Wednesday 23 May 2018

Kingdom add to their Munster haul but will be concerned about defensive frailities

Kerry 3-17 Tipperary 2-10 Munster SFC final

Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kerry’s Paul Murphy. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The Munster SFC final pairing may have had a new look to it but the result was the same old story.

Kerry are Munster senior football champions for a 78th time after securing a ten-point victory over Tipperary in yesterday afternoon's decider at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.

Paul Geaney bagged 2-3 for the hosts as Tipperary, appearing in their first provincial senior decider since 2002, started well and goaled within a minute before being outclassed.

This was a routine victory for Kerry but Tipp showed enough going forward, when they did decide to display some adventure, to suggest that the Kingdom's defence could struggle against a better attack and midfield.

Tipp scored two goals, could have had another, but seemed to content to sit deep for the most part and absorb Kerry pressure.

Perhaps a more attacking approach could have yielded further dividends for Tipperary but Kerry put up a brick wall around the middle third and the visitors struggled to break through.

They did get in for a first minute goal, scored by Jimmy Feehan, but once Kerry settled, there would only be one winner.

The writing was on the wall for Tipperary at half-time as a nine-point turnaround saw them trail by 1-4 to 2-7.

Paul Murphy registered the Kingdom's first goal low to the bottom right corner at the end of a flowing team move in the 18th minute and Man of the Match Paul Geaney only had one thing on his mind as he finished with aplomb to the left side of the net ten minutes later. Murphy's point made it double scores, 2-6 to 1-3, with Darran O'Sullivan swivelling to kick a fine Kerry point in between the two goals.

Sheehan nonchalantly stroked over the first score after the resumption to make it double scores again and Stephen O'Brien grabbed his first point on 40 minutes before Kevin O'Halloran connected beautifully to register a '45'.

Brian Kelly made a decent save to deny Michael Quinlivan a second Tipp goal as the gap stayed at seven with 25 minutes left.

Geaney's third point was superb and the Kerry No 14's second goal on 48 minutes was even better - the Dingle man collected a pass from substitute David Moran and ran at the heart of the Tipperary defence before planting a great left-footed shot across the goal to the far right corner to push the home side 3-10 to 1-5 clear.

With the game over as anything remotely resembling a contest, the losers staged a late rally with a lovely Robbie Kiely goal and an O'Halloran brace before Quinlivan pointed in between Kingdom subs James O'Donoghue (free) and Mikey Geaney.

Five minutes from time, O'Donoghue cancelled out a Quinlivan free.

Another substitute Barry John Keane and O'Donoghue (free) added late points for the hosts, while sub Alan Moloney hit back for Qualifier-bound Tipp before O'Donoghue showed he is ready for a full return to action by curling over his fourth point from a late free.

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