McGrath Cup Football S-Final – Kerry v Tipperary

Kerry defeated Tipperary by 0-13 to 1-9 in the McGrath Cup Football Semi-Final on Sunday in Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney.

Kerry master McGrath test

From the Irish Examiner newspaper

Kerry 0-13 Tipperary 1-9

Monday, January 25, 2010

THE Kerry management are confident of having their goal-keeping position resolved before the end of the Allianz NFL, with coach Jack O’Connor indicating after yesterday’s game in Fitzgerald Stadium that they are unlikely to “spread the net” beyond the three players who have filled the position so far in the McGrath Cup following Diarmuid Murphy’s retirement.

Kilcummin’s Brendan Kealy was the one who stood in yesterday, having relatively little to do apart from making a confident high catch at the start of each half before having the ball kicked under his legs for the only goal of this semi-final.

That came from hard-working midfielder George Hannigan five minutes from the end of normal time and it put Tipperary briefly in front until substitutes James O’Donoghue and Barry John Keane combined to produce an equalising score three minutes later.

After that, Cromane’s Donncha Walsh kicked the winning score at the start of three minutes of injury time but it was inexperience – when two late frees from around midfield were kicked into Kerry hands – that cost the visitors the opportunity to take the game to extra-time.

On the broader front, the Kerry boss expects to have most if not all of his regulars back in the panel by the third round of the league (on March 7).

“We’ll experiment a bit during the league. We rotated the goalies last year, because we wanted to give Ger Reidy a bit of experience,’’ explained O’Connor.

“Sooner or later we’re going to have to settle fellows down and give them a bit of confidence. You can’t keep chopping and changing all the time.’’

However, O’Connor is pleased with the way they have started the new season. “We are able to train away during the week and having a game at the weekend to look forward to is good,’’ he commented. “We have put in a couple of good weeks training and this was a step up today.”

Former Laune Rangers manager John Evans, in charge of Tipperary for the third season (and recently appointed director of football in the county) accepted that the game was “slow” in the first half and that after his team “upped it considerably” in the second half, Kerry responded.

Interestingly, both Kerrymen endorsed the ‘mark’ experiment and concurred that the ‘handpass’ change is virtually a waste of time.

Jack O’Connor wasn’t happy with some of Michael Collins’ decision-making, saying that while the referee didn’t penalise players for hand-passing, “he did pull a few other things”.

While Tipperary got the opening score, from Declan Hahessy in the fifth minute, we waited until the 20th before Seamus Scanlon kicked the first point from play. Tipp were quicker to settle and worked the ball well out of defence – where the returning Niall Curran had a successful outing against a largely out-of-touch Kieran Donaghy – but they lacked real scoring power.

Likewise, a Kerry side featuring only four of the players who started in the All-Ireland final, wasn’t very forceful in attack, apart from Declan O’Sullivan and Donncha Walsh also prominent at stages. Principally because they controlled midfield through Micheal Quirke (who made seven marks), Kerry impressed more when they began to get their game together, and led 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.

The third quarter was much more competitive, with Tipp substitute Seamus Grogan making an immediate impression at full-forward, but the more steady Kerry remained in front, with Paul O’Connor’s free-taking decisive.

However, two Conor Sweeney frees brought Tipp to within a point by the 53rd minute, before Hannigan got the goal. But, they didn’t have the strength to hold out for a win.

Expressing ‘delight’ with the way his team is improving, Evans says that Tipperary’s principal objective is to retain their Division Two status.

Scorers for Kerry: P. O’Connor 0-4 (0-3 frees); D. O’Sullivan, D. Walsh and S. Scanlon 0-2 each; K. O’Leary (free), M. Corridan and B.J. Keane 0-1 each.

Tipperary: C. Sweeney 0-4 frees; G. Hannigan 1-0; S. Grogan 0-2; D. Hahessy (free), B. Grogan and A. Rockett 0-1 each.

KERRY: B. Kealy; P. Reidy, T. Griffin, A. O’Connell; M. Corridan, A. O’Mahony, K. Young (capt.); S. Scanlon, M. Quirke; D. Walsh, Declan O’Sullivan, B. Looney; K. O’Leary, K. Donaghy, P. O’Connor.

Subs: P. Galvin for Looney (second half); B. J. Keane for O’Sullivan and J. O’Donoghue for O’Leary (50); Alan O’Sullivan for Scanlon (58).

TIPPERARY: P. Fitzgerald; C. Morrissey, N. Curran (capt.), A. Morrissey; C. McGrath, R. Costigan, C. Aylward; G. Hannigan, C. Dillon; S. Carey, S. Hahessy, P. Acheson; C. Sweeney, B. Coen, B. Grogan.

Subs: A. Rockett for Dillon (28th minute); S. Grogan for Hahessy (second half); J. Cagney for Carey (39); H. Coghlan for McGrath (50); E. Kearney for Acheson (59).

Referee: Michael Collins (Cork).
Kerry just manage to see off Tipp

From the Irish Times newspaper

McGRATH CUP/Kerry 0-13 Tipperary 1-9: WHILE THIS McGrath Cup semi-final meeting of Jack O’Connor’s Kerry and the John Evans-led Tipperary was slow to get going, there was enough bite in the second half to satisfy both Kerry men, but this one-point win for Kerry will have little bearing when the sides lock horns next May in the Munster senior football championship.

Both managers are still tinkering with their sides, as Kerry started with only four of the side who started in last September’s All-Ireland final, though Paul Galvin made his entrance at half-time, and Micheál Quirke, Donnacha Walsh and Kieran Donaghy and Pádraig Reidy all played some part in the championship last season.

