Kingdom come good against Limerick

Kerry 0-12 Limerick 0-10

Kerry 0-12 Limerick 0-10

A run of four successful frees from corner forward Mike Frank Russell immediately after the interval, saw Kerry edge past Limerick 0-12 to 0-10 at the Gaelic Grounds.

This was despite losing influential midfielder Darragh Ó Sé to a straight red card decision in the closing minutes of the first half.

The Kingdom will have to await their chosen opposition in the 2004 final of the Allianz NFL Division One, but having opened up impressively into a 0-3 to no score lead after seven minutes, the 2003 Munster champions failed to pull away from a determined Limerick challenge, led by top scoring forwards Muiris Gavin and Eoin Keating.

Scores from Declan O’Sullivan, Russell (free) and Colm Cooper saw Kerry in the ascendancy in the first quarter.

A brilliantly judged ’45 from Gavin opened the Limerick scoring into a stiff breeze on 13 minutes, but it was 13 minutes later before Gavin claimed the Shannonsiders, with a 35-metre right-sided free from his hands.

Playing in fits and starts, Kerry had grasped a 0-5 to 0-1 lead with efforts from Russell and Eoin Brosnan, but Limerick rallied, with two Gavin efforts.

The controversial sending off of Ó Sé helped their cause, as the big midfielder was sent to the line for an elbow on opposite number John Galvin on 31 minutes.

Keating put just one between the sides on 34 minutes, and a stoppage time effort from Gavin, off the ground, saw the sides level at 0-5 apiece at the break.

By the 40th minute, Russell had begun to get into the scoring groove with two quick fire frees to open up a two-point gap.

Limerick’s Johnny Murphy traded points with Cooper at 0-8 to 0-6 but another brace of placed balls from Russell ran Kerry up to 10 points by the 45th minute.

Limerick, to their credit, never waned in their effort as the rain began to fall. Gavin closed what was a four-point gap back down to two with frees on 49 and 53 minutes.

Keating and Murphy combined to level the scores at 0-10 apiece with 17 minutes remaining.

Kerry pushed back in front with a towering effort from Castleisland forward Eoin Brosnan from the right wing on 62 minutes, and Ronan O’Connor’s first of the afternoon.

Gavin went left and wide with what seemed to be an easy straight on free in the stoppage time, and with Derek Murphy commanding the Kerry rearguard, time ran out for a Limerick goal.

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