Kerry 2-16 Tipperary 0-11
14-man Kerry laboured to their opening win of this summer’s Championship, as they got the better of a game Tipperary side in Killarney.
Two second half goals from Bryan Sheehan - the first of them a penalty - put a gloss on what was a laboured performance from Jack O'Connor's men.
The main talking point from the match was the 35th-minute sending-off of Kerry wing back Tomas O Se. A linesman drew referee Maurice Condon's attention to an off-the-ball incident involving O Se and Tipperary's Hugh Coghlan on the stand side.
The match officials discussed what went on and O Se was then dismissed for striking. The red card led to O'Connor having words with the referee at half-time, with O Se now facing a likely ban.
With George Hannigan and Brian Jones performing well in midfield, Tipp were keeping pace with the hosts early on. Points from Conor Sweeney, Brian Fox, Barry Grogan and Philip Austin had them level at 0-04 apiece.
But Kerry, with Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper on captaincy duty, pulled ahead in the lead-up to half-time despite losing Seamus Scanlon to a shoulder injury and having O Se sent-off.
Scanlon started in place of Anthony Maher, partnering Sheehan in centre-field. Steadying themselves, points from Cooper (0-03) and Darran O’Sullivan (0-02) made it 0-09 to 0-05 to the Kingdom at the break.
Three minutes into the second half, Sheehan beat Tipp goalkeeper Matthew O’Donnell with a well-placed penalty following a foul on Kieran Donaghy. Sheehan added a free just moments later, putting some distance between the sides at 1-10 to 0-05.
The Premier County side had a goal from Grogan disallowed for a square ball while they were 1-13 to 0-10 in arrears. Grogan, Sweeney and substitute Brian Mulvihill had tagged on points.
Tipp missed a second goal-scoring opportunity in quick succession. With 63 minutes on the clock, centre-forward Austin watched his shot bounce back off the foot of the post.
Nonetheless, it was Kerry’s greater firepower which got them through this opening test. Donncha Walsh, who was the pick of the Kerry forwards, and Declan O’Sullivan were particularly impressive in the second half and Sheehan’s injury-time effort put the seal on the victory.
O'Connor's charges advance to meet a John Galvin-less Limerick on Saturday, June 4 in what will be a repeat of last year's Munster final.
KERRY: B Kealy; K Young, M Ó Sé, T O'Sullivan; T Ó Sé, E Brosnan (0-01), A O'Mahony (0-01); S Scanlon, B Sheehan (2-01, 1-00pen, 0-01f); Darran O'Sullivan (0-03), Declan O'Sullivan (0-03), D Walsh (0-01); C Cooper (0-05, 0-02f), K Donaghy, K O'Leary (0-01).
Subs used: M Quirke for Scanlon (26 mins), P Galvin for O'Leary (53), BJ Keane for Darran O'Sullivan (60), D Bohan for O'Mahony, S Enright for T O'Sullivan (both 63), A O'Connell for Brosnan (69).
TIPPERARY: M O'Donnell; A Morrissey, P Codd, C McDonald; C Dillon, L Egan, C Aylward; G Hannigan (0-01), B Jones; B Fox (0-01), P Austin (0-02), H Coghlan; C Sweeney (0-02, 0-01f), S Grogan, B Grogan (0-03, 0-02f).
Subs used: B Mulvihill (0-01) for S Grogan (43 mins), P Acheson (0-01) for Sweeney (56), J Cagney for Jones (66), S Hahessy for Austin (70).
Referee: Maurice Condon (Waterford).