Saints push champions to the limit

David Clifford: Contributed 1-5

HOTSHOT David Clifford contributed 1-5 but then saw red as champions East Kerry overcame a stern challenge from St Kierans in the last eight of the Kerry Senior Football Championship.

The divisional side from the Castleisland district really put it up to the star-studded holders of the Bishop Moynihan Cup and Jerry O’Sullivan’s side had to dig deep – very deep – to carve out this 2-13 to 1-14 win.

Although an appeal will be lodged, it looks likely that Clifford will miss the semi-final as a result of his late dismissal and there is no doubt but that he will be missed given the importance of his contribution at the weekend.

David’s brother, Paudie, was also hugely influential and, between them, they delivered 2-6 of East Kerry’s total.

The champions didn’t have it all their own way, however, and St Kierans put in a great hour of football and were right in it up to the death and had Shane Ryan not saved Paul Walsh’s penalty, it could have been a very different story.

A goal by influential midfielder James Walsh midway through the second half put the Saints three points clear but David Clifford – who else? – settled the tie when he drilled a low shot to Seán Óg Ó Ciardubhain’s net.

Although St Kierans got back on terms – thanks to the accuracy of their man-of-the-match Eddie Horan – the Clifford brothers turned the tie back in East Kerry’s favour with late points.

East Kerry scorers: D Clifford 1-5 (0-4 frees), P Clifford 1-1, D Roche 0-4 (0-2 frees), E Cronin 0-2, J Sherwood 0-1.

St Kieran’s: scorers: E Horan 0-8 (0-5 frees), J Walsh 1-1, P Walsh 0-2 (0-1 free), S Óg Ó Ciardubhain 0-1 (free), P O’Connor 0-1, M Hickey 0-1 each.

East Kerry: S Ryan (Rathmore), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), J Sherwood (Firies), P Warren (Gneeveguilla), S Cronin (Spa), D O’Donoghue (Spa), P Murphy (Rathmore), D O’Brien (Glenflesk), R Buckley (Listry), D Moynihan (Spa), P Clifford (Fossa), B O’Keeffe (Rathmore), D Clifford (Fossa), D Roche (Glenflesk), E Cronin (Spa).

Subs: M Foley (Spa) for E Cronin; M Ryan (Rathmore) for O’Keeffe; P Doyle (Gneeveguilla) for O’Brien.

St Kierans: S Óg Ó Ciardubhain, B Leonard, E Kiely, M Reidy, L Brosnan, A Donoghue, S Horan, J Walsh, M Hickey, P O’Connor, E Horan, P Walsh, T Hickey, A Breen, T Lynch.

Subs: A Barry for S Horan; V Horan for Walsh.

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