Gavin O’Connor reports on the EirGrid U21 Munster Football Championship Semi-Final in Austin Stack Park on Wednesday night…
Kerry 1-14 (17)
Limerick 2-8 (14)
TO call Limerick ‘gutsy’ would do them a huge disservice after they pushed hot favourites Kerry to the pin of their collar in a thrilling encounter in Austin Stack Park.
In the final ten minutes, plus five minutes of added time, Kerry outscored Limerick by 0-4 to 0-1.
Two scores from Jordan Kiely and Matthew O’Sullivan in the 65th minute was enough to fend off a Limerick team who were in search of a third goal and a massive upset.
Jack O’Connor’s side were wasteful in front of goal kicking 11 wides to Limerick’s 8 over the course of the hour. The two goals conceded in the second half will also give him plenty to think about ahead of the final against Cork who hammered Waterford by 3-18 to 0-2.
When Limerick’s Killian Ryan goaled three minutes into the second half to put his side 1-5 to 0-7 ahead, it was abundantly clear the Kingdom had serious match on their hands.
The perfect response came with the side hitting 1-1 without reply. The Kerry goal coming through lovely link up play between Jack Savage and Tony Brosnan, with the Dr Crokes man coolly palming the ball to the net.
Limerick came roaring back however and scored 1-1 themselves to put The Treaty county a point in front once again ten minutes into the second half.
After sustaining a number of Limerick attacks, the key moments in the match came on the 46th in 48th minute when Killian Spillane calmed things down with two exquisite points to put Kerry in front once more.
After Spillane’s two points, Kerry never relinquished the lead although Limerick did pull it back to within one with time almost up. Limerick attacked, but the Kingdom defence had finally got its house in order to see out the match.
So much to ponder for Jack O’Connor who was made work the bench in order to plug a few holes that were opened at the back through Limerick’s direct running.
Jack Savage, was again the sides top scorer but, despite the goal assist, had little influence in the second half. Na Gaeil’s Andrew Barry performed well, steaming out of defence with regularity to feed the full forward with quality ball.
Rockie, Greg Horan, was introduced with ten minutes to go to add a bit of physicality to side’s leaky rearguard.
The crowd of 1,712 that paid in were treated to an excellent night’s football. The match had an old open style feel to it, with the teams going man to man for large spells. It’s only a pity we don’t see more games like it.
Scorers for Kerry: Jack Savage (0-5, 4f), Tony Brosnan (1-2) Killian Spillane (0-4), Jordan Kiely (0-2), Barry O’Sullivan (0-1)
Scorers for Limerick: Hugh Bourke (0-6, 5f), Brian Donovan (1-1), Killian Ryan (1-0), Brian O’Donovan (0-1).
1. Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill) 2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht) 3. Cathal Ó Lúing (An Ghaeltacht) 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle) 5. Brian Sugrue (Renard) 6. Andrew Barry (Na Gael)7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes) 8. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle) 9. Matthew O’Sullivan (St Michaels-Foilmore) 10. David Foran (St Senans) 11. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) 12. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue) 13. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes) 14. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) 15. Jack Savage (c) (Kerins O’Rahillys)
18. Eanna O Conchuir (An Ghaeltacht) for D Foran (41)
21. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue) for C O Luing (43)
24. Jordan Kiely (Dr Crokes) for T Brosnan (44)
17. Greg Horan (Austin Stacks) for M O’Sullivan (50)
19. Dan O’Donoghue (Spa) for B Sugrue (54, inj)
22. Conor Geaney (Dingle) for B Ó Seanachain (57)
1. Andrew Ruddle (Newcastle West), 2. Sean O’Dea (Kilteely-Dromkeen) 3. Stephen Cahill (Mountcollins) 4. Maurice O’Sullivan (Galtee Gaels) 5. Michael O’Donovan (Galbally) 6. Sean Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon) 7. Gordon Brown (Na Piarsaigh) 21. Jack English (Adare) 9. Tommie Childs (Galtee Gaels) 10. Sean Murphy (Newcastle West) 11. Killian Ryan (Mungret St Pauls)
12. Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen) 13. Hugh Bourke (Adare) 14. Cian Sheehan (Newcastle West) 15. Brian Donovan (Monaleen)
19. Stephen Brosnan (Newcastle West) for English (17 min, inj)
23. Shane Costello (Adare) for T Childs (47)
17. David Connoly (Adare) for M O’Sullivan (49)
20. Kieran Daly (Na Piarsaigh) for S Murphy (59)
18. Cormac Flanagan (Crecora) for S Flannagan (64)
Referee: A Kissane (Waterford)