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Clare's David Tubridy pushes past Kerry's Tom O'Sullivan. Photograph by John Kelly

FOOTBALL: Battling Banner bow out at the hands of cut-throat Kingdom in Killarney

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Kerry 3-22 Clare 1-11

KERRY expectedly marched on to a Munster Semi-Final meeting with holders Tipperary on away soil in a fortnight’s time after keeping Clare at arm’s length in Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday evening, reports Eoin Brennan.

A veritable graveyard for the Banner, the Killarney venue was greeted by a much more entertaining spectacle than their last two attempts. Ultimately however, the cut-throat knock-out nature of the tie meant that any hint of a moral victory was redundant on this occasion for a battling Banner.
Things looked ominous in the early stages when Kerry and more pointedly Seanie O’Shea (4) sliced through Clare with ease to kick five unanswered points within the first eight minutes. However, despite facing into a strong wind, when Clare did finally get out of their own half, they were effective and after a potential goal opportunity for Gavin Cooney, substitute Emmet McMahon finally opened Clare’s account just before the water break at 0-5 to 0-1.
Not content with that, Clare start to build further confidence on the resumption and matched home points for David Clifford (2) and Paul Geaney with a trio of like scores from Eoin Cleary, one better than the next to keep the gap to four at 0-8 to 0-4 by the 27th minute.
Just when it seemed as if Clare would remain within striking distance for a wind assisted second period, the Banner duly suit the self-destruction button just before the break when a misplaced pass at halfway went straight to Paudie Clifford to play an immediate inch-perfect ball over the top for Seanie O’Shea to collect and dispatch under advancing goalkeeper Stephen Ryan ay 1-9 to 0-4. So while Podge Collins responded a point, that sucker-punch would leave the visitors longing for half-time as the Clifford brothers finished the half with singles to secure a 1-11 to 0-05 interval lead.
Clare continued to be combative on the restart and matched their hosts in terms of possession as well as edging matters the scoreboard in the third quarter. However, with this being win-or-bust, the Banner just weren’t ruthless or inventive enough in the final third to spark any tangible lifeline at 1-13 to 0-08.
Once Kerry started emptying their bench coming down the final straight, the home side’s fresh legs allied to a fading Clare collective appeared to suggest a fleshing out of the final margin, particularly when chief marksmen O’Shea (2) and David Clifford converted three-in-a-row entering the final ten minutes at 1-18 to 0-09.
However, a David Tubridy goal did keep the deficit below double figures until late majors for David Clifford and substitute Micheál Burns put the icing on the cake for the Kingdom.
True to form, Clare battled to the final whistle but while there was no doubting the merits of the victor, Clare’s efforts certainly didn’t warrant their season to be completed in June.

Clare captain Eoin Cleary leaves the field, as victorious Kerry players warm down in the background. Photograph by John Kelly
Clare’s Darren O’Neill races away from Kerry’s Dara Moynihan. Photograph by John Kelly

Kerry: Kieran Fitzgibbon; Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan; Mike Breen, Gavin Crowley, Gavin White; David Moran, Diarmuid O’Connor; Stephen O’Brien, Paudie Clifford, Dara Moynihan; David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Seán O’Shea
Subs: Killian Spillane for Moynihan (52), Tadhg Morley for O’Sullivan (52), Tommy Walsh for O’Brien (55), Adrian Spillane for Moran (57), Micheál Burns for D. Clifford (67)

Scorers: Seanie O’Shea (1-7, 3f); David Clifford (1-6, 3f); Killian Spillane (0-3); Micheál Burns (1-0); Paudie Clifford, Gavin White (0-2 each); Paul Geaney, David Moran (0-1 each)

Clare:
Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks); Conall Ó hÁiniféin (Ruan), Conor Jordan (Austin Stacks, Kerry), Cillian Brennan (Clondegad); Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora), Sean Collins (Cratloe); Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg), Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels); Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare), Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Podge Collins (Cratloe); Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen), David Tubridy (Doonbeg)
Subs: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart) for O’Connor (15, inj), Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon) for Ó hÁiniféin (17), Joe McGann (St Breckan’s) for P. Collins (HT, inj), Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Jordan (43), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Cooney (48)

Scorers: Eoin Cleary (0-6, 2f); David Tubridy (1-1, 1f); Darragh Bohannon (0-2); Emmet McMahon, Podge Collins (0-1 each)

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

Clare’s Eoin Cleary celebrates a point. Photograph by John Kelly
Clare’s Cillian Brennan holds off Kerry’s Paul Geaney during their Munster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final at Killarney. Photograph by John Kelly

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