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Tom Curran of Clare in action against Cormac Dillon of Kerry during their Munster U-20 Championship game at Quilty. Photograph by John Kelly

Clare blown off course in Under 20 Phase 2 opener

Munster Under 20 Football Championship Phase 2 Round 1
Kerry 1-13 Clare 0-05

A new year but the status quo remains in situ as holders Kerry rolled in and out of West Clare with little fuss to complete a successful first defence of their Munster Under 20 crown in Páirc Naomh Muire, Quilty.
The evening seemed ripe for an upset or at least a revolt as the stormy conditions allied to Clare’s three match Phase 1 experience appeared set to provide a hostile competitive bow for the holders.
Appearances were deceiving though as despite a gale at their backs for the opening period, Clare not only failed to ruffle Kerry’s feathers but never even took the lead at any stage as an early Charlie Keating goal left the home side playing catch-up for the remainder of the half.
Lateral passing and no direct target at the edge of the square, clear anomalies against Tipperary in similar circumstances at the same venue, left home supporters frustrated as while Clare did eventually make up the ground by half-time, thanks to five of the last six points through Darren Keane (2), Conor Fennell, Tom Curran and Daire Culligan, an inevitable onslaught was yet to come.
If containment seemed more the trend in the opening period, the barn door was shut far too late to catch these Kerry bolters as the introduction of exciting talent Luke Crowley at thr break only added to their extensive arsenal.
Unfortunately it was a clear case of backs-to-the-wall damage limitation for the entire second period despite the best efforts of Sean McAllister, Aaron Kelly, Josh Moloney, Darren Keane and Eanna Rouine.
In all, Kerry kept their hosts scoreless while tacking on a further eleven points of their own, five of which stemmed from the ever-threatening Cormac Dillon while midfielders Rob Stack and Eddie Healy’s brace were accentuated by singles for lively replacements Crowley and Paddy Lane.
Clare goalkeeper Cian Corry prevented another substitute Ian O’Sullivan from adding to Clare’s woes as the Banner now need to pick up the pieces for their rematch away to Phase 1 rivals Tipperary next Wednesday, with only the winner carrying any Munster Final hopes into their final round showdown with perennial provincial superpowers Kerry and Cork who also meet in Páirc Uí Chaoimh next week.

Kerry: Michael Tansley (Austin Stacks); Ryan Diggin (Laune Rangers), Dara O’Callaghan (Kilcummin), Gearoid Evans (Keel); Charlie Keating (Dr. Crokes), Darragh O’Connor (Kenmare Shamrocks), Cian Lynch (Glenflesk); Eddie Healy (Listowel Emmets), Rob Stack (Beale); Evan Boyle (Ballyduff), Odhran Ferris (Ardfert), Daniel Kirby (Austin Stacks); Cormac Dillon (Duagh), Tomás Kennedy (Kerins O’Rahilly’s), Aidan Crowley (Templenoe)
Subs: Luke Crowley (Glenflesk) for Boyle (HT), Paddy Lane (Austin Stacks) for A. Crowley (40), Ian O’Sullivan (St Michael’s Foilmore) for Ferris (40), Fionn Murphy (Rathmore) for Kennedy (54), Adam Segal (Ballyduff) for O’Callaghan (57)

Scorers: Cormac Dillon (0-7, 3f); Charlie Keating (1-0); Eddie Healy, Rob Stack (0-2 each); Luke Crowley, Paddy Lane (0-1 each)

Clare: Cian Corry (Killimer); Aaron Kelly (Wolfe Tones), Sean McAllister (Clondegad), Conor Kearney (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Luke Pyne (Éire Óg), Odhran Cunningham (Killimer), Josh Moloney (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Joshua Vaughan (Ennistymon), Eanna Rouine (Ennistymon); Padraic O’Dwyer (St Breckan’s), Sean McMahon (Banner), Darren Keane (Lissycasey); Tom Curran (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Daire Culligan (Lissycasey), Conor Fennell (Kilrush Shamrocks)
Subs: Michael Kelly (Lissycasey) for Pyne (HT, inj), Evan Cahill (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for O’Dwyer (48), Cathal Talty (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Fennell (51), Colm Meaney (Clondegad) for McMahon (54), Caoimhin O’Donovan (Corofin) for Culligan (57)

Scorers: Darren Keane (0-2f); Conor Fennell, Tom Curran, Daire Culligan (f) (0-1 each)

Referee: Jonathan Hayes (Limerick)

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