Tipperary 1-8 Kerry 1-19
Kerry cruised through Thurles on Saturday night to reach the Munster final against Cork. Champions Tipperary fought the good fight and manager David Power was proud of his players, who were outgunned on a perfect evening in Semple Stadium.
The routine win for Kerry means that Tipp's eight months as Munster champions came to an end but they persevered, having gone down to 13 men in the final quarter after former All Star Michael Quinlivan was red-carded for throwing a punch at Gavin Crowley in the 50th minute.
Four minutes later, replacement Jason Lonergan was shown a black card for a body check on Stephen O'Brien during a sweeping Kerry move that ended in a brilliant block by Brian Fox on Seán O'Shea.
Ultimately, Kerry were able to get scores more easily, win ball almost at will at centrefield and defend well enough to concede just a modest nine scores.
The opening was cagey. The winners moved the ball methodically in a full-court press but as soon as the move broke down, Tipperary sprang a counterattack – Jack Kennedy’s long ball into the attack briefly promising until Kerry turned it over.
That became the pattern: swarming attacks by the winners, which created chances or drew frees – guaranteed scores for O'Shea, who missed just one dead-ball kick. David Clifford started quietly but burst into the match in the 15th minute. As Power noted, it began with a chance that had dropped short and the ball was moved at pace up the pitch.
A searing run down the left by Gavin White made the space for Clifford, whose shot nearly took the net off its rigging and put daylight between the teams, 1-2 to 0-1.
Tipperary set up to protect themselves at the back with the hard working Brian Fox playing as sweeper, as he and Robbie Kiely patrolled the D. To an extent it worked because Kerry, not shy this year about scoring goals, were restricted to just that one.
The problem for the champions was that they couldn't muster a sufficient attacking threat to keep pace. Kerry's attack was too busy. They did revive briefly in the 28th minute when Jack Kennedy, who was impressive going forward, was brought down for a penalty by White. Sweeney finished it forcefully to cut the margin to four, 1-3 to 1-7. Kerry's response was telling. They rounded off the half with four points, three from O'Shea and Diarmuid O'Connor to give an eight-point lead at the interval.
The Clifford threat was obvious and brother Paudie had an excellent match, probing and creating chances.
David Moran dominated centrefield, picking off Evan Comerford's restarts as well as securing his own. The introduction of Steven O'Brien in the final quarter for Tipp helped to stem the flow but Comerford also got more into his stride, picking out some good targets.
Quinlivan's sending-off coincided with some sympathetic refereeing from Niall Cullen but in fairness to the Fermanagh official, he was generally correct about Kerry's fouling but he made them work hard for their own frees.
Killian Spillane came on for his usual productive turn and kicked three from play.
Overall it was a satisfying evening's work for Peter Keane and his team, which featured the return of regular goalkeeper Shane Ryan. They move on to the Munster final against Cork on July 25th.
TIPPERARY: 1 E Comerford; 4 C O'Shaughnessy, 3 J Feehan, 2 S O'Connell; 5 B Maher, 6 K Fahey (0-1), 7 R Kiely; 8 J Kennedy (0-3, two frees), 9 C Kennedy; 10 E Moloney, 11 C Bowe, 12 P Looram; 13 B Fox, 14 C Sweeney (capt; 1-4, 1-0 penalty, two frees), 15 M Quinlivan.
Subs: 22 J Lonergan for Moloney (19 mins), 17 P Feehan for Looram (h-t, 23 S O'Brien for Bowe (52), 19 S Foley for O'Shaughnessy (61), 21 Colman Kennedy for Conal Kennedy (69).
KERRY: 1S Ryan; 2 B Ó Beaglaoich, 3 J Foley, 4 T O'Sullivan (0-2); 5 M Breen, 6 G Crowley, 7 G White; 8 D Moran (0-1), 9 D O'Connor (0-1); 14 M Burns, 11 S O'Shea (0-8, five frees, one 45), 10 S O'Brien; 13 D Clifford (capt; 1-2, one free), 12 P Geaney (0-1), 15 P Clifford (0-1).
Subs: 19 P Murphy for Breen (43 mins), 21 T Walsh for Geaney, 20 K Spillane (0-3) for Burns (both 46), 22 J Barry for D Clifford (54), 18 T Morley for Crowley (62).