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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Oisin Keniry/INPHO
# star of david
David Clifford the difference as East Kerry see off St Brendan's to book final place
The Fossa forward scored nine points from as many shots as his side reached their first county final since 1999.

East Kerry 1-18

St Brendan’s 1-14

Paul Brennan reports from Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney

East Kerry are the first team into the Kerry SFC final after getting the job done against a stout and sticky St Brendan’s team that proved they were full value for their place in the penultimate phase of the championship.

As expected, David Clifford was the star turn and the difference, as his nine points made up the bulk of the East Kerry’s scoring returns, although it was Darragh Roche’s 27th-minute goal that was the catalyst for them stay clear of St Brendan’s, and reach their first county final since 1999 when they completed a three-in-a-row of title wins.

Niall Sheehy’s brilliantly-placed penalty in the 38th minute kept St Brendan’s in contention right to the end, but they could never get closer than a point to their opponents, who always managed to dig out a score when they felt St Brendan’s breath on their necks.

On a perfectly benign afternoon in Killarney, both teams played positive, attacking football in front of an appreciative crowd, with Clifford’s class coming to the fore as the Fossa man scored seven points from seven shots taken, as well as converting two frees.

Though Sheehy got St Brendan’s off the mark first with a sixth-minute point, East Kerry were soon into their stride with scores from Clifford (twice), Mike Foley and Liam Kearney, but any early thoughts of a stroll for the pre-match favourites were quickly erased as St Brendan’s rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

Scores from David Griffin, David O’Callaghan, Alan O’Donoghue, Ivan Parker and a Sheehy free helped make it 0-6 apiece by the 22nd minute, with county men Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor giving St Brendan’s a solid platform at midfield.

A superb Parker point saw St Brendan’s trail by 0-7 to 0-8 in the 26th minute, but then Roche collected a long delivery, did well to shake off the attention of his marker, and did better again to squeeze the ball past Eoghan O’Brien to help East Kerry to a 1-9 to 0-8 half time lead.

The second half was just as evenly contested, though East Kerry carried a greater goal threat with O’Brien having to foil them on three occasions.

Points from Roche (two frees) and Ronan Buckley opened up the biggest gap between the teams when East Kerry went 1-12 to 0-9 ahead, but then Killian Fitzgerald won a penalty, which Sheehy dispatched expertly, and it was game on again.

Twice St Brendan’s got to within a point of their opponent, helped by two fine Jack Barry points, but East Kerry always found a response.

Going into additional time St Brendan’s substitute Brendan Poff’s point made it 1-15 to 1-14, but late converted frees from the Clifford brothers and Roche – after Trevor Wallace was black carded for St Brendan’s – saw East Kerry into the division’s first county final in 20 years.

Scorers for East Kerry: D Clifford 0-9 (2f), D Roche 1-3 (0-3f), R Buckley 0-2, J Sherwood 0-1, L Kearney 0-1, M Foley 0-1, P Clifford 0-1f

Scorers for St Brendan’s: N Sheehy 1-3 (1-0 pen, 2f), J Barry 0-2, D Griffin 0-2, I Parker 0-2, E O’Brien 0-1f, D O’Callaghan 0-1, T Kerins 0-1, A O’Donoghue 0-1, B Poff 0-1

East Kerry

1. James Devane (Spa)

2. Chris O’Donoghue (Glenflesk)
17. Mike Foley (Spa)
4. Niall Donohue (Firies)

5. Dan O’Donoghue (Spa)
6. Jack Sherwood (Firies)
7. Pa Warren (Gneeveguilla)

8. Liam Kearney (Spa)
9. Shane Cronin (Spa)

10. Ronan Buckley (Listry)
11. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)
12. Brian O’Donoghue (Glenflesk)

13. David Clifford (Fossa)
14. Dara Roche (Glenflesk)
15. Evan Cronin (Spa)

Subs

23. Padraig Doyle (Gneeveguilla) for M Foley (37′)
24. David Spillane (Spa) for B O’Donoghue (51′)
19. Darren Brosnan (Gneeveguilla) for S Cronin (54′)
29. Niall McCarthy (Spa) for E Cronin (63′)

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St Brendan’s

1. Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill)

2. Fergal Barry (Na Gaeil)
3. Kieran O’Dwyer (St Pats)
4. Trevor Wallace (Ardfert)

19. Thomas Kearns (John Mitchels)
6. Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil)
7. Patrick Kearney (John Mitchels)

8. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)

10. David O’Callaghan (St Pats)
11. Daithi Griffin (Ardfert)
12. Brandon Barrett (Ardfert)

13. Niall Sheehy (John Mitchels)
14. Ivan Parker (Churchill)
15. Alan O’Donoghue (John Mitchels)

Subs

20. Killian Fitzgerald (Churchill) for A O’Donoghue (37′)
17. Brendan Poff (St Pats) for K O’Dwyer (37′)
18. Luke Mulligan (St Pats) for N Sheehy (46′)
23. Jordan Conway (St Pat) for D O’Callaghan (46′)
15. James Duggan (John Mitchels) for (60′)
5. Paul McMahon (St Pats) for D Griffin (60′)

Referee: Jonathan Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar)

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