Kerry 0-17 Tipperary 1-05
Reigning champions Kerry coasted into the Munster SFC final as they were untroubled by Tipperary in a 0-17 to 1-05 triumph in Killarney this afternoon.
Opening up into a 0-06 to no score lead after 20 minutes, Kerry looked in a mean mood with Bryan Sheehan, who finished with 0-07 (7f)), on target three times.
However centre back Robbie Costigan's 21st-minute goal kept Tipp very much in the hunt as they were only 1-03 to 0-08 in arrears at the interval.
Kerry went on another scoring spree with a seven-point burst in the second half, easing them through to a July 9 tussle with arch rivals Cork. Moyle Rovers talisman Declan Browne finished as Tipp's top scorer with 0-05 (3f).
Three Sheehan frees allied to overs from Kieran Donaghy, Paul Galvin and Tomas O'Se saw the Kingdom gallop into their six-point lead at Fitzgerald Stadium. Having not beaten Kerry in the championship since 1928, it was the worst possible start for Tipp.
But gradually they came into the game, and with Kerry's forward sextet struggling – only Galvin pointed from play in the opening half – the Premier county were surprisingly within two points by half-time.
A neat set-up by Damien O'Brien put Costigan, who started in place of the injured Liam England, through for a superb goal finish past Kerry net minder Diarmuid Murphy.
Three points from the boot of full-forward Browne – two from play – gave Tipp a two-point deficit to overhaul for the second half.
The former All-Star kicked a free on the restart to cut the gap to a single point, but Kerry's greater strength in depth shone through. If Tipp had a few more Brownes on the pitch, it might have been a different story.
Now under pressure for the first time, Kerry upped the gears as two Sheehan frees, a point from skipper Declan O'Sullivan, one from substitute Mike Frank Russell and a free from Colm Cooper, who scored 1-05 when the sides met last year, sent them 0-13 to 1-04 clear.
As the game ran away from Tipp's grasp, Kingdom defenders Aidan O'Mahony and Seamus Moynihan sallied up for points, Donaghy and substitute Eamonn Fitzmaurice were also on target. Browne notched Tipp’s only other point from a 62nd-minute free.
The afternoon ended on a sour note for Tipp, the reigning Tommy Murphy Cup champions, when former Kildare player Brian Lacey was sent off for his second bookable offence.
KERRY: D Murphy; A O'Mahony (0-01), M O'Se, T O'Sullivan; T O'Se (0-01), S Moynihan (0-01), M Lyons; D O'Se, K Donaghy (0-02); Declan O'Sullivan (capt) (0-01), E Brosnan, P Galvin (0-01); Darren O'Sullivan, B Sheehan (0-07 (7f)), C Cooper (0-01 (1f)).
Subs used: MF Russell (0-01) for Darren O'Sullivan, E Fitzmaurice (0-01) for Galvin, R O'Connor for Brosnan, T Griffin for Donaghy, K Young for T O'Sullivan.
TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; M Phelan (capt), P King, A Morrissey; M Peters, R Costigan (1-00), C Maher; E Hanrahan, K Mulryan; P Austin, D O'Brien, B Lacey; B Mulvihill, D Browne (0-05 (3f)), B Hickey.
Subs used: N Fitzgerald for Hickey, A Fitzgerald for Hanrahan, G Hannigan for Mulryan.
Referee: Michael Daly (Mayo)