All-Ireland SF Qualifiers Round 4 – Kerry v Antrim

All-Ireland Senior Football Qualifiers Round 4

Kerry defeated Antrim by 2-12 to 1-10 in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifiers on Sunday in Tullamore.

Kingdom survive another storm

Kerry 2-12 Antrim 1-10

By Brendan O’Brien for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, July 27, 2009

SO, why all the fuss? Here August comes and with it another Kerry team preparing for an All-Ireland quarter-final. Same as it ever was then, yeah? Well, yes and no. How could it, with Colm Cooper and Tomás O Sé starting on the bench? As expected, the pair were made cool their heels on the sideline after their infractions last weekend but both were eventually called on by Jack O’Connor who, despite everything, has again taken Kerry to the last eight of the championship. As expected, Antrim ran them close. The sides were level with eight minutes of normal time to play but then came Paul Galvin’s goal, Kerry’s second, and the prospect of a seismic shock subsided. The Gooch and O Sé were two-fifths of a second wave that O’Connor badly needed after a dispiriting first-half performance that ended with Kerry lucky to be just a point in arrears. Yes, they were that bad. Killian Young came in for Tomás O Sé at wing-back, to good effect, but it wasn’t so simple up front where, Cooper’s omission aside, a number of other changes were made. Tadhg Kennelly came back from injury, Darran O’Sullivan got the nod to start in the corner and Declan O’Sullivan was pushed up to the edge of the square with Tommy Walsh shuffling over to the left.

It was hardly surprising, they lacked cohesion going forward, especially in the first half when it was hard to know whether to blame ball to the forwards or the receivers’ failure to present themselves as a target. Now and then, glimpses of their capabilities emerged, as in the 12th minute when Darran O’Sullivan and Tadhg Kennelly combined to present Tommy Walsh with the space to slot a shot low to the net. Darran O’Sullivan saw a chance of a second goal rebound off keeper John Finucane two minutes later but Kerry’s form began to disintegrate from there to the half-time whistle. Two terrible frees, one from Sean O’Sullivan and another from Declan O’Sullivan that flew 15 yards wide, were symbolic of their travails and Antrim seized the opportunity. Tony Scullion kickstarted it with a goal 19 minutes in. That he should have been pulled up for steps is immaterial now and his fellow wing-back James Loughrey almost added a second four minutes from the break. That pair were pouring forward stage safe with Terry O’Neill back holding the fort.

Unfortunately for Antrim, their shooting was every bit as bad as Kerry’s general play and they must have feared the worst when they saw Cooper jogging on before the interval in place of Sean O’Sullivan. Something was needed because Kerry went 16 minutes of the first half without a score and another 10 minutes spanning both sides of the interval. This despite an almost total dominance of the midfield. It was that battleground that won them the game. By the game’s end they claimed over 71% of the game’s 35 kickouts. It was no surprise they won more frees on the restart. Another key to their improvement was Mike McCarthy who called O’Neill’s bluff playing practically as a half-forward. The Kilcummin centre-back ran riot through the centre of Antrim’s defence in the third quarter.

Cooper extracted the maximum reward for those efforts with four frees and Paul Galvin added another from play before Liam Bradley saw fit to call O’Neill to the line. O’Connor trumped that by sending in Micheal Quirke. The Kerins O’Rahillys man had saved Kerry’s bacon in Longford and he was in imperious form again for 15 minutes here. Galvin’s goal stemmed directly from the big man’s catch and quick ball forward. Michael McCann did his best to keep Antrim in business with four points in the last 15 minutes but Kerry finally discovered something resembling their old groove with four of the last five points. For Kerry, tentative signs that their worst performances may finally be behind them. That said, yesterday’s performances won’t suffice for an All-Ireland quarter-final. Not by a long shot. Theirs’ is a season that remains very much in the balance.

Scorers for Antrim: M McCann 0-4 (3f), T Scullion 1-0, P Cunningham 0-3 (2f), T McCann 0-2, C Close 0-1.

Scorers for Kerry: T Walsh 1-2, C Cooper 0-4f, P Galvin 1-2, P O’Connor 0-2f, Declan O’Sullivan 0-1, S O’Sullivan 0-1f.

