Kerry 3-13 Limerick 2-12 (AET)
Kerry got a big scare from Limerick before they landed the McGrath Cup for a fifth time at the Gaelic Grounds as they were taken to extra-time by tje rank outsiders.
The Kingdom paid Limerick respect by fielding their strongest side available and the 2, 010 patrons got good value for their admission money.
While winning was important to Kerry they were left with a few worries at the end of the encounter and of particular concern was an injury to star forward James O'Donoghue, who limped off after 65 minutes. Battled back Kerry also lost Paul Murphy and Gavin Crowley through injury and it was ironic their crucial winning goal was scored by Conor Geaney in the 89th minute, after he replaced O'Donoghue.
Twice Limerick fell six points behind but they battled back each time and by the end of the 70 minutes it was 1-11 each. By half-time Kerry led 1-6 to 0-4 with David Moran scoring their goal.
After 40 minutes it was 1-8 to 0-5 but Limerick then scored 1-3 without reply which put them righ back in contention.
It was all square after 53 minutes when Séamus O’Carroll scored Limerick’s second goal and the teams were level three more times before Geaney’s goal proved decisive.
That late strike gave Limerick no chance of getting more than pride from a contest from which they will have learned a lot.
KERRY: B Kealy; S Enright, J Foley, K Young; P Murphy (0-1), T Morley, T O'Sullivan; D Moran (1-1), J Barry; J Lyne (0-2), J Savage, M Geaney (0-1); BJ Keane (0-2, frees), P Geaney, J O'Donoughue (0-4, three frees). Subs: G Crowley for Murphy (30), B O'Sullivan for Savage (45), B O'Seanachain for M Geaney (46), B O'Sullivan (1-0) for Barry (46), D Daly for Crowley (59), C Geaney (1-2, 0-2 frees) for O'Donoughue (65), C Keane for P Geaney (79), K McCarthy for Keane (80), A Spillane for T O'Sullivan (83).
LIMERICK: D O'Sullivan; D Daly, J McCarthy, S O'Dea (0-1); P White, I Corbett (1-2, 1-0 pen), P Hannon; D Treacy (0-1), B Fanning; P Nash, S O'Carroll (1-1), B Donovan; S McSweeney (0-1, free), D Neville (0-3), G Collins (0-1). Subs: J Lee (0-2, one free) for McSweeney (48), G Noonan for Nash (49), D Ward for Daly (51), C Fahy for hannon (60), J Naughton for O'Carroll (69), J Bridgeman for White 70; C sheehan for Collins (75), P Quin for Fanning (83), K Ryan for Treacy (75). Referee:A Kissane (Waterford).