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0-8 for O'Shea as Kerry end Tipp's reign as Munster champions

Peter Keane’s side will progress to the provincial decider where they will face Cork.

Seán O'Shea on the ball for Kerry.
Seán O'Shea on the ball for Kerry.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Tipperary 1-8

Kerry 1-19

Paul Brennan reports from Semple Stadium, Thurles

IT TOOK TIPPERARY 85 years to win their tenth Munster title but circumstances dictated that they could only enjoy living it up as champions for a day shy of 33 weeks as Kerry, as expected, beat them in this evening’s provincial semi-final in Thurles.

It was always unlikely that lightning was going to strike twice for the 2020 provincial champions – who won the title last November with a memorable final win over Cork – and Kerry had little trouble in easing past a team that will play Division Four football next year.

In the end Kerry had 11 points to spare and won without playing beyond third gear, and manager Peter Keane – as he has been preaching all year – will be most pleased with getting through another game without any injuries.

To that end Kerry’s goal scorer David Clifford was withdrawn after 55 minutes, a precautionary move, no doubt, after straining a quad muscle in the quarter-final win over Clare.

Tipperary proved stubborn champions, not willing to go gently into the July night, but in the end they were trumped by Kerry’s better class, collectively and individually, with Sean O’Shea top scoring with eight points, and Killian Spillane coming off the bench and kicking three from play.

Tipperary captain Conor Sweeney led the home side’s challenge, scoring 1-4, while the Kennedy brothers at midfield worked hard to keep the champions in the game.

Tipp’s other marquee forward, Michael Quinlivan had a very quiet evening, all the way up to the 50th minute when he was sent off for an apparent strike on Gavin Crowley.

The first ten minutes – in front of 3,500 masked and socially distanced spectators – was chess-like; Tipp keeping almost all of their players in rank and file order in their own half of the pitch, desperate to prevent an early offensive on Evan Comerford’s goal.

Kerry were content to move their pieces around out the middle of the field, passing, probing and patient, looking for that gap or weakness in the Tipperary rear-guard. In the 15th minute Kerry’s patience paid off.

Gavin White broke three tackles before slipping a pass to David Clifford on the left side of Comerford’s goal, about 15 metres from the end line. Only one result: the Fossa man crashed a shot beyond the Tipperary goalkeeper to the roof of the goal to put Kerry 1-2 to 0-1 ahead. At the water break the visitors were 1-4 to 0-1 to the good.

Tom O’Sullivan – Kerry’s nominal corner back but playing high up on the wing – scored back to back points to push his side 1-7 to 0-3 clear, but Tipperary won a penalty when Jack Kennedy was bundled over in the process of shooting, with captain Conor Sweeney coolly dispatching his shot past Shane Ryan, who was back in the Kerry goal for the first time this year.

Tipperary, alas, couldn’t build on their goal, and points from Sean O’Shea (3) and Diarmuid O’Connor saw Kerry lead 1-11 to 1-3 at half time.

Kerry won the third quarter by 0-4 to 0-3, at which stage Tipperary were down to 13 men – Quinlivan off on a red card and Jason Lonergan in the sin bin on a black – and it could have got much uglier for the champions but for a great Comerford save on Stephen O’Brien and a Brian Fox block on Sean O’Shea’s shot.

The fourth quarter was going through the motions stuff, Kerry minding themselves for a Munster final in a fortnight, and Tipperary milking the last few minutes as provincial champions.

The natural order of Munster restored, then, with Kerry taking on Cork in the final in two weeks.

Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), J Kennedy 0-3 (2f), K Fahey 0-1

Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-8 (5f, 1 ‘45’), D Clifford 1-2 (0-1f), K Spillane 0-3, T O’Sullivan 0-2, D O’Connor 0-1, D Moran 0-1, P Geaney 0-1, P Clifford 0-1

Tipperary

1. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan Kilcash)

2. Shane O’Connell (Golden Kilfeacle), 3. James Feehan (Killenaule), 4. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan)

5. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash), 6. Kevin Fahey Clonmel Commercials, 7. Robbie Kiely (Ballyroe, Cork)

8. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), 9. Conal Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)

10. Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch), 11. Conor Bowe (Moyne-Templetouhy), 12. Padraic Looram (Clonmel Commercials)

13. Brian Fox (Eire Og Anncarty Donohill), 14. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen), 15. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)

Subs:

22. Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials) for E Moloney (19)

17. Paudie Feehan (Killenaule) for P Looram (ht)

23. Steven O’Brien (Ballina) for C Bowe (52)

19. Shane Foley (Moyle Rovers) for C O’Shaughnessy (60)

21. Colman Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials) for C Kennedy (69)

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Kerry

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Mike Breen (Beaufort), 6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys), 9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)

10. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks), 11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), 12. Paul Geaney (Dingle)

13. David Clifford (Fossa), 14. Michéal Burns (Dr Crokes), 15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)

Subs

19. Paul Murphy (Rathmore) for M Breen (43)

20. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for M Burns (46)

21. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys) for P Geaney (46)

22. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil) for D Clifford (54)

18. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe) for G Crowley (62)

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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