Preview: Kerry V Clare Munster Semi Final
By: Diarmuid Kearney & Samuel Mansfield
Kerry and Clare will meet this Sunday at 3:30pm in the Semi Final of the Munster Senior Football Championship in Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney. Both sides have a notable history of facing each other at this stage of the Munster Senior Football Championship and on the 50th occasion the sides will face each other it proves to be another cracker.
Kerry have the vastly superior record in head to head against Sunday’s opponents, winning 46 of the previous 49 games. The Banner county have not beaten Kerry since 1992 with a 4 point win in that year's Munster Final, but have came close to toppling the Kingdom since, in 2014 they fell short to a 4 point defeat on a scoreline of 1-17 to 1-13 in Ennis and also had Kerry on the ropes when the sides played out another closely contested Semi Final in last year’s Munster Semi Final.
A very impressive first half display from Clare had rattled the Kingdom who were coming off the National League success over Dublin a couple of months prior to the Semi Final. Kerry eventually came out on top with James O’Donoghue making a notable difference, winning out in Ennis by 6 points on a scoreline of Kerry 1-18 Clare 1-12.
The Banner county are coming into this game looking strong after narrowly missing out division 2 promotion in the Allianz Leagues and an impressive 12 point victory in the Munster Quarter Final over Limerick in Ennis. Kieran Malone scored 1-3 in that game and is a player to look out for on Sunday. Kerry’s division one campaign was a little less successful with only 3 victories from 7 games meaning that Kerry have lost 4 of their last 5 competitive games. Kerry have not scored a goal in 5 and a half league games with Gavin Crowley's goal against Mayo in round 2, 3 minutes into the second half being their last.
We do however know that the championship season is as many describe 'a different kettle of fish' and the Kingdom do tend to step up to the plate in early June when their Munster campaign gets under way. The Kingdom are also of course raining Munster champions and are looking for their 6th title in a row in 2018. You have to go back to the 10th of June 2012 for the last time that Kerry lost a Munster championship semi-final as Cork ran out 5 point winners in the old Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The Rebel County will have a close eye on proceedings in Killarney on Sunday as they await the winners in the Munster Football Final after a convincing 11 point victory over Tipperary in Thurles last Saturday.
The venue for the 2018 Munster football final has been confirmed for the newly refurbished Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium on Saturday June 23rd at 7pm, a venue in which Kerry have not had to opportunity to visit as of yet.
It is sure to be an interesting test for both sides come Sunday, Clare are the fresher team going into Sunday’s Semi Final coming off the back of their quarter final win a fortnight ago, while Kerry have not featured in a game since their final Division 1 game of the year up in Tyrone back in March. Kerry will be missing some big names for Sundays clash as Johnny Buckley, Shane Enright, Donnchadh Walsh and Daithi Casey are all unavailable. One player looking to take like a duck to water in this year’s Munster Senior Football Championship panel will be David Clifford, the Fossa man had broken into the Senior ranks earlier on this year during the league campaign following his sensational season with the Minors last year. Clifford has managed 21 points in the 6 games he has featured for the Kingdom, along with that has also contributed to creating scoring chances for the players around him.
Both sides are expected to be announced on Friday at 9pm, with tickets for Sunday’s Semi Final available at all the usual outlets. Check us out on Social Media across which we will be covering every aspect of Sunday's game!
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