McGrath Cup Football Final – Kerry 0-13 Clare 1-7

Geaney the Kerry ace as focus turns to Cork

Kerry 0-13 Clare 1-07

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, January 31, 2011

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. January has been about auditions for Jack O’Connor. The Kerry boss has sifted through 29 players in four McGrath Cup ties and gained an insight into the men who may force their way into his plans for the season ahead.

O’Connor agreed: “The competition has been good in the sense that we got four good games out of it. It’s been more productive than last year’s campaign. This time of year it’s about trying to introduce new lads to this type of environment. It’s a big step up for those lads from club level. Obviously a lot of the established defenders are out like Tom Sullivan, Killian Young and Tommy Griffin. So from that point of view, it’s been good that the younger fellas have got a chance. They haven’t left us down as well. We tried to mix and match as much as we could. We’ve gone through a lot of players over the month. We’ve done a lot of good quality training as well. And it was nice to win it in the end.”

Of the newcomers, O’Connor will have been pleased with the Legion duo of Padraig O’Connor and Jonathan Lyne in defence. They were solid and reliable along the left flank, and both benefited from the calming influences of Marc and Tomás Ó’Sé in the spine of the rearguard. 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. Opponents 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)

Kerry dominate Clare

By Murt Murphy for the Irish Independent newspaper

McGrath Cup Final

Sunday January 30 2011

Kerry 0-13 Clare 1-7

Kerry proved far too strong for a disappointing Clare side 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 dreadful 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: Tomás Mac An tSaoir; Pádraig Reidy, Marc O Se, Pádraig O’Connor; Aidan O’Mahony, Tomás Ó Sé (Captain), Jonathan Lyne; Seamus Scanlon, David Moran; Gary Sayers, Darran O’Sullivan, Donnchadh Walsh; David Geaney, Michael O’Donoghue, Paul Geaney
Subs: Barry O’Grady for G Sayers (h-t), Alan Fitzgerald for M O’Donoghue (h-t), Danny O’Sullivan for P O’Connor (55), Eamon Hickson for A O’Mahony (57), Pa 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)

All photos courtesy of George Hatchell