Kerry were pushed all the way by a determined Tipperary side in an absorbing Munster JFC quarter-final clash at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on Saturday.
Tipp stormed out of the blocks thanks to points from Benny Hickey and Damien O’Brien before the Kingdom eased early nerves with a well-taken Conor Cox effort.
Hickey added a third point on sixth minutes before Kerry took command, Conor Cox, Mike O’Donoghue and Niall O’Mahoney points coupled with a Niall Ó Sé goal fired Kerry six clear.
Tipp finally found their scoring touch in the closing stages of the half with Damien O’Brien sweeping over a close-range effort on the cusp of half-time but Kerry responded with injury time points from Walsh and Cox to take a 1-8 to 0-4 lead at the break.
Tipp started the second half brighter, Damien O’Brien netting in the 36th minute. Benny Hickey brought Tipp into contention.
Tipp narrowed the gap to two by the 47th minute but a James Walsh effort coupled with a 57th minute Conor Cox free set Kerry on course for victory. Tipp fired late points from Hickey but Kerry held on to record a slender win.
Scorers for Kerry: C Cox 0-6 (3fs), N Ó Sé 1-0, N O’Mahoney, J Walsh 0-2; M O’Donoghue 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: D O’Brien 1-3 (2fs), B Hickey 0-4, D O’Regan, B Hewitt 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: J English; P Hally, R Power, G Mulhaire; T Hanley, R Murphy, M O’Sullivan; M Dunne, E Ryan; B Hickey, A Walsh, B Quinn; D O’Regan, G Ryan, D O’Brien. Subs: D Buckley for Hally (26), B Hewitt for Murphy (40), J McGrath for Quinn (57), M Dillon for O’Regan (60).
KERRY: S Óg Ó Ciaruabháin; K Quirke, B O’Mahoney, K O’Dwyer; E Hickson, J Walsh, J Sherwood; A Garnett, G O’Driscoll; N O’Mahoney, N, O’Shea, A O’Sullivan; D O’Callaghan, M O’Donoghue, C Cox. Subs: P Corridan for O’Driscoll (44), M Brennan for O’Sullivan (50), P Boyle for O’Donoghue (53), C Moriarty for O’Mahoney (58).
Referee: M Condon (Waterford).
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