IT Tralee were rudderless without their star man, David Clifford. It was a savage blow for Tralee, as Clifford was having treatment on his hamstring in Currow at Kerry training centre. His team-mates rued his absence, as they missed two goal chances in the opening 20 minutes and three scorable frees.
IT Tralee manager Liam Brosnan was not making a major issue of Clifford’s absence, suggesting the player’s welfare was more important.
“He was missed and I suppose if David had been playing, he would have given us as bit of impetus, so we might not have been running our bench so early. David was a huge loss and we are very disappointed he could not play, but we understand his situation. That is why we took off Gavin Crowley at half-time, because we knew that the game was gone out of reach.
“Look we have to look after fellows as well, but DIT got two good goals before half-time and they deserved the win and our guys now know the level you must reach.”
DIT boss Billy O’Loughlin said: “I think coming down here we knew that David Clifford was not going to be playing and that was a big relief and they missed three early frees that did not help their cause. That unsettled Tralee and we went 0-5 to 0-2 in front and, maybe if Clifford was playing, it could have been different.
“Enda Flanagan from Cavan gave an exhibition from wingback and scored 2-1. It was a tough first half and we knew with Crowley going off at half-time it was a big boost for us and we took over from there, but we had to play without Brian Howard, because his priority is trying to nail down a place in the Dublin side, so it’s very tough on him and should not be happening, but we hope to have him back next week for the semi-final against UCC or Galway.”
DIT made the better start to this game and led 0-5 to 0-2, with Enda Flanagan, Cormac Howley and Seán Hurley kicking points, as Tralee struggled to find their range.
When Paul Clarke closed the gap to two points after 22 minutes, Tralee dared to dream, but just four minutes later Flanagan scored a cracking goal and, from the kick out, he finished a second to the Tralee net. A Glen O’Reilly point was tacked on to see DIT take a firm grip on proceedings, going in at the break 2-7 to 0-3 ahead.
IT Tralee withdrew Kerry player Gavin Crowley at half-time and DIT ran riot in the second half, with Shane Dempsey kicking five points and Andrew McGowan scoring a third goal. Daniel O’Keeffe scored a a late consolation goal for a disappointing home side.
E Flanagan (2-1), S Dempsey (0-5), A McGowan 1-1), S Hurley (0-3, 2 frees), G O’Reilly and C O’Reilly (0-2), C Howley, T Corcoran and C Loftus (0-1each)
D O’Keeffe (1-1), C O’Driscoll (0-4, 3 frees), P Clarke (0-1) D Spillane (0-1)
Lee Stacey (Dublin); Ronan Shanahan (Kerry), Brian Power (Meath) Andrew McGowan (Dublin); Enda Flanagan (Cavan), Rossa O’Brien (Wicklow), Bill Maher (Tipperary); Thomas Corcoran (Roscommon), Sean Hurley (Kildare); David McAllister (Monaghan), Conor Loftus (Mayo), Cormac Howley (Dublin); Glenn O’Reilly (Dublin), Shane Dempsey (Westmeath), Caoimhín O’Reilly (Cavan)
Callum Pearson (Dublin) for D McAllister (h/t), Killian O’Gara (Dublin) for G O’Reilly (42), Liam Hughes (Longford) for T Corcoran (50), Conor Madden (Cavan) for C O’Reilly (54), G O’Reilly for B Maher (60)
Conor Hurley (Kerry); Eoghan Marah (Wicklow), Cathal Kearney (Kerry) Brian Fitzgerald (Kerry); Jack Morgan (Kerry), Gavin Crowley (Kerry), David Spillane (Kerry); Shane Cronin (Kerry), George Bastible (Kerry); Aaron McCarthy (Kerry), Conor Lowney (Cork), Conor O’Driscoll (Cork); Sean Cournane (Kerry), Paul Clarke (Kerry), Darragh Kennedy (Limerick).
Daniel O’Keeffe (Cork) for G Crowley (h/t, Conchúir Lynch (Cork) for Kennedy (36), Donal Maher (Kerry) for Marah (43), Conor Smith (Cavan) for McCarthy (49), Mark Quigley (Kerry) for Cronin (49).
James Molloy (Galway)