did when the team bus pulled into the ground close to 6pm.
A pointless exercise?
“You have to play it, useful or not. You can’t get to the second step until you take the first step,” said Keane.
Beyond the opening quarter, though, there wasn’t much cut and thrust to this fixture. St Brendans’ Hogan Cup match-winner David Clifford tallied Kerry’s first point within 12 seconds, his second sailing between the posts before the end of the second minute. Ominous.
The visitors weren’t far off a point a minute during a relentless opening quarter — Diarmuid O’Connor (0-2), Ferdia O’Brien, Mike Breen, Dara Moynihan (0-2), Sean O’Shea (0-2) and a third from Clifford putting Kerry 11 points to the good. It could have been worse. Waterford ‘keeper Aaron Beresford produced a fine save to tip over the bar Sean O’Shea’s shot on 13 minutes.
A Shane O’Meara free gave the home support in the crowd of 478 brief reason to cheer. Extremely brief, at that. In the subsequent action, Graham O’Sullivan put through Clifford, who in turn offloaded to Ferdia O’Brien; the corner-forward rolling into the net goal number one.
The half-time scoreline read 1-13 to 0-1. Within 30 seconds of the restart, a defensive error handed O’Brien his second major. What happened thereafter, including Cathal Curran’s goal on 43 minutes, was irrelevant. The contest was done and dusted.
Continued Keane: “I think we turned over the ball a good few times in that we gave it away. Now, we turned them over a good few times, but, particularly in the first-half, we turned over the ball against ourselves a good few times. That is something we need to work on.”
F O’Brien (2-1); D Clifford (0-5, 0-2 frees); S O’Shea (0-4, 0-2 frees); D Moynihan (0-3); B Friel, D O’Connor (0-2 each); M Breen, M Potts, T O’Connor, D Casey (0-1 each).
C Curran (1-0); S O’Meara (0-1 free), C Walsh (0-1).
S Ó Luing (An Ghaeltacht); G O’Sullivan (Piarsaigh Na Dromoda), N Collins (Listowel Emmets), M Reidy (Ballymacelligott); D Naughton (Dr Crokes), D O’Brien (Glenflesk), M Foley (Ballydonoghue); M Breen (Beaufort), M Ryan (Rathmore); D O’Connor (Na Gaeil), S O’Shea (Kenmare), D Moynihan (Spa); F O’Brien (Austin Stacks), D Clifford (Fossa), B Friel (Rathmore).
M Potts (Dr Crokes) for Naughton (27 mins, inj), B Sweeney (Listowel Emmets) for Ryan (HT), D Shaw (Dr Crokes) for O’Connor (37), T O’Connor (Ballymacelligott) for Moynihan (47), D Casey (St Mary’s) for O’Brien (52), C Teehan (Glenbeigh Glencar) for Foley (55).
A Beresford (Ballinacourty); A O’Sullivan (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg), J Skehan (Sliabh gCua), J Mulcahy (The Nire); C Ó Cuirrín (An Rinn), M Daly (Brickey Rangers), C Curran (Brickey Rangers); D Guiry (The Nire), J Beresford (Ballinacourty); B Power (Rathgormack), S Martin (Tramore), T Barron (The Nire); C Kirwan (Kill), S O’Meara (The Nire), P Prendergast (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg).
T Collins (Ballinacourty) for O’Sullivan (28 mins), C Walsh (The Nire) for Ó Cuirrín (48), C Gough (Stradbally) for Power (51), L Connolly (Rathgormack) for Daly (54), R O’Neill (Brickey Rangers) for Barron (57), C Kennedy (Kill) for J Beresford (59).
D Grogan (Tipperary).