Clare hammers Kerry with second half scoring blitz

Munster Minor Hurling Championship - First Rd Clare 6-24 Kerry 1-8 
By Murt Murphy for

Plucky Kerry put up a brave show before succumbing in the second half of this Munster Minor Hurling Championship opener, to last years All-Ireland beaten finalists Clare at the Austin Stack Park Tralee this evening.

It turned out to be a rout in the second half, as Clare stamped their superiority on proceedings and Kerry were simply blown away.
It was disappointing from a Kerry viewpoint, as they put up a brave first half performance but they were always in trouble in the fullback line, as Clare possessed a very dangerous trio, who scored 4-8 between them.
However, before one rushes to judgement on these young Kerry hurlers, who hurled with vigour right to the end, it must be remembered that this Clare side is fancied by many shrewd observers, to be live All-Ireland contenders in September.
Last year they were unlucky to lose the final late on to Kilkenny and they had eight players on duty from that squad tonight, including six starters while another three or four played in the Ard Scoil Ris Harty Cup winning side that just lost out to St Kieran's from Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Colleges final.
So this is a real strong Clare side, and while the margin of victory is disappointing, Kerry will never learn anything until they play teams that are better than them. Players like Daniel Collins, Tommy Barrett, Pat Joe Connolly, Muiris Delaney, Shane Dunne and Padraig Boyle should keep their heads up, as they will enjoy better days in the Green and Gold!
Clare was on top in every department with last years midfield pairing Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin imperious in the middle, while Aaron Cunningham tormented the Kerry defence with a six point haul.
Tony Kelly chipped in with three points and it came in the 23rd minute, after Kerry keeper Kieran Fitzgibbon prevented a point by batting the ball clear, but dapper Ard Scoil Ris full forward Oisin Hickey blasted the loose ball to the net.
Kerry thanks to a Padraig Boyle 13th minute goal actually led 1-2 to 0-4 but Clare pulled clear to lead 1-12 to 1-5 at the interval.
The game was three minutes into the second half when Clare scored two goals and point, with full forward Oisin Hickey completing his hat-trick. It was all one way traffic as the Banner lads shredded the Kerry defence with Aaron Cunningham firing over a succession of superb points from touch line until, he was withdrawn.
Clare were in a different league to Kerry, whose challenge faded dramatically as goals from Shane O'Donnell and two from Alan Mulready saw the visitors cruise to a thirty one point victory.
Clare advance to the semi finals, while Kerry faces the might of Cork on Saturday evening next at a Cork venue, with time and venue to be decided.
O Hickey 3-1, A Mulready 2-2, A Cunningham 0-6, C O'Connor 0-6 ( 0-4 frees), S O'Donnell 1-1, C Galvin and T Kelly 0-3 each, G O'Connell and J Colleran 0-1 each

P Boyle 1-1, P J Connolly 0-3, M Delaney 0-2 (0-1 free), S Dunne 0-2 (0-1 free)


E Quilligan, J Browne, N O'Connor, S Morey, M Moroney, J Shanahan, G O'Connell, C Galvin, T Kelly, A Mulready, C O'Connell, F Melody, S O'Donnell, O Hickey, A Cunningham,
Subs: P Duggan for F Melody (h/t), J Colleran for M Moroney (48), S McGrath for A Cunningham (50), D Moloney for S Morey (50), D Barry for G O'Connell (56)

K Fitzgibbon, T Moore, D Fitzell, M O'Halloran, D Collins, T Barrett, K O'Sullivan, E O'Connor, M Delaney, R Heffernan, P J Connolly, L Fitzell, D Goulding, P Boyle, S Dunne
Subs: T B McElligott for M O'Halloran (43), P McGrath for D Goulding (46), And D Leahy For: L Fitzell (50)

Referee: J O'Brien (Tipperary)

Next Fixture
Munster Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final 1st Playoff
Saturday April 30th at 7:00pm
Cork v Kerry
@ Pairc Ui Chaoimh