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2022 McGrath Cup Football Group B Round 1 – Kerry 2-23 Limerick 0-6
Kerry defeated Limerick by 2-23 to 0-6 in Round 1 of the 2022 McGrath Cup Football Group B on Wednesday January 5th at Austin Stack Park Tralee.
Full Match Video & Post-Match Interview with Kerry Manager Jack O’Connor
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Jack O'Connor's Kerry return off to flying start as Clifford brothers lead the way https://t.co/F8EyjbND8E
— Irish Examiner Sport (@ExaminerSport) January 5, 2022
Jack O’Connor’s Kerry return off to flying start as Clifford brothers lead the way
Report by Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper
McGrath Cup Group B: Kerry 2-23 Limerick 0-6
A winning return for Jack O’Connor, his third coming as Kerry manager beginning with an emphatic 23-point thumping of Limerick in this McGrath Cup Group B opener.
With the calendar reading January 5 and this being the county’s opening fixture of the new season, the expectation was that an experimental Kerry team would be put out at Austin Stack Park. And while the starting team named earlier in the day did contain three debutants in Dan O’Donoghue, Pa Warren, and Stefan Okunbor, it also included eight players who began last August’s extra-time All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tyrone.
The latter stat contributed heavily to the lopsided nature of proceedings, Paul Geaney and the Clifford brothers – who kicked 2-9 between them in the opening half – running riot as Kerry sped 16 points clear come the interval.
Of the Kerry newcomers, both Warren and midfielder Stefan Okunbor were withdrawn at half-time, their early calling ashore linked to the fact that their respective clubs, Gneeveguilla and Na Gaeil, are in Munster club final action the weekend after next.
Kerry replacements were to the fore during a drab and lifeless second period, Tony Brosnan, Sean O’Shea, and Micheál Burns on the mark from play.
The game as a contest, as noted above, was long over when John Ryan’s half-time whistle sounded, the hosts 2-13 to 0-3 in front.
Limerick set out their defensive stall right from the off, all 14 outfield Limerick players retreating inside their own half after debutant Okunbor rose well to win the throw-in. Kerry proceeded to hold possession for the first minute and 42 seconds of action until eventually, Limerick made their white wall count as three Limerick shirts forced Gavin Crowley to overcarry. It was, however, to prove one of the few occasions where Limerick succeeded in thwarting a Kerry attack.
With the Kerry forward unit containing five of the six players who started last season’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tyrone, Limerick were both overrun and outplayed by the sheer strength and skillset of the Kingdom attack.
Most noticeable for January 5 was the sharpness of the Kerry forwards, particularly so their passing, with a number of marks made throughout the opening half.
The Clifford brothers proved the most troublesome of the Kerry forwards early doors, with the All-Star siblings accounting for all bar one point of Kerry’s opening 2-6.
Paudie delivered the opening major of the evening five minutes in after debutant Pa Warren overran a clever David Clifford handpass.
It was roles reversed for their second green flag on 11 minutes; Paudie involved in the build-up, David volleying to the net.
Also involved in the creation of Kerry’s second goal was Paul Geaney, the 31-year-old becoming the first Kerry forward outside of the Clifford men to write his name onto the scoresheet when throwing over a brace on 21 and 23 minutes. So impressive was Geaney’s distribution of possession, the Dingle corner-forward providing the final pass for several of Kerry’s first-half points.
The workrate of the Kerry forwards when not in possession was another catching feature of the first 35 minutes, the greatest example of such coming on 13 minutes when the younger of the Clifford brothers dispossessed a Limerick player close to the 65-metre line in the Kerry half of the field.
Limerick centre-back Cillian Fahy kicked two of their three first-half points, with three points again all they could muster in the second period.
Kerry are away to Tipperary next Wednesday evening in their second and last Group B outing.
Scorers for Kerry: D Clifford (1-4, 0-1 mark, 0-1 free); P Clifford (1-2); S O’Shea (0-4, 0-3 frees); P Geaney (0-3, 0-1 free, 0-1 mark), T Brosnan (0-3, 0-1 free); K Spillane (0-2); P Warren, M Breen, D Moynihan, S O’Brien, M Burns (0-1 each).
Scorers for Limerick: C Fahy (0-2); D Noonan, P Nash, R Bourke, L O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
Kerry: S Murphy; D O’Donoghue, J Foley, T O’Sullivan; P Warren, M Breen, G Crowley; S Okunbor, A Spillane; D Moynihan, P Clifford, S O’Brien; K Spillane, D Clifford, P Geaney.
Subs: T Brosnan for Clifford, C Gammell for Warren, S O’Shea for Okunbor (all HT); B Ó Beaglaíoch for Breen, M Burns for P Clifford (both 44); J Savage for Moynihan (48); P O’Shea for A Spillane (49); D Roche for Geaney (54).
Limerick: D O’Sullivan; J Liston, L Murphy, M O’Sullivan; T McCarthy, C Fahy, C McSweeney; D Treacy, R Bourke; P De Brún, R O’Brien, H Bourke; D Noonan, D Kelly, P Nash.
Subs: L O’Sullivan for M O’Sullivan (15 mins, inj); J Hayes for O’Brien, B Coleman for R Bourke (both 47); S Barry for D Kelly (54); D Ranahan for Liston (58).
Referee: J Ryan (Cork).
Post-Match Interview with Kerry Manager Jack O’Connor
Thanks to Jack O'Connor for giving his time to chat with us right after his first game back in charge of @Kerry_Official senior football team. @LmkFootballers @TipperaryGAA @TippfootballGAA @GaaClare @OfficialCorkGAA @WaterfordGAA pic.twitter.com/Q3s3adtRwT
— Clubber (@ClubberGaa) January 7, 2022
Live Streaming Statement
As some users are still unable to access the Live Stream of tonight’s McGrath Cup game, all subscribers will be refunded. Footage of the full game will be posted free-to-air on our online platforms after the completion of tonight’s game. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. pic.twitter.com/5Fcb2aHaHv
— Munster GAA (@MunsterGAA) January 5, 2022
KERRY: Shane Murphy; Dan O’Donoghue, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan; Pa Warren, Mike Breen Gavin Crowley; Stefan Okunbor, Adrian Spillane; Dara Moynihan Paudie Clifford Stephen O’Brien; Killian Spillane; David Clifford Paul Geaney.
LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Jim Liston, Luke Murphy, Maurice O’Sullivan; Tony McCarthy, Cillian Fahy, Colm McSweeney; Darragh Tracey, Adrian Enright; Padraig De Brún, James Naughton, Dara Noonan; Peter Nash, Robbie Bourke, Hugh Bourke.
LIMERICK SENIOR FOOTBALL TEAM TO PLAY KERRY IN McGRATH CUP IS SELECTED https://t.co/HyFBsyUJXh
— Limerick GAA (@LimerickCLG) January 3, 2022
— Kerry GAA (@Kerry_Official) January 5, 2022