Limerick’s Adare gave a good account of themselves, but had to bow the knee to a slick Kerry outfit. Up front, in particular, Kenmare showed their class, with their full- forward line of Sean O’Shea, Paul O’Connor, and Stephen O’Brien helping themselves to the vast majority of the scores. O’Shea, O’Connor and O’Brien would grace any senior club team, and at a grade below that were nigh on irresistible.
Adare donned the green of Limerick and defended the clubhouse end in the first half, opening with a first-minute free from Hugh Bourke. The same man added another point from a similar position two minutes later and Adare looked to have settled to their task.
Kenmare opened with a Paul O’Connor point and soon got into their groove, however, opening Adare up at will. They came close twice before midfielder David Hallissey forced a good save from Adare keeper Brendan Carmody, but Sean O’Shea pointed the rebound. Captain Stephen O’Brien followed suit, curling over a good point on seven minutes to put Kenmare ahead.
Adare pulled Bourke and Mikey Lyons outfield in those early stages, but that proved counter-productive for the men in green. The strategy left Tommy O’Sullivan spare at the back for Kenmare and his fine covering made it hard for Adare to make headway up front.
Adare were forced to play laterally and, when their passing broke down or was turned over, they were immediately punished by the fast-breaking Kerrymen, who had those potent targets in their full-forward line. O’Connor hit two fine points and O’Shea added an even better one to push Kenmare 0-6 to 0-2 up with 12 minutes gone.
On a rare foray upfield, Adare’s Mark Connolly managed to outwit two Kenmare defenders to hit a point, but the Kerry champions were dominant, Stephen O’Brien responding instantly with another point.
Patrick O’Shea (free) and Sean O’Shea chipped in with more points before another Bourke free kept Adare in touch.
Kenmare’s response was definitive, ending the game as a contest. Firstly, came a long, mazy Stephen O’Brien run out of his own defence which ended with a point from distance. The resulting short kick-out was well read by Sean O’Shea, who intercepted well before hitting the back of the net on 24 minutes.
Bourke, Adare’s best forward, hit back with a good effort from play, before Sean O’Shea responded to leave it 1-11 to 0-5 at half-time, with a long 30 minutes in store for the Adare support.
Kenmare didn’t dawdle in stamping their authority on the second half, either. O’Brien hit two points and O’Connor added a free before another O’Shea point made it 1-15 to 0-5 before the 40th minute.
Adare midfielder Jack English hit a fine point to keep the Limerick flag flying, but it was their only score of the third quarter.
That early fusillade from Kenmare drained much of the competitive edge out of the second half, though Adare did add another Bourke free with 10 minutes left.
The same player took a quick free to Mark Connolly with seven minutes to go, and Connolly did well to goal. Adare added a Paul Maher point to give some cheer to their supporters, but it was too late, as was a straight red card for Kenmare sub Denis Cronin with five minutes left.
Granted, wing-back Diarmaid Sexton blazed a goal chance wide with four minutes on the clock, but Kenmare still had time for O’Brien to hit two more points, as well as late, late contributions from substitutes Colm and Brian O’Sullivan.
H. Bourke (0-4 frees, 0-5); M. Connolly (1-1); J. English, P. Maher (0-1 each).
S. O’Shea (1-5); S. O’Brien (0-7); P. O’Connor (0-2 frees, 0-5); P. O’Shea (free), C. O’Sullivan, B. O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
B. Carmody, O. Collins, A. O’Connell, N. Mulvihill, S. Doherty (c), D. Connolly, D. Sexton, J. Lohan, J. English, E. Ryan, H. Bourke, D. Lyons, M. Lyons, S. Costello, M. Connolly.
R. Bourke for E. Ryan (HT); C. McCarthy for Lyons (32); P. Maher for N. Mulvihill (47); E. Costello for Collins (51); B. Supple for Lohan (56).
K. Fitzgibbon, Stephen O’Shea, T. O’Sullivan, D. Crowley, S. O’Sullivan, D. O’Shea, M. Crowley, J. M. Foley, D. Hallissey, P. O’Shea, S. O’Leary, K. O’Sullivan, Sean O’Shea, P. O’Connor, S. O’Brien (c).
A. O’Leary for K. O’Sullivan (black card, 30); D. O’Connor for P. O’Shea (37); S. Dalton and D. Cronin for J. M. Foley and M. Crowley (both 46); C. O’Sullivan for Hallissey (50); J. Fitzgibbon for S. Costello (54); B. O’Sullivan for Sean O’Shea (56).
A. Kissane (Waterford).