Kerry Defeat Clare in Electric Ireland Munster Minor Semi final

Kerry 0-17 Clare 3-04
The much maligned Kerry minor football team hit back in best way possible on Wednesday night when they travelled to Cusack Park Ennis and produced a much improved performance to defeat Clare in this Munster Minor Football Championship semi final.
So Kerry now advance to the Munster Final on July 8th where they face their first round conquerors Tipperary with renewed vigour and fresh hope. The importance of the win lies in the fact that Kerry will now be playing minor football until the August Bank Holiday weekend at a minimum and this will allow Mickey Ned O'Sullivan and his management team, to do more work and hopefully improve further.
Kerry has improved with every outing and was full value for this semi final win, at a venue that invariably proves to be a tough one for sides from the Kingdom. Overall there is now a more settled luck about Kerry on Wednesday and they were always in control of this contest, and the margin of victory would have bigger, if they had not conceded an early and a late goal.
So, while one has to give top marks for the teamwork, determination, craft and work ethic of this Kerry side and any time you amass 0-17 in game, it is a satisfying performance but there are two factors that need to be stated, as feet will have to be kept on the ground.
Firstly, Clare are nowhere near as good as Tipperary, who are reigning All-Ireland champions and have over half of last years starting fifteen in their ranks. So our performance will have to be put in context and well though Kerry played, there is still improvement needed.
Secondly, Kerry leaked three goals and defensively Mickey Ned will be wanting a big improvement against a physically stronger Tipperary side and if the defence do not close down the open spaces or employ a sweeper behind midfield in the Munster Final, then Gavin Curran could have a busy afternoon ( remember Munster Final thro win is noon) .
That said there were more positives that negatives on Wednesday night as Kerry attacked from the very start and the forwards looked good with some good running and passing and they crafted and took some nice scores.
Kieran Murphy and Eanna O Conchuir are developing into a useful midfield pairing and they appear to improving with every game. Ronan Murphy had a mighty game at centre back and was probably Kerry's Man of the Match while Kieran Fitzgerald had another fine outing kicking some nice points.

Gavin O'Shea has introduced that Crokes craft up front and his intelligent use of the ball along with Jack Savage and Conor Keane, will surely reap richer dividends in the future. Darragh Carmody was starting for the first time and he had a big game but it was difficult to find fault with any of the lads who played on the night.

Kerry boss Mickey Ned O'Sullivan was happy in the aftermath of Kerry's third win on the trot "I am delighted because the lads have shown steady improvement and tonight I felt that they expressed themselves. They played wonderful football, composed, disciplined and patient. They kept their heads and though we were up against a packed defence, they spread them wide, they displayed fast hands and they ran off the shoulder. They knew that the chinks would appear in the Clare defence and they waited and picked off some nice scores."
O'Sullivan was also happy the way Kerry responded to the concession of those two first half goals "They did not panic. This game will do the lads a lot of good. They got a lot of criticism but they kept their heads down, they kept their minds on their jobs and they were focussed. They proved tonight that they are exceptionally good players and they play exceptionally well as a unit"
However O'Sullivan knows that Tipperary will be a different proposition in the final
"We know that Tipp were probably 10 points the better team when we met them last but we are looking forward to another crack. We are a better team now, we are playing a better brand of football and the lads are getting more confident.

"There is more to come from this team. They play a beautiful brand of football. We just decided to stand back and let them play instead of telling them how to play. We were holding them back I felt."
Leading 0-10 to 2-3 at half time, Kerry bossed the second period as Clare struggled, notching just 1-1. But Conor Cleary's second goal - rifling home a 59th minute free - set-up a cracking finale, dragging them to within a point, 0-14 to 3-4.

Kerry didn't panic though; instead they used the ball intelligently and worked scores from the excellent centre-back Ronan Murphy, and subs Sean Moloney and Niall Sheehy to guarantee a victory they deserved.

Trailing 0-2 to 0-1 after the early exchanges, it was Clare that made the first serious move of the game just five minutes in when full-forward Eoin Cleary was dragged down in the square after a surging run. His twin brother Conor was clinical with his penalty, passing the ball into the top right corner to send Clare 1-1 to 0-2 ahead.

And by the time their second goal arrived midway through the half, Kerry had outscored the home side 0-4 to 0-1 - to move 0-6 to 1-2 ahead.

With the Kerry full-back line looking very fragile early on, the excellent Clare skipper Jamie Malone took full advantage, driving past three Kerry backs before slipping home an excellent solo goal, as Clare hit the front again (2-2 to 0-6).

But as the half wore on Kerry settled with Cillian Fitzgerald (2), Gavin O'Shea and Conor Keane giving them a 0-10 to 2-3 ahead at the break.

A Darragh Carmody brace for Kerry was sandwiched by a Brian Crowley point and the visitors led 0-13 to 2-4, with 10 minutes left.

In a thrilling finale, Kerry held their nerve to book their final spot against a county that has held the upper-hand over them as this level in recent years.

Scorers for Kerry: J Savage (3f) 0-5, C Fitzgerald 0-3, C Keane, D Carmody 0-2 each, G O'Shea, B Crowley, R Murphy, S Moloney, N Sheehy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: C Cleary (1-0 pen, 1-1f) 2-1, J Malone 1-2, E Cleary 0-1f.

KERRY: G Curran; C Ó Luing, G Crowley, S O'Connor; B Crowley, R Murphy, G Horan; K Murphy, E Ó Conchúir; G O'Shea, J Savage, C Fitzgerald; D Carmody, D Daly, C Keane.

Subs: S Moloney for D Daly (ht); N Sheehy for J Savage (60); G O'Sullivan for C Fitzgerald (60).

CLARE: L Corbett; S Garry, F Pyne, J Brown; E Clancy, C Murray, C McNelis; J Malone, E Hanrahan; S Corry, N Deasy, K Malone; B Lynch, E Cleary, C Cleary.

Subs: S McGuire for F Pyne (ht); M O'Leary for K Malone (ht); J Downes for N Deasy (37); E Courtney for E Hanrahan (44); M Bohannon for C McNelis (50).

Referee: Richard Moloney (Limerick).