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Cronin goal proves key as East Kerry cope without suspended Clifford to reach county senior final

A six-point success for the reigning champions over St Brendan’s in Tralee tonight.

Evan Cronin (file photo) fired home the only goal of the game.
Evan Cronin (file photo) fired home the only goal of the game.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

East Kerry 1-11 
St Brendan’s 0-8

THEIR STAR NAME was watching on from the stands but the champions are back in the showpiece of Kerry club football.

David Clifford observed the action from the terrace in Tralee tonight, a consequence of a quarter-final red card and an appeal bid that proved fruitless midweek, yet his East Kerry team-mates powered forward to assure themselves of a place in the county senior decider.

By the close in Austin Stack Park of a largely lacklustre semi-final, such was the control East Kerry exerted as the game unfolded, the 2019 champions had six points to spare over St Brendan’s.

They were good value for that margin of victory. Evan Cronin blasted home the critical strike in the 28th minute, pushing them four points clear and putting a bit of scoreboard daylight between the teams after a first half where they had largely matched each other stride for stride.

These two sides are no strangers. It was the fourth successive year they had met in championship fare, with two meetings thrown in to the 2019 programme for good measure, and East Kerry had enjoyed the upper hand with three victories.

If the absence of Clifford, and his attributes of attacking wizardry and scoring power, were losses to East Kerry, they did not surface in that first half. It fell to others in the forward line to pick up the slack and they did so. Spa’s Evan Cronin chipped in with 1-2 from play in the second quarter, his club-mate Dara Moynihan weighed in with a brace of points before then.

dara-moynihan Dara Moynihan (file photo) scored 0-2 for East Kerry tonight. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

It was 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval then in favour of East Kerry, they availed of good fortune when Brendan O’Keeffe’s point attempt knocked against the upright and there was a mix-up in the St Brendan’s rearguard as Cronin pounced to bang his shot to the net.

It was a concession that seemed to break the spirit of St Brendan’s. They had struggled for scores but still remained in touch with defenders Jordan Conway and Thomas Kerins coming forward for some splendid first-half points.

Goalkeeper Eoghan O’Brien converted a 27th minute free yet St Brendan’s would not raise a white flag again until the 54th minute. They shoved Diarmuid O’Connor into full-forward and the Kerry senior made an impact as he fired over two points as part of a brief scoring spree from the Tralee district side.

But the East Kerry defence was a formidable unit, anchored by Jack Sherwood and Paul Murphy, while their midfield of Ronan Buckley and Mark Ryan stifled the influence of county players O’Connor and Jack Barry.

Dara Roche clipped over his fifth point of the night to seal East Kerry’s passage to a final against Mid Kerry or Dr Crokes.

Scorers for East Kerry: Evan Cronin 1-2, Dara Roche 0-5 (0-3f), Dara Moynihan 0-2, Mike Foley, Paudie Clifford 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Brendan’s: Diarmuid O’Connor 0-2, Ivan Parker (0-1f), Thomas Kerins, Michael Kelliher, Jordan Conway, Eoghan O’Brien (0-1f), Andrew Barry 0-1 each.

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East Kerry

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Chris O’Donoghue (Glenflesk)
3. Jack Sherwood (Firies)
19. Niall Donohue (Firies)

5. Shane Cronin (Spa)
6. Dan O’Donoghue (Spa – captain)
7. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)

22. Mark Ryan (Rathmore)
9. Ronan Buckley (Listry)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa)
11. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)
12. Brendan O’Keeffe (Rathmore)

17. Mike Foley (Spa)
14. Darragh Roche (Glenflesk)
15. Evan Cronin (Spa)


8. Daniel O’Brien (Glenflesk) for Mark Ryan (50)
21. David Spillane (Spa) for Foley (52)
24. Jeff O’Donoghue (Glenflesk) for O’Keeffe (59)
18. Brian O’Donoghue (Glenflesk) for Evan Cronin (61)
20. Padraig Doyle (Gneeveguilla) for Roche (64)

St Brendan’s

1. Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill)

30. Jordan Conway (St Pat’s)
3. Lawrence Bastible (John Mitchels)
4. Trevor Wallace (Ardfert)

5. Thomas Kerins (John Mitchels)
6. Fergal Barry (Na Gaeil)
7. Kieran Dwyer (St Pat’s)

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

10. Ian McCarthy (Na Gaeil)
11. David Griffin (Ardfert)
12. Cillian Fitzgerald (Churchill)

13. Alan O’Donoghue (John Mitchels)
14. Ivan Parker (Churchill)
15. Michael Kelliher (John Mitchels)


22. Thomas Lenihan (Churchill) for McCarthy (half-time)
34. Brandon Barrett (Ardfert) for Griffin (37)
32. David O’Callaghan (St Pat’s) for Kelliher (37)
23. Joseph Lenihan (Churchill) for Fitzgerald (43)
33. Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil) for Dwyer (49)

Referee: Brendan Griffin (St Senan’s)


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