Kerry 0-25 Tipperary 0-5
An easy a day at the office for the reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions Kerry as they started their title defences with a rudimentary 20-point win against a Tipperary team that simply couldn’t live in the same air as the Kingdom.
When All-Ireland champions meet a team headed for Division Four of the National League it usually ends only one way, and when those champions are Kerry, and the venue is Fitzgerald Stadium, it usually ends in carnage for the visitors.
And so it was as Kerry went through their patient, precise motions in front of 6,939 spectators in a suitably dull Killarney to win both halves by 10 points and book their place in the provincial final in a fortnight against Clare or Limerick.
The story of the game is easily told with a few numbers. Kerry scored 17 points from play, with their total haul coming from 11 different players. Tipperary scored just two from play (both from half backs) and only one starting forward raised a flag, and that from an advanced mark.
That Kerry won with David Clifford not scoring from play, and Tony Brosnan having his first-half penalty well saved, says it all about the one-sided nature of this match.
It took 10 minutes for the first score to arrive via Paudie Clifford before Kevin Fahey clipped over an equaliser a minute later.
Kerry were five ahead when Colm O’Shaughnessy came up the other Tipperary wing to kick the visitors’ second point, but with Kerry being patient in breaking down a massed Tipperary rearguard, points from the indomitable Tom O’Sullivan, David Clifford (free), Jason Foley, Seán O’Shea, Brosnan and Paul Geaney (mark) eased the defending champions to a 0-12 to 0-2 half-time lead.
It would have been worse but for Michael O’Reilly’s sharp save to keep out Brosnan’s 30th-minute penalty for a foot block by Colman Kennedy on David Clifford as he shot for goal.
The first half won by 0-12 to 0-2, Kerry went on to win the second half 0-13 to 0-3, with Tom O’Sullivan raiding up from corner back to kick another two points. Brosnan put that penalty miss behind him to finish with five points from play.
Tipperary midfielder Jack Kennedy converted a free and a 45 while full forward Stephen Quirke knocked over a mark. But it was in vain for a team that sorely missed their captain and best forward Conor Sweeney, and that will need to re-set ahead of the Tailteann Cup that awaits them.
There was a late black card for Kerry’s Brian Ó Beaglaoich on his return to action, while Stephen O’Brien was also lining out for the first time this year. There was also a Championship debut and point for Ruairí Murphy.
KERRY: Shane Ryan; Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley (0-1), Tom O’Sullivan (0-3); Paul Murphy, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White; Jack Barry, Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1); Dara Moynihan (0-1), Seán O’Shea (0-7, four frees, one mark, Paudie Clifford (0-1); Tony Brosnan (0-5), David Clifford (0-2, two frees), Paul Geaney (0-2, two marks).
Subs: Brian Ó Beaglaoich for Murphy, Barry O’Sullivan for J Barry, Killian Spillane (0-1) for P Geaney (all 55 mins); Stephen O’Brien for P Clifford, Ruairí Murphy (0-1) for D Moynihan (both 58).
TIPPERARY: Michael O’Reilly; Shane O’Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Willie Eviston; Kevin Fahey (0-1), Coleman Kennedy, Colm O’Shaughnessy (0-1); Mark Russell, Jack Kennedy (0-2, one free, one 45); Emmet Moloney, Teddy Doyle, Keith Ryan; Steven O’Brien, Stephen Quirke (0-1, mark), Cathal Deely.
Subs: Luke Boland for E Moloney (temp, 50-53 mins); Luke Boland for K Fahey (55); Mikey O’Shea for T Doyle (58); Martin Kehoe for W Eviston, Donough for S O’Brien (both 64), Conal Kennedy for S Quirke (66).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).