Clifford brothers to the fore as East Kerry retain title
David and Paudie play key roles in two crucial second half goals against Mid Kerry
East Kerry’s David Clifford celebrates scoring his side’s first goal. Photograph: Inpho
East Kerry 2-15 Mid Kerry 0-9
Two goals in two minutes effectively decided this year’s Kerry SFC final in favour of defending champions East Kerry.
The Clifford brothers - David and Paudie - were to the fore and played a key role in East Kerry’s two crucial goals. David scored the first himself before Paudie set up Dara Roche for an effectively game-clinching second.
Mid Kerry paid the price for not taking their chances when kicking eight first half wides, although both sides had goal chances in the first period. Mid Kerry’s Ronan Murphy was denied at close range in the 10th minute by Shane Ryan when a point may have been the better option. At the other end East Kerry’s Dan O’Donoghue lost composure at the crucial moment in hitting a shot straight at Mid Kerry’s Stephen Cahillane four minutes later.
Nevertheless, a second of three first half points from David Clifford gave his team a 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the first-half water break.
Mid Kerry were contesting well all over the field, but failed to turn possession into scores as easily as their opponents and Darran O’Sullivan hit the post looking for a point late in the first-half. East Kerry’s counter attack proved a lot more clinical and they led 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time.
Although Mid Kerry had the first few chances for scores in the second period, East Kerry re-emerged with two quick-fire goals. The first came from nothing as Ronan Buckley and Dara Moynihan played the ball across to David Clifford for a powerful strike in the 34th minute that left Cahillane flat footed as it went into the top corner. Two minutes later came the second goal as Paudie Clifford collected a long ball and fed Dara Roche for a low finish to put his team 2-9 to 0-7 ahead.
A further three points for the victors had them 2-12 to 0-7 in front at the second half water break and Mid Kerry had to wait until the 56th minute for their first second half score via Liam Carey. Gavan O’Grady was their only other point scorer in the second period.
East Kerry’s starting forward line finished with 2-10 in total, while midfielder Ronan Buckley hit the first and last score of the game in a comprehensive 12-point win for the defending champions. Their ninth ever success in the competition, which also means they retain the right to nominate the Kerry senior captain again in 2021.
EAST KERRY: S Ryan; C O’Donoghue, J Sherwood, Ni Donohoe; Shane Cronin, Dan O’Donoghue, P Murphy; M Ryan, R Buckley (0-2); D Moynihan (0-2), P Clifford, B O’Keeffe; D Clifford (1-4), D Roche (1-3, 0-1 free, 0-1 mark) E Cronin (0-3, 0-1 mark) Subs: M Foley for B O’Keeffe, D O’Brien for M Ryan (both 48 mins), B O’Donoghue (0-1) for S Cronin, J O’Donoghue for E Cronin (both 55 mins), P Doyle for D Moynihan (57 mins).
MID KERRY: S Cahillane, P Kilkenny, P Wrenn, D Mangan; P Crowley, M Breen, J Brosnan; C McGuillicuddy, R Murphy; D Roche (0-1), F Clifford, C Kennedy (0-1, 0-1 free); G O’Grady (0-1), L Carey (0-6, 0-4 frees), D O’Sullivan Subs: C Teahan for F Clifford (39 mins), J O’Connor for C Kennedy (44 mins), C Moriarty for D O’Sullivan, G Horan for J Brosnan (both 48 mins) and S O’Brien for D Roche (51 mins).
Referee: P Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys)