WHEN star man David Clifford collected a pass from Dara Moynihan, turned swiftly and rifled it to the net from distance, six minutes into the second half of last night’s Kerry SFC decider, there was always only going to be one outcome.
Although they battled tenaciously and were doing quite well both defensively and around the middle third, it was very obvious early on that Mid Kerry were not clicking in attack.
Clever build-up play came to nothing due to a real lack of penetration and Peter O’Sullivan’s charges resorted to hesitantly kicking from distance and several opportunities sailed harmlessly wide.
Much of the credit for that inaccuracy must go to the gritty East Kerry defence who totally swarmed their opponents in the danger zone and choked the life out of attack after attack before delivering possession to their own forward line which was as resourceful as expected.
From the very early stages, East Kerry controlled the pace and shape of the final but it was a glorious 10-minute spell in the third quarter that turned dominance into a 2-15 to 0-9 victory.
Mid Kerry were left reeling as, almost faster than it takes to tell, Jerry O’Sullivan’s well-drilled outfit turned a two-point half-time lead into an emphatic 10-point advantage.
David Clifford’s delightful goal, from his allegedly weaker right peg, cut the stage curtains loose and Glenflesk hotshot Darragh Roche brought them down on Mid Kerry’s title aspirations with a sweetly struck second goal after being well placed by Paudie Clifford.
Man-of-the-match David finished the game with a personal haul of 1-4 but Roche wasn’t far behind and he had 1-3 pencilled in beside his name on the match programme.
The two goals knocked the stuffing out of Mid Kerry’s challenge and the fact that East Kerry outscored them by 2-6 to 0-2 in the second half sums it up.
To be fair to Mid Kerry, their dangerman and championship top scorer Gavan O’Grady was reportedly carrying a heavy knock going into the game and hadn’t been able to train but the management team reckoned, in their wisdom, that they couldn’t afford not to start him even though he was clearly off form. Without O’Grady pulling the strings, they looked a little lost for ideas.
East Kerry will deservedly celebrate before turning their thoughts to a very likely three-in-a-row but despite this disappointing reverse, Mid Kerry will take great consolation from a great run in this year’s campaign and the fact that the vast majority of their very young squad will be back for another pop at it next season.
One statistic worth pondering: East Kerry’s margin of victory was 12 points. Mid Kerry kicked 12 wides, eight in the first half when they were well in the game.
East Kerry scorers: David Clifford 1-4; Darragh Roche 1-3 (0-1 free); Evan Cronin 0-3; Dara Moynihan 0-2; Ronan Buckley 0-2; Brian O’Donoghue 0-1.
Mid Kerry scorers: Liam Carey 0-7 (0-3 frees); Ciaran Kennedy 0-1 (free); Gavan O’Grady 0-1.
East Kerry: Shane Ryan (Rathmore), Chris O’Donoghue (Glenfesk), Jack Sherwood (Firies), Niall Donohue (Firies), Shane Cronin (Spa), Dan O’Donoghue (Spa), Paul Murphy (Rathmore), Mark Ryan (Rahtmore), Ronan Buckley (Listry), Dara Moynihan (Spa), Paudie Clifford (Fossa), Brendan O’Keeffe (Rathmore), David Clifford (Fossa), Darragh Roche (Glenfesk), Evan Cronin (Spa).
Subs: Dan O’Brien (Glenfesk) for O’Donoghue; Mike Foley (Spa) for O’Keeffe; Brian O’Donoghue (Glenfesk) for S Cronin; Jeff O’Donoghue (Glenfesk) for E Cronin; Padraig Doyle (Gneeveguilla) for Moynihan.
Mid Kerry: Stephen Cahillane (Keel), Pa Kilkenny (Glenbeigh-Glencar), Pa Wrenn (Milltown-Castlemaine), David Mangan (Laune Rangers), Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers), Mike Breen (Beaufort), Jack Brosnan (Glenbeigh-Glencar), Colin McGillicuddy (Glenbeigh-Glencar), Ronan Murphy (Beaufort), David Roche (Milltown-Castlemaine), Fiachra Clifford (Laune Rangers), Ciaran Kennedy (Beaufort), Gavin O’Grady (Glenbeigh-Glencar), Liam Carey (Beaufort), Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh-Glencar).
Subs: Caolim Teahan (Glenbeigh-Glencar) for Clifford; Jack O’Connor (Beaufort) for Kennedy; Cathal Moriarty (Milltown-Castlemaine) for O’Sullivan; Gavan Horan (Milltown-Castlemaine) for Brosnan; Sean O’Brien (Beaufort) for Roche.
Referee: Paul Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys)
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