*Brian McNamara excelled at midfield for Clare. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
A BRAVE and resilient Clare fell just short of securing a Munster final showdown with Cork as Kerry needed extra-time to squeeze past the Banner in the U20 football championship.
Venue: Austin Stack Park, Tralee
By David Byrne
Michael Neylon’s Clare almost shocked the Munster champions with goals from Paul Frawley and Joe Rafferty inside 14 minutes, but the Kingdom’s experience eventually shone through, with Tomás Ó Sé’s side, boosted by an influential performance by William Shine, edging Clare by two points in the end.
After trailing by two points at half-time, Clare brought the game to extra-time thanks to a Frawley goal in the second half, his second of the game. Kerry will now meet Cork in the Munster final after the Rebels comfortably overcame Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh this evening.
Clare came into Monday’s game having overcome Tipperary in the quarter-final in Thurles last week, their first away win at this level since 2012.
Against a strong Clare defence, Kerry managed to kick over a mark in the second minute, but failed to add to their tally until William Shine scored his fist of 0-10 with 10 minutes on the clock.
Intent on keeping possession in the opening minutes, against the wind, Clare’s first shot on goal came in the seventh minute. However, Cillian McGroary could only watch on as his low effort drifted wide of the post.
Three minutes later, Clare took the lead, Paul Frawley ran on to a superb through ball from Cillian McCroary before the St Joseph’s Miltown corner forward coolly found the net to raise the green flag.
Kerry immediately upped the tempo and responded with a superb point when Killarney Legion full forward Shine slotted over for the Kingdom’s first point from play with 11 minutes gone on the clock.
Neylon’s charges got their second goal two minutes shy of the midway point of the opening 30 minutes when Banner joint-captain Joe Rafferty rose highest and took full of a high ball in from James Curran – a miskicked effort – to fist the ball over the head of Kerry ‘keeper Kieran Mackessy.
By the 26th minute Kerry were back on level terms when Ron Monahan pointed after some superb link up play with Thomas O’Donnell.
Two minutes later, Kerry took the lead for the second time when Shine kicked over an excellent point from out wide. Kerry took a two-point lead into half time, 0-08 to 2-00.
After the restart, Clare narrowed the deficit to one when Brendy Rouine kicked over a mark from close-range before Kerry opened up a two-point lead after Shine got the scoreboard yet again.
From here Kerry scored three without response to go five points ahead 10 minutes into the second half.
Clare scored a rare point from play just shy of the 45th minute with Cillian McGroary getting his first of two scores.
However, Kerry were four points ahead – 0-13 to 2-02 – midway through the second half, before Rouine and Curran made it a three-point game.
Clare were level a minute later when Frawley got his second goal of the evening after latching on to a pass from the in-from Rouine who had collected a well-taken catch from Sean McMahon.
Kerry went three points ahead once again and both sides exchanged points before McGroary made it a one-point game with two points to go with his second point of the game.
From here the sides were level twice more before substitute Tom Curran kicked over a free to level the sides in the third minute of time added on.
Clare got off to a flying start in the first period of extra time and Brian McNamara got his first point of the evening just 10 seconds after throw-in.
However, Kerry took a two-point lead into half time of extra-time – a lead they held until full time.
Clare were temporarily reduced to 14 when Eoghan Casey was shown a black card for a pull down on Cian McMahon.
From here Kerry opened up a five-point lead, but the hosts’ win wasn’t without scare as Brian McNamara found the back of the net in what was the last score of the game.
Scorers Kerry: Aaron O’Shea 0-3 (1 mark), William Shine 0-10 (5f), Rob Monahan 0-5 (1 ’45), Cian McMahon 0-1, Keith Evans 0-1,
Scorers Clare: Paul Frawley 2-0, Joe Rafferty 1-0, Brendy Rouine 0-4 (2f, 1 mark), Cillian McGroary 0-2, Tom Curran 0-2 (1f), Brian McNamara 1-1
1: Kieran Mackessy (Finuge)
2: Joey Nagle (Austin Stacks)
3: Andrew Moynihan (Rathmore)
4: Cian O’Donoghue (St Mary’s Cahersiveen)
5: Killian O’Sullivan (Glenflesk) (capt.)
6: Armin Heinrich (Austin Stack)
7: Paudie O’Leary (Gneeveguilla)
8: Killian Burke (Milltown/Castlemaine)
9: Caolán O’Connell (Castlegregory)
10: Rob Monahan (Ardfert)
11: Thomas O’Donnell (Castlegregory)
12: Keith Evans (Keel)
13: Cian McMahon (Dr Crokes)
14: William Shine (Killarney Legion)
15: Aaron O’Shea (Listry)
19: Cian Lynch (Glenflesk) for O’Connell (27)
18: Jack Clifford (St Michael’s-Foilmore) for O’Donnell (38)
20: Luke Crowley (Glenflesk) for O’Shea (44)
17: Dara O’Callaghan (Kilcummin) for Killian O’Sullivan (52)
21: Jordan Kissane (Austin Stacks) for McMahon (57)
23: Adam Segal (Ballyduff) for O’Leary (5 ET)
24: Rob Stack (Beale) for Burke (8 ET)
22: Cian Foley for Evans (18 ET)
1: Thomas Collins (Lissycasey)
2: Eoghan Casey (Wolfe Tones)
3: Fergal Guinnane (Kildysart)
4: Joshua Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
5: Liam Cotter Ennistymon)
6: Liam Culligan (Killimer)
7: Joshua Guyler (Ennistymon)
8: Brian McNamara. Cooraclare)
9: James Curran. (Doora Barefield)
10: Mikey Kelleher. (Killimer)
11: Cillian McGroary. (Corofin)
12: Brendy Rouine. (Ennistymon)
13: Paul Frawley. (St Joseph’s Miltown)
14: Joe Rafferty (Doora Barefield) (joint capt.)
15: Sean McMahon (The Banner)
18: Tom Curran. (Doora Barefield) for Rafferty (46)
20: Odhran Cunningham (Killimer) for Culligan (42)
24: Connor Meaney. (Lissycasey) for Kelleher (54)
21: Dylan O’Brien. (Kilrush Shamrock’s) for Cotter (58)
14: Joe Rafferty (Doora Barefield) for McMahon (13 ET)
22: Sean Neylon (St Joseph’s Miltown) for McGroary (13 ET)
19: Aaron Kelly (Wolfetones) for Curran (21 ET)
Referee: Jonathan Hayes (Limerick)