All Ireland Senior Football Quarter-Final
Kerry 2-16 Clare 0-11
Munster champions Kerry left neighbours Clare with a depressingly familiar feeling as the Kingdom cruised through to the last four of the Championship.
Goals from Donnchadh Walsh and Darran O’Sullivan were crucial at Croke Park as Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s men repeated their big win over Clare in the Munster championship on the national stage.Their reward is an August 28 semi-final clash with Dublin or Donegal, a tie that is sure to excite regardless of the opposition.
James O’Donoghue and Paul Geaney also contributed 0-8 between them while Barry John Keane made a pressing case for inclusion the next day with three points from the bench. For first-time quarter-finalists Clare, the dream is over though it has been a famous summer and they weren’t disgraced by any means.
It was looking promising for The Banner initially and the teams were tied at 0-3 to 0-3 after 20 minutes. All of Clare’s points came from placed balls with David Tubridy converting two frees and Eoin Cleary notching the other. However Kerry’s opening goal in the 21st minute put clear daylight between them for the first time and was a dagger through Clare’s hopes of progressing. It was a bizarre strike and hugely unfortunate for Clare as Paul Murphy’s attempted hop bounced off his heel and into the path of Walsh who volleyed it in from close range.
It began a burst of Kerry scoring that saw them hit 1-4 without reply which saw them take firm control of the game. O’Donoghue hit a lovely point from the left wing while O’Sullivan kicked two in this period as Clare were pinned back. Fitzmaurice’s men got plenty of joy from high, diagonal ball into their forward line and to Paul Geaney in particular. Pearse Lillis scored Clare’s first point in 18 minutes approaching half-time but Kerry responded with O’Donoghue’s third point to lead convincingly at the break, 1-8 to 0-4.
Clare were unfortunate not to grab at least a goal themselves in the second-half, hitting the post with one effort and having an effort cleared off the line by Kerry sub Aidan O’Mahony. But the 2014 All-Ireland winners were always in control and O’Sullivan’s goal in the 41st minute, a left foot rocket to the top right corner, put them in a commanding position with a 2-8 to 0-5 lead.
Fitzmaurice introduced six subs throughout the second-half and Bryan Sheehan was among the scorers after coming on as they made light of Clare’s challenge and settled for an 11-point win.
Kerry: B Kelly; S Enright, M Griffin, K Young; B Ó Beaglaoich, P Crowley, T Morley; K Donaghy, D Moran; S O’Brien (0-1), P Murphy, D Walsh (1-1); D O’Sullivan (1-2), P Geaney (0-3, 1f) , J O’Donoghue (0-5, 3f).
Subs: A O’Mahony for Morley (44, black card), BJ Keane (0-3) for Walsh (44), A Maher for Donaghy (47), B Sheehan (0-1f) for Moran (52), M Ó Sé for Crowley (52), T Brosnan for O’Donoghue (64).
Clare: J Hayes; S Hickey, K Hartnett, M McMahon; C O’Dea, G Kelly, D Ryan; G Brennan, C O’Connor; J Malone (0-1), P Collins, S Collins; E Cleary (0-4, 4f), D Tubridy (0-4, 2f, 1 ’45), P Lillis (0-1).
Subs: K Sexton for O’Dea (ht), S McGrath for Tubridy (47), E Coughlan for O’Connor (49), P Burke (0-1) for Hickey (57), S Malone for Kelly (64).