Kerry cruised to a third successive Electric Ireland Munster MFC title with Conor Geaney producing a masterclass against Tipperary at Fitzgerald Stadium yesterday.
The Dingle corner-forward, cousin of seniors Paul and Michael, tormented the Premier County’s defensive cover and pilfered 1-5, 1-4 in open play.
His ninth-minute goal extended the advantage of Jack O’Connor’s men to 1-3 to 0-1 and Kerry never looked back.
Once Cormac Linnane, who departed injured before half-time, buried the Kingdom’s second goal on 14 minutes, the outcome looked inevitable.
Kerry were 2-4 to 0-3 in front despite the classy intermittent scoring interventions of Tipperary’s Brendan Martin and Aidan Buckley, who delivered 0-2 in the opening quarter.
Buckley roamed menacingly in the half-forward line but was then switched to full-forward.
But the revised tactic robbed Tipperary of a physical presence in a more critical sector given they never truly implemented the long-ball game thereafter.
Buckley did register a 57th goal, rifling a low shot under the body of Billy Courtney.
But it was essentially a consolation as Kerry still led 2-13 to 1-10.
Alan Tynan, nailing his second free — he hit 0-3 overall — reduced the margin to five points.
Still, Geaney curled over a sumptuous score in the dying moments, securing a six-point triumph for the defending All-Ireland champions.
Kerry oozed class all over the field with Michael Foley the perfect foil for Geaney.
The full-forward kicked two wonderful points, both in the first-half, including the opening score of the contest in the second minute.
Martin responded for Tipperary but Seán O’Shea and Geaney pushed Kerry two clear prior to the latter rocking the net.
Geaney complemented the spade-work of Mark O’Connor, Foley and Stephen O’Sullivan with a clinical finish and suddenly the Kingdom were five points to the good.
Buckley’s first-half scores bookended a Linnane free, but Kerry hit 1-3 without reply in five minutes midway through the opening spell.
Linnane, receiving an intelligent pass from Geaney, blasted the ball high up into the roof of goalkeeper Charlie Manton’s net.
Scores from Foley and Jack Morgan followed and Tipperary were in real trouble, trailing 2-6 to 0-3.
O’Connor’s much-vaunted unit operated in third gear for the majority of the tie and had engineered an eight-point half-time lead, 2-8 to 0-6.
And by the time Geaney fired over on 45 minutes the three-in-a-row chasers were 2-12 to 0-7 ahead.
Tipperary failed to score for 14 minutes in the second half and even though Jack Kennedy and Danny Owens fought valiantly for them, Kerry’s craft was decisive.
Scorers for Kerry:
C Geaney (1-5, 1 free); C Linnane (1-1, 1 free); M Foley, S O’Shea (1 free) (0-2 each); J Morgan, G White, B Sweeney, S O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Tipperary:
A Buckley (1-2); A Tynan (0-3, 2 frees); B Martin, J Kennedy (1 free) (0-2 each); M Kehoe, D Owens (0-1 each).
B Courtney (Dr Crokes); D Brosnan (Gneeveguilla), J Foley (Ballydonoghue), J Morgan (Austin Stacks); G White (Dr Crokes), M Breen (Beaufort), D O’Brien (Glenflesk); M O’Connor, capt (Dingle), A Barry (Na Gaeil); B Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue), C Linnane (Beale), S O’Shea (Kenmare); S O’Sullivan (Templenoe), M Foley (Spa), C Geaney (Dingle).
B Sweeney (Listowel Emmets) for Linnane (inj, 30), R Buckley (Listry) for Ó Seanacháin (41), D O’Shea (Kenmare) for Breen (50), B Barrett (Ardfert) for S O’Shea (55), J Goulding (Ballyduff) for O’Sullivan (55), T L O’Sullivan (Dingle) for Morgan (58).
C Manton (Fethard); T Fitzgerald (Moyle Rovers), M Irwin (Moyle Rovers), T Lowry (Arravale Rovers); L Fahy (Rockwell Rovers), D Owens, capt (Moyle Rovers), J Skehan; J Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), T Nolan (Drom & Inch); A Buckley (St Patrick’s), B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), E Maloney (Drom & Inch); S Power (Galtee Rovers), A Tynan (Inane Rovers), B Martin (Kilsheelan Kilcash).
G Whelan (Ardfinnan) for Lowry (18), J Bergin (inj, Drom & Inch) for E Moloney (24), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan Kilcash) for Fahy, Ross Peters (Clonmel Commericals) for Power (45) J Moloney (JK Brackens) for Skehan (54), J Delahunty (Newport) for Irwin (60+2).
Kevin Murphy (Cork).
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