Kerry 0-13 Clare 1-07
There were few signs of celebrations amongst the local football support after Saturday’s McGrath Cup final in Dr Crokes grounds in Killarney.Kerry may have collected their first silverware of 2011 with an assured performance that saw them overturn Clare but it was swiftly placed into perspective. This is January and this is the McGrath Cup. The final whistle was not long blown and Kingdom minds had already turned to the arrival of All-Ireland champions Cork to Tralee for Sunday’s National League opener. Job done, time to move on.
In attack there were plenty players eager to catch the eye but it was Dave Geaney who shone brightest. He showed well for possession and picked off six points from play. It was Geaney’s contribution in the first-half that helped Kerry peg back Clare who had started impressively and they lead 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.
In the second-half Kerry struggled to hammer home their advantage yet the Dingle man provided the accuracy to land the scores when needed.
Saturday was not all about giving game time to greenhorns. Marc Ó’Sé and Aidan O’Mahony were given their first run outs of the year; Padraig Reidy is starting to re-establish his defensive credentials and Darran O’Sullivan has thrived in the centre-forward berth over the past month. The game was also a success for David Moran who made some towering catches at midfield and landed three frees.
Clare produced a fantastic start with three quality points inside the first five minutes from David Tubridy, Cathal O’Connor and John Hayes.
Yet the scores dried up as they endured a 28 minute drought before raising a white flag again. Their scoring difficulties directly related to some below-par freetaking and an abundance of aimless deliveries towards their attack.
But this is a spirited side, many of which are getting to grips with the intercounty game. The return of John Hayes is clearly bolstering their defensive options and Kildare recruit Niall Browne toiled diligently at wing-forward. Young midfielder Cathal O’Connor competed excellently in his sector and he also grabbed the only goal of the game, finishing tidily after he fetched a high ball in the 63rd minute. However Clare’s inaccuracy in front of the posts compromised their hopes of a revival.
"The quality of ball that Kerry delivered into their forward line was really good", noted manager Micheal McDermott. "It’s something that we’re trying to work on and improve on. It was a bad day at the office for our freetakers as well. There are a lot of new players in our team and they’re learning from this. We’re disappointed we didn’t win but from a management team point of view, we’ve learnt a lot from the McGrath Cup campaign and from today’s game. There are areas we need to improve and work on but we know that."
Scorers for Kerry: D Geaney 0-6; D Moran 0-3 (two frees, one ‘45); Darran O’Sullivan, D Walsh, M O’Donoghue, P Geaney 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: C O’Connor 1-1; A Clohessy 0-3 (two frees); D Tubridy, J Hayes, N Browne 0-1 each.
KERRY: T Mac an tSaoir; P Reidy, M Ó’Sé, P O’Connor; A O’Mahony, T Ó’Sé, J Lyne; S Scanlon, D Moran; G Sayers, Darran O’Sullivan, D Walsh; P Geaney, M O’Donoghue, D Geaney.
Subs: B O’Grady for Sayers (half-time), A Fitzgerald for O’Donoghue (half-time), Danny O’Sullivan for O’Connor (55), E Hickson for O’Mahony (57), P McCarthy for T Ó’Sé (62).
CLARE: Joe Hayes; M McMahon, B Duggan, L Healy; Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly, John Hayes; C Ryan, C O’Connor; D Daly, M Foran, N Browne; A Clohessy, R Donnelly, D Tubridy.
Subs: N White for Graham Kelly (30), S Brennan for Tubridy (53), G Fannin for Duggan (inj) (54), A Cahill for Daly (60), C Ryan for Ryan (60).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).
McGrath Cup Final
Sunday January 30 2011
Kerry 0-13 Clare 1-7
Kerry proved far too strong for Clare without ever
having to hit top gear in an entertaining contest at the Dr Crokes
Grounds, Lewis Road, Killarney yesterday afternoon. The result was never
in doubt despite a Clare scoring burst that saw them jump 0-3 to 0-1
clear inside the opening five minutes, thanks to points from David
Tubridy, Cathal O'Connor and wing-back John Hayes. David Geaney posted
Kerry's opening score. However, that was as good as it got for Clare,
as Kerry assumed complete control at midfield where David Moran was the
dominant figure throughout, ably assisted by Seamus Scanlon.
Clare were disappointing in attack and with Marc O Se and Aidan O'Mahony
tasting their first action of the season for Kerry, the visitors failed
to score for 29 minutes of the opening half. Kerry, thanks to David
Geaney, who added three first-half points, and two frees from Moran, led
0-7 to 0-4 at the break. With Moran catching everything at midfield,
Kerry were still in control, though squandering their chances up front
did not help. After an early Niall Browne point, Clare just failed to
fire up front and they missed three kickable close-in frees as Kerry led
0-12 to 0-5 with just nine minutes remaining. Clare got a lifeline when
midfielder Cathal O'Connor scored a goal in the 57th minute but despite
two late, pointed frees from out-of-form Alan Clohessy, Kerry retained
the McGrath Cup with the minimum of fuss.
Scorers -- Kerry: D Geaney 0-6, D Moran 0-3 (2f, 1 '45'), Darran
O'Sullivan, D Walsh, M O'Donoghue, P Geaney 0-1 each. Clare: C O'Connor
1-1, A Clohessy 0-3 (2f), John Hayes, D Tubridy, N Browne 0-1 each.
Kerry: T Mac An tSaoir; P Reidy, M O Se, P O'Connor; A O'Mahony, T O Se,
J Lyne; S Scanlon, D Moran; G Sayers, Darran O'Sullivan, D Walsh; D
Geaney, M O'Donoghue, P O'Donoghue. Subs: B O'Grady for G Sayers (h-t),
A Fitzgerald for M O'Donoghue (h-t), Danny O'Sullivan for P O'Connor
(55), E Hickson for A O'Mahony (57), P McCarthy for T O'Se (62).
Clare: J Hayes; L Healy, B Duggan, M McMahon; Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly
John Hayes; M Foran C O'Connor; D Daly, D Tubridy, N Browne; R Donnelly,
T Ryan, A Clohessy. Subs: N White for Graham Kelly (32), S Brennan for D
Tubridy (53), G Fannin for B Duggan (53), A Cahill for D Daly (60), C
Ryan for T Ryan (60).
Referee: C Lane (Cork)