Subs for Antrim: A Douglas for O’Boyle 13, C Murray for Close 50, K Brady for O’Neill 54, S Burke for Niblock 65.

Subs for Kerry: C Cooper for Sean O’Sullivan 31, T O Sé for O’Mahony 48, D Walsh for Kennelly 48, P O’Connor for Darran O’Sullivan 57, M Quirke for Scanlon 58.

Referee: J White (Donegal)

Kerry 2-12 Antrim 1-10

Report from the RTE.ie web site

Sunday, 26 July 2009 15:49

Kerry finally made it to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, but once again they were made to battle all the way by another would-be giant-killer in Antrim. Jack O’Connor still has many problems to iron out with his misfiring side, but he will have been encouraged by a much-improved second-half performance in Tullamore. Having struggled to get the better of Longford, Sligo and now Antrim, the Kingdom continue to struggle for form. Kerry struck a major blow in the 12th-minute when Tadhg Kennelly slipped a pass inside to Tommy Walsh, and the big Kerins O’Rahilly’s man drilled a low shot past John Finucane. Moments later, Finucane pulled off a brilliant save from Darran O’Sullivan, who got on the end of a sweeping move involving Paul Galvin and Declan O’Sullivan.

Declan O’Sullivan eased the Kingdom into a 1-02 to 0-01 lead, but Antrim responded with a well-worked goal, with James Loughrey making ground on the right before slipping the ball to fellow wing back Tony Scullion, who rounded goalkeeper Diarmuid Murphy before planting the ball in an empty net. Kerry went 17 minutes without scoring, during which both Sean O’Sullivan and Declan O’Sullivan were guilty of glaring misses from easy frees, prompting the introduction of Colm Cooper on the half-hour. Tommy Walsh brought the Munster men level, but Ciaran Close’s fisted point in stoppage time sent the Saffrons in with a 1-04 to 1-03 interval lead.

Cooper converted two frees to bring the sides level 10 minutes into the second half, and two minutes later regained the lead for Kerry. Mike McCarthy’s surging runs forced Antrim to concede the frees from which Cooper punished the Ulster side, but Michael McCann steered over three Antrim frees, and with 10 minutes to play, the sides were still deadlocked on 1-08 each. But the game took an irreversible twist in the Kingdom’s favour when Michael Quirke fetched at midfield, and Donnacha Walsh sent Galvin in to finish to the net from close range. It was all over for brave Antrim, and Kerry finished the job off with a string of points from Paul O’Connor and Galvin.

Kerry: D Murphy, M O Se, T Griffin, T O’Sullivan, K Young, M McCarthy, A O’Mahony, D O Se, S Scanlon, P Galvin (1-2), T Kennelly, Darren O’Sullivan, T Walsh (1-2), Declan O’Sullivan (0-1), S O’Sullivan (0-1, f).

Subs: C Cooper (0-4, 4f) for S O’Sullivan (30), T O Se for O’Mahony (43), D Walsh for Kennelly (43), P O’Connor (0-2, 2f) for Darran O’Sullivan (56), M Quirke for Scanlon (58)

Antrim: J Finucane, C Brady, A McClean, K O’Boyle, T Scullion (1-0), J Crozier, J Loughrey, M McCann (0-4, 3f), A Gallagher, T O’Neill, C Close (0-1), N McKeever, P Cunningham (0-3, 2f), K Niblock, T McCann (0-2).

Subs: A Douglas for O’Boyle (13), C Murray for Close (49), K Brady for O’Neill (53), S Burke for Niblock (64)

Referee: J White (Donegal)

Match Preview

This will be only the third game between Antrim and Kerry in championship history.

They last met in the 1946 All-Ireland semi-final when Kerry won by 2-7 to 0-10.

Antrim won their first meeting back in 1912, beating Kerry by 3-5 to 0-2 in an All- Ireland semi-final, played at Jones’s Road which now houses Croke Park.

2009 Championship

Antrim 1-10 Donegal 0-12

Antrim 0-13 Cavan 1-7

Tyrone 1-18 Antrim 0-15 (Ulster final)

Cork 1-10 Kerry 0-13 (draw)

Cork 1-17 Kerry 0-12 (replay)

Kerry 1-12 Longford 0-11

Kerry 0-14 Sligo 1-10