Limerick 2-12 (A.E.T.)
Jackie Cahill reports from the Gaelic Grounds
CONOR GEANEY’S LATE goal sealed a fifth McGrath Cup title for Kerry at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick this afternoon.
The Kingdom needed extra-time on an afternoon that saw ace forward James O’Donoghue limp off with what looked like a serious ankle injury.
The sides were level at 1-11 each at the end of 70 minutes before Kerry finally got the job done in extra-time – with former All-Ireland minor medallist Geaney, who replaced O’Donoghue, netting in the 89th minute to ensure the county’s first McGrath Cup title win since 2013.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice was hopeful at full-time that O’Donoghue’s injury is not too serious – after he was accidentally stamped on the foot, according to the Kerry boss.
The winners also lost Paul Murphy and Gavin Crowley to injuries during the game and Fitzmaurice will keep his fingers crossed that his resources aren’t too depleted for the opening day Allianz League clash with Donegal in a fortnight’s time.
But early-season silverware it is for Kerry, who were made to work hard for it by dogged Limerick, in front of 2,010 spectators on a freezing afternoon.
The sides were level at 1-11 apiece after 70 minutes as Geaney looked to have won it for Kerry with a free before Sean O’Dea, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, ensured two extra ten-minute periods.
The sides traded goals in the first period of extra-time as Barry O’Sullivan netted within 20 seconds of the restart, that Kerry goal cancelled out by Limerick captain Iain Corbett’s penalty goal in the 73rd minute, awarded for Shane Enright’s foul on Danny Neville.
As the teams turned around, Kerry led by 2-13 to 2-12 and Geaney’s well-taken goal, set up by a precise Conor Keane pass, put the end result beyond any doubt.
Geaney was brought on as a 65th minute substitute for former Footballer of the O’Donoghue and made his mark.
For Limerick, who will operate in Division 4 this season, this was an encouraging outing.
They went toe to toe with their much-vaunted opponents for the entire game and despite falling six points behind in the first half and again early in the second, the Shannonsiders worked their way back into contention.
David Moran’s goal for Kerry approaching half-time opened up a 1-6 to 0-3 buffer but Sean McSweeney’s free cut the interval deficit back to five, Limerick trailing by 0-4 to 1-6.
Ahead by 1-8 to 0-5 when O’Donoghue converted a 39th-minute free, Kerry looked in a good position but Limerick registered 1-3 without reply to draw level.
Seamus O’Carroll’s 53rd minute goal levelled matters but crucially, Limerick could never get ahead as the sides were deadlocked on three further occasions down the home straight.
Chances came and went at both ends in a frantic finish before Geaney nailed a 69th minute free to put Kerry ahead.
O’Dea showed real initiative to bomb forward from defence for an equaliser but Kerry did enough in extra-time to claim the honours.
Scorers for Kerry: Conor Geaney 1-2 (0-2f), David Moran 1-1, James O’Donoghue 0-4 (3f), Barry O’Sullivan 1-0, Jonathan Lyne & Barry John Keane (2f) 0-2 each, Paul Murphy & Michael Geaney 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: Iain Corbett 1-2 (1-0 pen), Seamus O’Carroll 1-1, Danny Neville 0-3, Jamie Lee 0-2 (1f), Sean O’Dea, Darragh Treacy, Ger Collins & Sean McSweeney (f) 0-1 each.
1. Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)
2. Shane Enright (Tarbert)
3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
4. Killian Young (Renard – captain)
5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
7. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)
8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
10. Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion)
11. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys)
12. Michael Geaney (Dingle)
13. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
15. James O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion)
18. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe) for Murphy (inj., 30)
17. Brendan Sullivan (Valentia) for Savage (45)
26. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue) for M Geaney (46)
25. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle) for Barry (46)
20. Denis Daly (St Marys) for Crowley (inj., 59)
22. Conor Geaney (Dingle) for O’Donoghue (inj., 65)
24. Conor Keane (Killarney Legion) for P Geaney (79)
23. Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin) for Keane (80)
21. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe) for T O’Sullivan (83)
1. Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen)
2. Daniel Daly (Fr Caseys)
3. Johnny McCarthy (St Kierans)
4. Sean O’Dea (Kilteely Dromkeen)
5. Paul White (Rathkeale)
6. Iain Corbett (Newcastlewest – captain)
7. Paul Hannon (Newcastlewest)
8. Darragh Treacy (St Kieran’s)
19. Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen)
10. Peter Nash (Kildimo Pallaskenry)
15. Seamus O’Carroll (Cappagh)
12. Brian Donovan (Monaleen)
13. Sean McSweeney (St Kierans)
14. Danny Neville (Ballysteen)
11. Ger Collins (Monaleen)
24. Jamie Lee (Newcastlewest) for McSweeney (48)
17. Garrett Noonan (Dromcollogher Broadford) for Nash (49)
9. David Ward (Fr Caseys) for Daly (51)
18. Cillian Fahy (Dromcollogher Broadford) for Hannon (60)
25. James Naughton (St Senan’s) for O’Carroll (69)
21. James Bridgeman (St Senan’s) for White (70+1)
23. Cian Sheehan (Newcastlewest) for Collins (75)
20. Padraig Quinn (Monaleen) for Fanning (83)
26. Killian Ryan (Mungret St Pauls) for Treacy (85).
Referee: Alan Kissane (Waterford)
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