Kerry pull away from Clare early on to book Munster final slot

James O’Donoghue grabs goal just before half-time to put Kerry nine clear

Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien wrong foots Seán Collins of Clare during the Munster SFC semi-final at  Cusack Park in  Ennis. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien wrong foots Seán Collins of Clare during the Munster SFC semi-final at Cusack Park in Ennis. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Clare 0-12 Kerry 1-15

Kerry are on course for a seventh successive Munster Senior football title as a result of a deserved six-point victory over Clare at Cusack Park, Ennis in front of a crowd of 5,037 on Saturday night.

The Kingdom led from the start and the game’s only goal came just before half-time through James O’Donoghue, leaving his side nine points and a mountain to climb for the hosts. Kerry lost midfielder David Moran midway through the half on a black card but despite his absence, the visitors held sway and went in 1-9 to 0-3 in front at the break.

Clare were lucky not to concede a pair of first-half goals when Kerry centre forward Seán O’Shea hit the butt of the right upright on 11 minutes. Minutes later O’Donoghue blazed wide from close range with the goal at his mercy.

In the second half Kerry forged ahead and though they lost Tommy Walsh on a black card and Mark Griffin on a second yellow, Peter Keane’s men looked comfortable.

Clare did rally as the half progressed and kicked seven of the last eight points. The game was held up for nine minutes following a clash late in the tie between O’Shea and Kevin Harnett. O’Shea managed to walk off unassisted but Harnett was not so lucky and he had to be stretchered off the field of play.

CLARE: S Ryan; K Harnett, C Brennan, G Kelly; S Collins, A Fitzgerald, C Ó hAiniféin; S O’Donoghue, C O’Connor (0-1); E Cleary (0-5, three frees), G Brennan (capt), J Malone (0-3); C O’Dea, D Tubridy (0-3, one free), D Bohannon.

Subs: G Cooney for Bohannon(h/t), D Ryan for Ó hAiniféin (41 mins, b/c, K Malone for O’Donoghue (49) E Collins for S Collins (53), C Murray for C Brennan (61, inj), A Sweeney for Harnett inj (79).

KERRY: S Ryan; J Foley (0-1), T Morley, T O’Sullivan; S Enright, J Sherwood, G Crowley; D Moran (0-1), D O’Connor (0-1); A Spillane (0-1), S O’Shea (0-5, five frees), S O’Brien; D Clifford (0-3, one free), P Geaney (0-1), J O’Donoghue (1-1).

Subs: M Griffin for Moran (17, b/c), G White for Sherwood (h/t), M Burns (0-1) for O’Brien (44 mins), R Wharton for Crowley (49), T Walsh for O’Donoghue (53), J Lyne for O’Shea inj. (71).

Referee: J Molloy (Galway)

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