Kerry retained their McGrath Cup title with a 0-13 to 1-7 victory over Clare in this afternoon’s final in Killarney.
In a match that saw the return of Marc O Se and Aidan O’Mahony to the home side’s defence it was Clare who started the stronger, taking an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead. From there on it was the hosts that took over and they were the better side for the remainder of the half.
Gary Sayers, Darran O’Sullivan and Donnacha Walsh were particularly impressive as Kerry established a 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time.
David Moran (free) and Donnacha Walsh both pointed, while a single point from Alan Clohessy was the best Clare could manage as the first half came to a close. Clare could have been closer at the interval but for some poor finishing.
O’Sullivan, Moran, David and Paul Geaney all scored after the restart as Kerry took complete control moving into a 0-12 to 0-5 lead.
Cathal O’Connor scored a vital goal for Clare 10 minutes from time but it merely put some respectability on the scoreboard. Paul Geaney added a further Kerry point to wrap up the title for the home side.
On Sunday week, Kerry open their Division 1 campaign against arch rivals Cork, with a home game.
Afterwards Kerry boss Jack O’Connor expressed his satisfaction with his side’s McGrath Cup campaign O’Connor told kerrygaa.ie:
“I am very happy with The McGrath Cup campaign and it fulfilled all we wanted from the competition. The McGrath Cup served a very useful purpose in blooding new players for the year ahead and this will help strengthen the panel for the forthcoming Allianz League. Our main objective was to get in good games before the league and we got four very good games. Winning The McGrath Cup was a bonus.
“The Management team is very happy with the application shown by new players on the panel and we look forward to the Allianz League and our first game in Tralee on Sunday. The players and Management team are very happy with the support we got from The Kerry fans over the past few weeks and we look forward to great support in Austin Stack Park on Sunday. ”
KERRY: T Mac An tSaoir; P Reidy, M Ó Sé, P OConnor; A O’Mahony, T Ó Sé, J Lyne; S Scanlon, D Moran (0-3, two frees, one 45); G Sayers, Darran O’Sullivan (0-1), D Walsh (0-1); D Geaney (0-6), M O’Donoghue (0-1), P Geaney (0-1). Subs: B O’Grady for G Sayers (half-time), A Fitzgerald for M O’Donoghue (half-time), Danny O’Sullivan for P O’Connor (55 mins), E Hickson for A O’Mahony (57 mins), P McCarthy for T Ó Sé (62 mins).
CLARE: J Hayes, L Healy, B Duggan, M McMahon, Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly John Hayes (0-1), M Foran, C O’Connor (1-1), D Daly, D Tubridy (0-1), N Browne (0-1), R Donnelly, T Ryan, A Clohessy (0-3, two frees).Subs: N White for Graham Kelly (32 mins), S Brennan for D Tubridy, G Fannin for B Duggan (both 53 mins), A Cahill for D Daly, C Ryan for T Ryan (both 60 mins).