They may have won the second half but it wasn’t enough for Clare to prevail against Kerry in the semi-final of the Munster senior football championship.
Venue: Cusack Park
While Clare outscored Kerry nine points to six in the second half it was not enough to cause an upset as the expected result of a Kingdom victory occurred. It may have been June 1st but the weather appeared to suggest otherwise as a constant downpour accompanied proceedings
When it comes to causing upsets, perfection or as near to it as possible is required by the perceived challenger. In this case, far from perfection was produced by Clare as they aimed to record their first senior championship win over Kerry since 1992.
Clare’s standout flaw of going large spells without a score continued in the first half on Saturday. It would take seventeen minutes for their first successful effort, that coming via David Tubridy. Prior to that, they missed four scoreable opportunities and would let another three chances go by in the subsequent ten minutes. Against such quality opposition, every single attempt has to be taken and ultimately they did not make the most of their lot in the first half.
A Kerry goal looked to be a long time coming and it duly arrived on thirty two minutes via the boot of James O’Donoghue. Earlier, Conall Ó hÁiniféin made a goal-line save while Cian O’Dea was called upon to make a vital block on David Clifford near the half-time whistle, the rebounded shot was expertly kicked over the bar by O’Donoghue. Paul Geaney missed the target on fifteen minutes, a few more inches and Peter Keane’s side would have had two goals on the board by half-time.
Two scores in succession saw the visitors pick up from where they left off as the second half commenced as Sean O’Shea and David Clifford both converted frees. Eoin Cleary opened Clare’s account with a placed ball on thirty nine minutes but once again, the Kingdom would add two points on the trot.
Corofin’s Jamie Malone with a well-timed pass found Cathal O’Connor who pointed to reduce the deficit to eight points on fifty minutes. This positive move set the tone for what would be a strong finish from Colm Collins’ side. Cleary and substitute Micheál Burns swapped scores before a Banner brace of five points followed with three white flags from Malone and one each from Cleary and David Tubridy, their fightback was assisted by the dismissal of substitute Mark Griffin for a second bookable offence.
A heavy collision between Sean O’Shea and Kevin Harnett resulted in O’Shea having to walk from the field injured and Harnett via a stretcher in a neck brace with the game paused for ten minutes.
When play resumed Clare picked up from where they left off and continued to increase Kerry’s stress levels. Corner back Jason Foley would add a point to stem a growingly Banner who added the final score from Cleary.
Kerry’s toughest test of the provincial series ultimately comes from themselves. They are a level above all other competitors in this competition and cannot let complacent drift into their game, they may not have been guilty of it on this instance but they let their opponents dominate the second half which will prove fatal should it occur against stronger opposition. Tadhg Morley, James O’Donoghue and Jason Foley were most impressive for the winners.
Playing in Division 2 has improved Clare’s senior football team but it is playing against teams such as Kerry when the gap between where they are at and where they need to be becomes obvious. Their speed of striking, movement and turning defences into attack could not match Kerry and this was typified when a Tadhg Morley dispossessed Gavin Cooney and launched an attack from their full-back line which resulted in a score from Micheál Burns.
This was an improved outing from Clare on their quarter-final with Jamie Malone, David Tubridy and their full-back line doing best.
Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-5 (5fs), James O’Donoghue 1-1, David Clifford 0-3 (1f), Adrian Spillane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Paul Geaney, Micheal Burns, and David Moran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Eoin Cleary 0-5 (3fs), Jamie Malone and David Tubridy (1f) 0-3 each, Cathal O’Connor 0-1.
Shane Ryan (Rathmore)
Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)
Shane Enright (Tarbert)
Jack Sherwood (Firies)
Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)
Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)
David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)
Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)
David Clifford (Fossa)
Paul Geaney (Dingle)
James O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion).
Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore) for Moran (17) (Black Card)
Gavin White (Dr Crokes) for Sherwood (HT)
Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for O’Brien (44)
Robert Wharton (Renard) for Crowley (49)
Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys) for O’Donoghue (52) (Inj)
Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion) for O’Shea (71) (Inj)
Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)
Kevin Harnett (Meelick)
Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)
Gordon Kelly (St Josephs Miltown)
Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora)
Sean Collins (Cratloe)
Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg)
Conall Ó hÁiniféin (Éire Óg)
Sean O’Donoghue (Cooraclare)
Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)
Eoin Cleary (St Josephs Miltown)
Gary Brennan (Clondegad)
Jamie Malone (Corofin)
David Tubridy (Doonbeg)
Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)
Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg) for Bohannon (HT)
Dean Ryan (Na Fianna) for Ó hÁiniféin (41) (Black Card)
Kieran Malone (St Josephs Miltown) for O’Donoghue (49)
Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis) for S Collins (52)
Cormac Murray (St Josephs Miltown) for C Brennan (60)
Alan Sweeney (St Breckans) for Harnett (80) (Inj)
Referee: James Molloy (Galway)