The search for Diarmuid Murphy’s successor goes on as O’Connor used his third goalkeeper in as many games, when former Kerry minor and under-21 goalkeeper Brendan Kealy played in goal.

O’Connor was pleased with the win and the way some of the younger players have taken their chance: It has worked out well for us, we are able to train away during the week and having a game at the weekend to look forward to is good.”

One of the main talking points of the game was the mark and Mike Quirke managed seven.

“Micheál (Quirke) catches a lot of ball and he was particularly good today,” said O’Connor, “as I said last week the mark certainly has possibilities, but overall the rules were not a big issue today, the game itself was a good lively game.”

The first quarter of the match was poor as Quirke and Séamus Scanlon ruled the roost at midfield but the distribution and passing by both sides was poor and typical January fare.

Kerry led by 0-7 to 0-3 at half-time, but Tipperary brought it back to 0-7 to 0-6 within five minutes of the restart.

Kerry, with Reidy, Tommy Griffin and Aidan O’Mahony solid upped their game, had points from Scanlon, Maurice Corridan and Paul O’Connor with a free pushed them four clear with just 15 left.

However, Tipperary refused to give up and two Sweeney frees were followed by a well-taken George Hannigan goal in the 55th minute to give Tipp the lead on 1-9 to 0-11 and there was a whiff of an upset in the air.

Then Kerry dug deep and experience told as firstly youngsters James O’Donoghue and Barry John Keane combined for the latter to kick the equaliser and then in the final minute a Donaghy ground pass was picked up by Donnacha Walsh who kicked the winning point.

KERRY: B Kealy; P Reidy, T Griffin, A O’Connell; M Corridan (0-1), A O’Mahony, K Young; S Scanlon (0-2), M Quirke; D Walsh (0-2), Declan O’Sullivan (0-2), B Looney; K O’Leary (0-1, free), K Donaghy, P O’Connor (0-4, three frees). Subs: P Galvin for B Looney (half-time), J O’Donoghue for K O’Leary (50 mins), BJ Keane (0-1) for D O’Sullivan (50 mins), Alan O’Sullivan for S Scanlon (58 mins)

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; C Morrissey, N Curran, A Morrissey; C McGrath, R Costigan, C Aylward; G Hannigan (1-0), C Dillon; S Carey, S Hahessy (0-1, free), P Acheson; C Sweeney (0-4, frees), B Coen, B Grogan (0-1). Subs: A Rockett (0-1) for C Dillon (28 mins), S Grogan (0-2) for S Hahessy (half-time), J Cagney for S Carey (39 mins), H Coghlan for C McGrath (50 mins), E Kearney for P Acheson (58 mins).

Referee: M Collins (Cork).

Kerry will take on UCC in the decider next weekend.

Kerry edge into McGrath Cup final

Kerry 0-13 Tipperary 1-9

From Breakingnews.ie

Cromane clubman Donncha Walsh hit the winning point as Kerry battled their way through to next Sunday’s McGrath Cup final, edging out Tipperary 0-13 to 1-9 in a well-contested semi-final at Fitzgerald Stadium.

In sunny conditions, Kerry manager Jack O’Connor and Tipperary boss John Evans fielded two talent-laden teams and a late goal from midfielder George Hannigan had Tipp just minutes away from an early season upset.

Hannigan finished off a length of the pitch move, firing low past Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy who hardly put a foot wrong during the hour-long contest – particularly under some testing high balls.

The goal put Evans’ men into a 1-9 to 0-11 lead but they were overhauled at the death as closing points from Barry John Keane and Walsh saw Kerry book their place in the cup decider against UCC.

Having missed an earlier free, Stephen Hahessy opened the scoring for Tipperary in the sixth minute and there was very little between the sides until Kerry broke into a four-point lead coming up to half-time.

The Killian Young-led Kingdom side hit the front with Kieran O’Leary and Paul O’Connor pointing frees. Micheal Quirke impressed under the high ball, taking a number of excellent marks in midfield and Kieran Donaghy and Tipperary full-back Niall Curran enjoyed a ding dong battle on the ground and in the air.

Seamus Scanlon and Tipp free-taker Conor Sweeney swapped points before Kerry enjoyed their first real purple patch, ignited by a fine run and point from a sharp-looking Declan O’Sullivan.

With Padraig Reidy clearing well in defence, the All-Ireland champions pressed on with points from Donncha Walsh, O’Sullivan again and O’Connor. Tipp’s only response was a well-taken point on the turn from Barry Grogan.

All that left the Premier County with a 0-7 to 0-3 deficit to mull over during half-time, although Curran, Hahessy, Sean Carey and Christopher Aylward got through some excellent work for the visitors in the opening half.

The Kerry management sent Paul Galvin on for the second half and the 2009 Footballer of the Year had plenty of influence as his side opened up a 0-11 to 0-8 gap. However, they needed Galvin’s presence as Tipp, with their superior fitness levels coming to the fore, had briefly made it a single point game – 0-7 to 0-6.

They began the second half by stroking over three points on the bounce, with Seamus Grogan (0-2) and Sweeney both on target. Kerry, doing just enough to keep ahead, carved out points for Scanlon, Maurice Corridan and free-taker O’Connor, who landed four placed balls in all.

At the other end, Alan Rockett and Sweeney added to Tipp’s tally before a slick passing move ended with Hannigan beating Kealy from close range.

But Kerry failed to panic. The levelling point came from Keane after a neat link-up with James O’Donoghue and then Walsh shot Kerry through to a meeting with UCC, his former college.