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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
James Crombie/INPHO Kerry duo Tommy Walsh and David Moran.
# Strand Road
Kerins O'Rahillys cope with harsh Moran red card as Walsh goal key in Munster club win
The Kerry club winners survived a major test against Clare’s Éire Óg Ennis.

Kerins O’Rahillys (Kerry) 1-9

Éire Óg (Clare) 1-8

KERINS O’RAHILLYS MIGHT not be county champions in Kerry, but they are very much on track to be kings of Munster.

They came through a tough provincial semi-final against Clare’s Éire Óg with the minimum to spare despite having their talismanic midfielder David Moran sent off after 22 minute in Tralee this afternoon.

That the Tralee club had to go to the depths of their resolve and character might prove a good thing for the Munster final in a fortnight, but Éire Óg team will be kicking themselves at having let 14-man O’Rahillys off the hook, with some terrible shot execution betraying the Clare men throughout a spiky contest.

Moran can feel harshly done by after being booked twice for two fairly innocuous tangles with Ikem Ugwueru, but referee Sean Lonergan saw enough in both incidents to issue Moran with two yellow cards.

It left O’Rahillys with a mountain to climb for the ensuing 40-plus minutes, but the brilliant start of 1-1 in the first three minutes gave them just about enough of a cushion to eke out the win.

Jack Savage – back from Dubai for the game – pointed O’Rahillys into the lead after just 12 seconds, a lead they would never relinquish, and which was further boosted by Tommy Walsh’s goal in the third minute.

jack-savage Ryan Byrne / INPHO Kerry's Jack Savage. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Unperturbed by that poor start, Éire Óg settled into their work thereafter and points from Gavin Cooney (2) and Mark McInerney had them to within a point of O’Rahillys after 12 minutes.

Savage scored his second point but then hit the post with a very scorable free by his standards as the game remained scrappy in testing weather conditions, with the referee issuing a few yellow cards, and Moran’s dismissal significantly shifting the dynamic of the game.

Tommy Walsh, who was a big target and threat at full forward for the home side, landed a point from play and then converted a free as O’Rahillys took a 1-4 to 0-4 lead to the half time interval, Cooney getting Éire Óg’s last score of the half from a close-range free.

A man down, O’Rahillys needed a strong start to the second half and they got it with two early points from Gavin O’Brien and Jack Savage but the Clare champions hit back with a great goal from wing back Éinne O’Connor after being set up by Cooney.

gavin-cooney Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Clare footballer Gavin Cooney. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

O’Rahillys responded in the best way, points from Jack Savage and Cormac Coffey – the latter also back from Dubai for the game – they led 1-8 to 1-4 after 42 minutes.

O’Brien was also flown back from his New York base, and he along with Savage and Coffey made the effort worthwhile with seven points between them.

Moran’s absence around midfield was apparent for O’Rahillys, who moved Tommy Walsh to the middle of the field to try and win some badly needed primary possession and stifle Éire Óg from getting on the front foot. It worked up to a point but the Ennis men clawed their way back with scores from Philip Talty, Ciaran Russell and two Cooney to make it 1-9 to 1-8.

Éire Óg played the last five minutes with 14 men after Mark McInerney was sent off for a double yellow, but it was Talty’s miss in the 58th minute, when he fluffed his chance to level the scores from just 15 metres in front of goal, that will haunt them.

For their part O’Rahillys will be relieved to have survived under the circumstances, and they will need improvement when they contest their first Munster Club SFC Final since 2009.

Scorers for Kerins O’Rahillys: Tommy Walsh 1-2 (0-1 mark); Jack Savage 0-4 (0-2 frees); Gavin O’Brien (0-2); Cormac Coffey (0-1).

Scorers for Éire Óg Ennis: Gavin Cooney 0-5 (0-3 frees); Einne O’Connor (1-0); Ciaran Russell, Mark McInerney (0-1 mark), Philip Talty (0-1 each).

Kerins O’Rahillys

Shane Foley

Darragh McElligott, Ross O’Callaghan, Cormac Coffey

Con Barrett, Karl Mullins, Padraig Neenan

David Moran, Tom Hoare

Cian Sayers, Jack Savage, Gavin O’Brien

Barry John Keane, Tommy Walsh, Conor Hayes

Subs

Ben Hanafin for G Savage (39)

Ryan Carroll for Barrett (49)

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Diarmuid O’Sullivan for Hoare (58)

Éire Óg

Shane Daniels

Manus Doherty, Aaron Fitzgerald, Ronan Lanigan

Ciaran Russell, Aidan McGrath, Éinne O’Connor

Darren O’Neill, David McNamara

Niall McMahon, Ikem Ugwueru, Oran Cahill

Jarlath Collins, Gavin Cooney, Mark McInerney.

Subs

David Reidy for McMahon (37)

Philip Talty for Cahill (40)

Conor O’Halloran for Lanigan (48)

Dean D’Auria for Collins (62)

Referee: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary)

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