Electric Ireland Munster Minor Football Semi-Final
Tipperary 0-7 Kerry 2-18
A seventeen points drubbing by Kerry was rough justice for Tipperary’s minor footballers in the Munster semi-final at Semple Stadium, last Wednesday evening but there was no disputing the superiority of a very impressive Kingdom outfit who set their stamp on the contest from the word go.
Having appeared in the last four finals, Tipperary were more hopeful than confident of stopping the holders, but by the end of the first quarter it was apparent that those hopes were forlorn. By that time Kerry were ahead 2-2 to 0-2 and might well have had two further goals, all this despite playing into a stiff breeze.
Kerry’s Mark O Connor was a towering figure at midfield, and with their forwards enjoying a quality service, the Tipp defence was stretched to the limit. Inside thirty seconds Kerry were a goal up as Tom O Shea finished to the net after Matthew Flaherty’s effort was parried.
In the fourth minute Tipp goalie Jack Brady’s brave advance denied Jordan Kiely a goal. Paul Maher had a goal chance for Tipp saved by Kerry custodian Shane Ryan and points from Willie Connors and Alan Tynan suggested Tipperary were settling.
Not so. After Killian Spillane, son of Kerry legend Tom, pointed, Jordan Kiely applied the finishing touch for a Kerry goal after Miceal Burns waltzed through the Tipp defence in the 10th minute. Spillane added another Kerry point and corner forward O Shea almost had a second goal but his effort was turned out for a forty five by Brady.
Tipperary were struggling big-time. They were out-thought, out-fielded and out-run by their opponents and indicative of the pressure they were under was the number of their own kick-outs which they lost. By half-time Tipperary were adrift 0-4 to 2-3, and while the game was by no means beyond them, it was going to take a huge effort to turn things around.
No one could fault the Tipp boys for their second half effort but the truth is they were never really in the hunt as Kerry outscored them by fifteen points to three to clinch their place in the final long before referee Kevin Murphy of Cork blew the final whistle.
It was a disappointing outcome to the campaign and Tipperary’s poorest showing for some time. The involvement of eight players in both hurling and football panels did not help preparations and it could well be that the county fell between the two stools with both hurling and football teams bowing tamely out of the championship.
That said, it will take a very good side to stop this Kerry team which appears to tick all the boxes in terms of winning championships, and which, in Killian Spillane, son of former great, Tom, have a class act leading the attack. He scored ten of their points, five from play, and is certainly a player with a very bright future.
Tipperary needed to get off on the right foot but being hit by a goal inside a minute and a second goal in the 10th minute sapped confidence and left them chasing the game against a very talented side who went from strength to strength as the hour progressed.
Hard-won possession was turned over too easily as Tipperary struggled to cope with the pace and flair of the Kerry game. Indeed, Kerry might have had two more goals in the second half but for the excellence of Jack Brady in the Tipperary goal.
Tipperary will find few crumbs of comfort in the performance. Even allowing for the quality of the Kerry combination, too many of the Tipperary lads failed to do themselves justice and they can have no complaint about the result.
It says a lot when Tipperary goalkeeper Jack Brady was the side’s top performer and he stood between the Premier County boys and an even heavier defeat. Shortcomings outfield put the defence under a lot of pressure, but even in the man-to-man tussles, Kerry held the aces despite the hard work of Liam Fahy, and Willie Connors. Jack Kennedy put in a solid shift in attack with Stephen Quirke, Colm O Shaughnessy, Paul Maher, and Padraig White, others to battle hard.
Spillane was the star of the Kerrys side, kicking ten points, five from frees, and showing some delightful touches all through. Mark O Connor, Jordan Kiely, Miceal Burns, Andrew Barry and Tom O Sullivan were others to catch the eye.
Kerry – S Ryan (0-1,f); J Morgan, B Begley, T O Sullivan; D O Donoghue, A Barry, B Sugrue; B O Sullivan, M O Connor; M Flaherty (0-2), B Rayle (0-1), M Burns (0-1); J Kiely (1-0), K Spillane (0-10, 5fs), T O Se (1-1). Subs- C Coffey (0-1) for O Donoghue; S O Sullivan (0-1) for Burns; S Cronin for Sugrue; L Kearney for O Connor; P Clifford for Kiely; J Foley for Begley.
Tipperary – J Brady (Ballina); D Owens (Moyle Rovers), P Murphy (Ballylooby-Castlegrace), C O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan); W Connors (0-1, Kildangan), L Fahy (Rockwell R), J Skehan (Holycross-Ballycahill); T Nolan (0-1, Drom-Inch), S Quirke (Moyle Rovers); E Maloney (Drom), P White (0-1, Commercials), A Tynan,0-1, Inane Rovers); J Bergin (0-1, Drom), J Kennedy (0-1, Commercials), P Maher (0-1, Kilsheelan). Subs - R Peters (St Mary’s) for Bergin; C O’Mahoney (St Patrick’s) for Skehan; T Lowry (Arravale R) for Murphy; D McGrath (Galtee R) for Quirke; P Gavin (Holycross) for Maloney: J Delahunty (Newport) for White.
Ref - K Murphy (Cork).
Attendance - 816.