Captain Savage to the rescue as Jack O'Connor's 14-man Kerry squeeze past Tipp

The Kingdom won a game in the EirGrid Munster U21 football championship for the first time in four years when they defeated holders Tipperary tonight.

Kerry U21 football team manager Jack O'Connor (file pic).
Kerry U21 football team manager Jack O'Connor (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kerry 0-11
Tipperary 1-7

Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park, Tralee

A REAL LACK of ambition denied Tipperary what would have been an upset win against Kerry as they failed to make their extra man count in a fairly drab Munster U21 quarter-final in Tralee.

For their part, Kerry showed admirable poise and industry to grind out a character building one-point win after losing midfielder Matthew O’Sullivan to a second yellow card six  minutes before half time to advance to a semi-final against Limerick next week.

Only Tipperary can answer why they stood back for the second half and never took the game to a Kerry team that had looked a little vulnerable at the back in the first quarter and more so in the second.

The fact that Kerry registered 11 wides to just two from the visitors tells its own story with regards to the teams’ ambition to win this match, and in the end the free taking of Jack Savage, who tallied eight points in all, saw Kerry over the line.

The first quarter was a desperately pedestrian affair, lacking any championship urgency or bite. It took five minutes before Micheal Burns fisted Kerry into the lead and another five before Stephen Quirke levelled from the boot.

Savage scored points from play in the 12th and 21st minutes either side of a teasing low shot from corner back Tom O’Sullivan that fizzed narrowly wide of the Tipperary post.

Jack Savage and Shea Hamill Captain Jack Savage led by example for the Kerry U21s this evening. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It took until the 24th minute for the game to come to life, a little, with O’Sullivan dismissed for a second booking, and a minute later Tipp midfielder Liam Casey playing a neat one-two through the Kerry defence before coolly finishing past Eoghan O’Brien to make it 1-1 to 0-3.

Savage and Josh Keane traded frees before Casey took a point after Tipp briefly threatened the Kerry goal as the visitors looked to make their numerical advantage count, but two Savage frees in added time brought the teams level again, 0-6 to 1-3, at the break.

Ross McGowan tackles Liam Casey Liam Casey netted for Tipperary this evening but last year's Munster champions still bowed out. (file pic) Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

With the slight wind advantage in the second half Tipperary were expected to press forward but instead they sat back, and as happens so often in this situation it was the 14 men of Kerry that showed the greater ambition.

Two Savage frees were answered by points from Jack Kennedy and Ross Mulcahy, but then Barry O’Sullivan, Savage and Burns raised flags to open a three-point lead. Kennedy replied with a point but a superb block on Colm O’Shaughnessy denied Tipperary a late goal chance and Kerry were through.


Kerry: Jack Savage (0-8, 6f), Micheal Burns (0-2), Barry O’Sullivan (0-1)

Tipperary: Liam Casey (1-1), Jack Kennedy (0-2), Josh Keane (0-2f), Ross Mulcahy (0-1), Stephen Quirke (0-1)


1. Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill)

2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
3. Cathal Ó Lúing (An Ghaeltacht)
4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Sugrue (Renard)
6. Andrew Barry (Na Gael)
7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. Matthew O’Sullivan (St Michaels-Foilmore)
9. Greg Horan (Austin Stacks)

10. Brandon Barrett (Ardfert)
11. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes)
12. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue)

13. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes)
14. Eanna Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht)
15. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys)


18. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for E O Conchuir (HT)
20. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle) for G Horan (HT)
17. Dara Roche (Glenflesk) for T Brosnan (40)
24. David Foran (St Senans) for B Barrett (41, inj)
19. Dan O’Donoghue (Spa) for B Sugrue (58)


1. Jake McDonald (Clonmel Commercials)

2. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan)
3. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
4. Danny Owens (Moyle Rovers)

5. Ross Mulcahy (Moyle Rovers)
6. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)
7. Shane O’Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle)

8. Paul Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane)
9. Liam Casey (Cahir)

10. Emmet Moloney (Drom-Inch)
11. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)
12. Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)

13. Paul Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
14. Stephen Quirke (Moyle Rovers)
15. Tommy Nolan (Drom-Inch)

17. Luke Boland (Moyle Rovers) for P Shanahan (55)
18. Brendan Martin (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for T Nolan (57)

Referee: Kevin Murphy (Cork)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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