Cadburys Munster U-21 Football Champ Q/F

13 man Kerry too strong for Tipperary as Fitzmaurice makes winning start
Kerry 0-11 Tipperary 0-5
By Murt Murphy for  
Eamon Fitzmaurice made a winning start to his intercounty managerial career when Kerry, despite finishing with only 13 players, still proved far too strong for a disappointing Tipperary side in this Cadburys Munster U-21 Football Championship quarterfinal played at Semple Stadium on Wednesday night last.
Kerry have learned the hard way over the past two or three years not take anything for granted when playing Tipperary so it was not surprising to see this young Kerry side ( without a Kerry senior panellist) race 0-5 to 0-0 in front inside the opening eleven minutes.
Tipperary rallied in the second quarter to trail by just two at the interval (0-7 to 0-5) but Kerry despite their dominance in the second-half, and the dismissals of wing-forward Michael Brennan and midfielder James Walsh for second bookable offences, just could never relax until the final whistle.
It was a more relieved Eamonn Fitzmaurice that spoke after he opened his inter-county managerial career with a win. "Relieved is the main feeling as tonight was all about the result," he said. "It was a good test for our fellas to see how they'd respond in the second-half with the sending-offs. The second yellow on Michael Brennan looked very harsh to me. "He just went in on a ball and I'm not sure the Tipperary player had his hands around the ball. But those are the rules and we had to cope with them."
Kerry won because they had in their inside line, three players who knew where the posts were.

The return of 0-10 from their full-forward trio of Kieran Hurley, Conor Cox and Stephen O'Brien was integral to ensuring their qualification for a semi-final meeting with Waterford. O'Brien was typically energetic as he constantly moved into space to collect deliveries and Fitzmaurice reserved special praise for the Kenmare attacker who popped up with a couple of big relieving points in the second-half. "Stephen was outstanding. In fairness to him he had an exam in UCC today but he came up here and showed great leadership, and also kicked a couple of great points."

Tipperary approached the game in an optimistic mood following their recent underage triumphs but the match concluded on a low note. They struggled to get up to the tempo of the action at the start yet overcame that tentative opening to power into the match. Despite trailing by 0-5 to 0-0 after 19 minutes, Tipperary enjoyed a golden period as the tie inched towards the interval. Liam McGrath and Michael Quinlivan began to replicate the dazzling form they showed at minor level last summer while Jonathan Ryan and Donagh Leahy anchored the Tipperary challenge at the back. When Liam Treacy swivelled to point neatly in first-half injury time, Tipperary were only 0-7 to 0-5 behind and their supporters in the 1,123 attendance were in buoyant form at the break.

But Tipperary never built on the momentum generated from that scoring spree and failed to register in front of goal in the second-half. Their supply into their inside forwards was sub-standard on occasion and they found it difficult to exploit the advantage provided by the extra man when Brennan was dismissed in the 37th minute. Kerry in contrast used the possession cleverly, aided by the control that Darragh O'Sullivan and James Walsh wrestled back around midfield. Fergal McNamara and Jack Sherwood were to the fore in a disciplined defensive effort, and while Tipperary was affected by their failure to capitalise on dead ball opportunities, they did not get the space to create chances in open play.

The closest Tipperary came to firing a goal was in the 41st minute when centre-forward Adrian Cleere struck the crossbar with a fierce shot but in general the Kerry rearguard yielded little. At the other end, they were clinical during their rare forays upfield with O'Brien and Cox raising white flags with beautiful shots during the second half. Even the sending-off of Walsh in the 54th minute failed to knock them off their stride and the Kingdom outfit closed out the game in impressive style.

Kerry will now face Waterford in the Munster semi final on Wednesday night March 28th at the Austin Stack Park Tralee.

Scorers for Kerry: S O'Brien, C Cox (1f) 0-4 each, K Hurley 0-2, P Kilkenny 0-1.

Scorers for Tipperary: D Leahy, A Cleere, L Treacy, M Quinlivan, L McGrath 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: E Comerford; G Mulhair, D Kearney, M Hanly; D Leahy, N O'Meara, J O'Callaghan; A Campbell, A Matassa; S Leahy, A Cleere, B Hewitt; L Treacy, M Quinlivan, L McGrath.
Subs: I Fahey for Hewitt (inj. 26), L Boland for Matassa (45), P O'Meara for Treacy (46), P Murphy for Campbell (57), S O'Meara for Cleere (60).
KERRY: P O'Sullivan, (Churchill); P Galvin, (Ballymacelligott), M Griffin, (St Michael's Foilmore), F McNamara, (Austin Stacks); P Kilkenny, (Glenbeigh/Glencar), J Sherwood, (Firies), P Murphy, (Rathmore); D O'Sullivan, (Dingle), J Walsh, (Knocknagoshel); M Brennan, (Churchill), C Brady, (Dr Crokes), S O'Carroll, (Austin Stacks); K Hurley, (St Pat's Blennerville), C Cox, (Listowel Emmets), S O'Brien, (Kenmare).
P McCarthy, (Rathmore), M Galvin, (Ballymacelligott), D Culhane, (Ballylongford) for P Galvin ( 46), J Hickson, (Annascaul), M Reen, (Rathmore) for Brady ( 60) , E O'Connor, (St Michael's Foilmore) for C Cox (60) , G O'Grady, (Glenbeigh / Glencar), P Lucey, (Legion), P O'Connor, (Gneeveguilla), T Morley for Kilkenny ( 53), Ian Galvin ( Derrynane ) for Hurley ( 42)
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)