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Munster Senior Football Championship Semi Final   11/06/2017

Munster Senior Football Championship Semi Final

Kerry 1-18     Clare 1-12

By Sam Mansfield and Diarmuid Kearney.

Fourteen man Kerry, who started with Jack Barry replacing the injured David Moran, booked a Munster final meeting with Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on July 2nd when coming from behind to defeat Clare in Cusack Park Ennis this afternoon.

Clare started the better of the sides setting the pace early on as a beautiful curling point by David Tubridy had them ahead in the first minute. Clare looked the sharper of the two early on as a further two scores by Tubridy and Eoin Cleary had them ahead by 3 with 7 minutes played. Kerry wouldn't get their first score until the 10th minute as Paul Geaney found a gap and got his first of the afternoon, Kerry managed to claw back Clare's narrow lead and on the 13-minute mark James O Donoghue pointed from a Free.

Clare looked steady one point ahead and with 16 minutes gone, Clare were awarded a penalty after Donnchadh Walsh was deemed to have fouled Keelan Sexton and David Tubridy dispatched the spot kick past Brian Kelly. Clare were dominant now and the underdog looked the favourite as Jamie Malone pointed to extend the lead to 5 points. By the 20th minute Kerry were looking down and out but two great scores by James O’Donoghue and a free by Paul Geaney had the deficit reduced by 2. Kerry were reduced to 14 men late on in the half after Donnchadh Walsh was shown a second yellow for a high challenge. A further 2 points by James O’Donoghue and another free from Paul Geaney had Kerry in-front by 1 but a determined Clare team pulled it level just before the half time whistle sounded through Ciaran Russel and the sides were level at the break;  Clare 1-5 Kerry 0-8.

Clare started the second half like the first and they meant business early on and pulled into a 2-point lead through points from Eoin Cleary and Cathal O’Connor. Kerry brought on Stephen O’Brien at half time and he made an early impact with a score within 3 minutes of being on the field but Cleary again cancelled out the effort sending the banner supporters  into a frenzy. The current Munster Champions were looking like a side who hadn't played in 9 weeks but were resilient and kept at it together and within minutes cousins Paul and Michael Geaney had the sides level once more. A player we previewed mid-week was former All Star James O’Donoghue and he had a phenomenal game as he hit a Maurice Fitzgerald esque point to put the Kingdom ahead by one, no doubt the current Kerry selector had a smile at that one.

Kerry started to look like reigning champions despite being a man down as first two beautiful scores by O'Donoghue and then a point from Maher gave Kerry a 4-point lead with 52 minutes played. Clare were not looking to be beaten in their home turf as two scores from Tubridy and Cleary reduced the lead to 2 points before that man James O’Donoghue put over another free to settle some nerves going into the final 5 minutes. Kerry opted to bring on the experienced heads of Kieran Donaghy and Bryan Sheehan to try and add something to the game and within seconds of coming on Sheehan put over a beautiful free as Kerry led by 4. After a missed ‘45 from Cleary, Kerry were bombarding the Clare defence and a beautiful mazy run by Stephen O’Brien, first dinking right then left, and calmly slotted past Joe Hayes to raise the green flag. Kerry looked comfortable and a Shane Enright point just as the clock struck red looked to see them home. Clare fought back late and 2 late scores by Eoin Cleary reduced to lead to 6 points but it was not enough on the day as Kerry march on to play old foe Cork in the Munster Final, full time in Ennis and the final score, Kerry 1-18 Clare 1-12


Kerry: J, O’Donoghue (0-09), P,Geaney (0-04), S O’Brien (1-01), A, Maher, B, Sheehan, M, Geaney, S, Enright (0-01)

Clare: D, Tubridy (1-03), E ,Cleary (0-06) J, Malone C, Russell ,C, O Connor (0-01)

Teams: Kerry: 

B, Kelly, F. Fitzgerald (C), M.Griffin, S. Enright, P. Crowley, T. Morley, P. Murphy, J. Barry, A.Maher, M. Geaney, K. McCarthy, D. Walsh, BJ. Keane, P. Geaney, J. O’Donoghue

Subs: B. Sheehan for J.Barry, J.Lyne for M. Geaney, J. Savage for K. McCarthy, S. O’Brien for BJ. Keane, J. Buckley for P. Geaney, K. Donaghy for A. Maher

Clare: J.Hayes, D.Ryan, K.Harnett, M.McMahon, P.Lillis, G.Kelly, C.Russell, G.Brennan (C), C.O’Connor, J.Malone, S.Collins, S.Brennan, E.Cleary, D.Tubridy, K.Sexton