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Late Kerry goal sees off Limerick in dramatic Munster semi-final finish

Adrian Spillane’s goal was the crucial score in today’s curtain-raiser in Killarney.
Jun 12th 2016, 3:30 PM 11,271 1

Kerry 2-16
Limerick 1-16

Paul Brennan reports from Killarney

REIGNING ALL-IRELAND Junior champions Kerry needed a goal five minutes into added time to keep their title defence on track in a dramatic end to this Munster JFC semi-final in Killarney.

Limerick were mere seconds away from what would have been a merited victory but a lapse in concentration allowed Adrian Spillane get to Paul O’Donoghue’s free kick and punch a goal that broke Limerick hearts. A Michael O’Donnell point from the kick out merely added insult to injury.

Kerry had trailed 1-14 to 1-15 going into five minutes of added time, and after Brian Donovan’s excellent point cancelled out Niall O’Shea’s 61st minute effort, Limerick were on the cusp of a famous win but it was not to be.

The vistors had scrapped hard for three-quarters of the match after going behind to an early Kerry goal, and Kerry could have had few complaints had they lost this game, and their provincial and All-Ireland titles.

The first half was, in itself, a game of two halves. Kerry got off to a flyer, with a Paul O’Donoghue converted free followed by points from play by Niall O’Shea and Liam Carey before the champions struck for a brilliant goal.

Wing back Patrick Clifford was involved twice in a slick move that involved Brian Ó Seanachain and Carey before Kieran Hurley finished confidently to the Limerick net.

That put Kerry 1-3 to 0-1 ahead and O’Shea’s second point put them 1-14 to 0-1 ahead by the 12th minute and looking supreme. Then the momentum shifted completely.

Jamie Lee, who had scored Limerick’s early point, doubled the visitors’ total in the 16th minute, and an impressive Limerick owned the second quarter as Lee scored four more points and Adrian Enright one to level it, 1-4 to 0-7, at the 30th minute mark. Two of Lee’s scores were brilliantly converted frees from right on the sideline.

Kerry were totally outplayed in that second quarter, but an added time free from Hurley gave them the slimmest of leads at the interval.

Three early second half points from O’Donoghue (2) and O’Shea got Kerry off to a great second half start, but Jamie Lee continued his masterclass in free taking to keep Limerick in touch.

By the three-quarter mark Limerick were just a point behind when Adrian Enright crashed in a fine goal and by the 55th minute the Shannonsiders were 1-14 to 1-11 ahead, helped by a brilliant James Brouder save and a goal line clearance as Kerry hunted a goal.

Niall O’Shea’s fourth and fifth points kept Kerry within striking distance but it seemed beyond them as the clock hit the fifth and final minute of added time.

O’Donoghue was surely trying for an equalising point but underhit his effort, but Spillane was first to react and fisted they goal that rescued Kerry and handed Limerick the cruelest of defeats.

Scorers for Kerry: P O’Donoghue (0-5, 2f, 1 ’45), N O’Shea (0-5), K Hurley (1-2, 0-1f), A Spillane (1-1), M O’Donnell (0-1), L Carey (0-1), K O’Sullivan (0-1)

Scorers for Limerick: J Lee (0-11, 7f), A Enright (1-1), T McCarthy (0-1), P Scanlan (0-1), S O’Carroll (0-1), B Donovan (0-1)


1. Darragh O’Shea (Ballydonoghue)

2. Darren Brosnan (Gneeveguilla)
3. Cathal Ó Lúing (An Ghaeltacht)
4. Fionán Clifford (Waterville)

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5. Patrick Clifford (Templenoe)
6. Laurence Bastible (John Mitchels)
7. Robert Wharton (Renard)

8. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)
9. Michael O’Donnell (Austin Stacks)

10. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue)
11. Liam Carey (Beaufort)
12. Paul O’Donoghue (St Mary’s)

17. Dara Roche (Glenflesk)
14. Kieran Hurley (St Pat’s)
15. Niall O’Shea (Dromid Pearses)

19. Adam Barry (Brosna) for D Roche (42)
21. Dara O’Shea (Kenmare) for R Wharton (45)
24. Lee O’Donoghue (Glenflesk) for L Carey (49)
18. Kevin O’Sullivan (Kenmare) for M O’Donnell (blood, 50)
9. M O’Donnell (Austin Stacks) for K Hurley (56)


1. James Brouder (Mountcollins)

2. Mike O’Keeffe (Newcastlewest)
3. Maurice O’Sullivan (Galtee Gaels)
4. Colm Moran (Monaleen)

5. Tony McCarthy (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
6. Lorcan O’Dwyer (Pallasgreen)
7. John Bourke (Oola)

8. Michael O’Donovan (Galbally)
9. Tommie Childs (Galtee Gaels)

10. David Ward (Fr Casey’s)
21. Adrian Enright (Fr Casey’s)
12. Kieran Daly (Na Piarsaigh)

13. Padraig Scanlan (Glin)
14. Seamus O’Carroll (Cappagh)
15. Jamie Lee (Newcastlewest)

19. Sean Flanagan (Feonagh) for J Bourke (15)
18. Dale Fitzgerald (St Senans) for C Moran (23)
17. Bill Creamer (Cappamore) for L O’Dwyer (black, 36)
11. Sean Murphy (Newcastlewest) for D Ward (45)
22. James Naughton (Adare) for K Daly (58)
23. Brian Donovan (Monaleen) for Scanlan (59)

Referee: James Bermingham (Cork)

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Paul Brennan


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