Jack O’Connor’s Kerry U21’s issue statement of intent with McGrath Cup success over Tipp

September 18, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Kerry 3-11
Tipperary 1-3

Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park

KERRY FOOTBALL MANAGER Eamonn Fitzmaurice might want to reappraise his intention to field a senior team against Cork next Sunday given how admirably an U21 selection coped with beating Tipperary in a rather one-sided McGrath Cup match in Tralee this afternoon.

Kerry hit the net three times en route to today’s victory

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Fitzmaurice had wanted to have an early season look at a few of Jack O’Connor’s U21′s ahead of next month’s Allianz League, so the two managers decided on fielding an entire U21 team, under O’Connor’s watch.

Deciding on who to take to Mallow next Sunday and who to leave at home might well be Fitzmaurice’s toughest job this week

Given that Tipperary started with seven of the team that played that All-Ireland semi-final last August, manager Liam Kearns might have at least expected some hum and hustle from his team given last year’s celebrated run.

Kerry U21 manager Jack O’Connor

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Instead it was Kerry’s callow side that displayed all the energy and endeavour on show. O’Connor’s teams never lack for honesty and industry, but this team came with much more to prove and with more than an eye on March’s Munster U21 Championship they went about their business with serious intent.

Cathal Bambury scored a Kerry point from their first attack, and as the rain sheeted down Kerry set the rhythm.

Diarmuid Foley’s coolly dispatched eighth minute goal brought the visitors into the game but Kerry scored six of the next seven points before Matthew O’Sullivan won a penalty off Paddy Codd, which Bambury placed down the middle of the goal.

Dingle’s Cathal Bambury found the net for Kerry

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Sean O’Shea converted a ’45′ and Kevin Fahey scored his second from wing back to make it 1-8 to 1-2 in Kerry’s favour at the break.

Shane Ryan saved smartly from Alan Moloney in the 38th minute to deny Tipperary a way back into the contest, and when Matthew O’Sullivan fisted Bambury’s pass to the net six minutes later Tipp’s day was done.

The final 22 minutes yielded just four more points as the game ran to its inevitable conclusion, but O’Sullivan helped himself to a second goal when he palmed Ivan Parker’s inviting pass beyond Evan Comerford.

O’Connor would surely love to send his team out against Cork next week but Fitzmaurice will field a senior selection in Mallow, where a win would put them into the McGrath Cup final. Deciding which U21′s to blend into that team will exercise all concerned.

Kerry’s Brian Ó Seanacháin with Tipperary’s Martin Dunne

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

As for the new ‘mark’ rule, it left little impact in Tralee. Conor Lane blew for two, maybe three, marks but the game carried on as if nothing had happened.

Maybe that’s as it should be, but an unremarkable start for the mark in Kerry at least.

Kerry U21 selector Declan O’Sullivan

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Scorers for Kerry: Matthew O’Sullivan 2-0, Cathal Bambury 1-1 (1-0 pen), Sean O’Shea 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 ’45′), Tom O’Sullivan, Conor Geaney (0-1f) 0-2 each, Barry O’Sullivan, Matthew Flaherty, Cormac Coffey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: Diarmuid Foley 1-0, Kevin Fahey 0-2, Jack Kennedy 0-1.


1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Tom Leo O’Sullivan (Dingle)
3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
6. Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil)
7. Daniel O’Brien (Glenflesk)

8. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle)
9. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue)

10. Brandon Barrett (Ardfert)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Lee O’Donoghue (Glenflesk)

13. Conor Geaney (Dingle)
14. Matthew O’Sullivan (St Michaels-Foilmore)
15. Cathal Bambury (Dingle)


18. Matthew Flaherty (Dingle) for O’Donoghue (half-time)
17. Brian Sugrue (Renard) for O’Brien (58 min)
20. Liam Carey (Beaufort) for Geaney (59 min)
19. Liam Kearney (Spa) for B O’Sullivan (64 min)
22. Ivan Parker (Churchill) for Bambury (64 min)
21. Cormac Coffey (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Tom O’Sullivan (67 min)


16. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

20. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan)
3. Paddy Codd (Killenaule)
19. Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers)

5. Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch)
6. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
7. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)

8. Liam Casey (Cahir)
9. Martin Dunne (Capt.) (Moyle Rovers)

10. Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials)
11. Liam Treacy (Loughmore-Castleiney)
12. Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)

13. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers)
17. Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)
15. Diarmuid Foley (Moyle Rovers)


22. Philip Austin (Borrisokane) for O’Shaughnessy (8 min)
21. Alan Moloney (Rockwell Rovers) for Dunne (30 min)
23. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials) for Lonergan (HT)
18. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen) for Treacy (HT)
2. Joseph Hennessy (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Codd (inj, 48 min)
14. Colm Stapleton (Upperchurch-Drombane) for Casey (59 min)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)


Clare 1-10
Waterford 0-8

Today’s other McGrath Cup clash saw last year’s finalists Clare see off Waterford in Meelick by five points.

Colm Collins side now take on Limerick on Wednesday night at the Gaelic Grounds in the knowledge that a victory there will propel them into the final of the pre-season competition in Munster.

Eoin Cleary’s first-half goal proved the vital score and came after Clare had trailed 0-2 to 0-0 by the 20th minute mark. At the break Clare were in front 1-3 to 0-4 and they improved in the second half to pull clear.

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