No David Clifford, no problem for Kerry FC favorite East Curry who edged out last year’s finalist Kerrence O’Reilly with ease in Saturday’s first-round match in Tralee.
With Dingle and Spa also in group 2, it would be easy to classify it as the group of death, but already everyone seemed happy to fall behind the super powerful East Kerry Stream.
Tonight’s top player isn’t even among the division’s superstars yet, but it won’t be long before Ruairi Murphy makes an appearance on Jack O’Connor’s first team.
The winning All-Ireland coach was hiding in the back of the Austin Stack Park podium as East Kerry made light work of penetrating the Tralee team’s defense. Murphy, who played at the age of 12, helped himself to 1-3 in the first half and 1-5 on aggregate. Midfielder Kerry U20 of the season was inside 2014 GAA player James O’Donoghue and Rathmore’s Shane Rathmore, who celebrated his release from the net with some clever movement and three points.
David Clifford was a trailing but underutilized luxury as his brother Baudi was in and out of the game impressively before limping in the final minutes.
Strand Street, who ditched the talent and experience of Jack Savage and Tommy Walsh, would not lather on this. Their progress or not will be determined by the results against the other two clubs in the group.
There were already many comments on the power bloc in East Kerry, their embarrassment of riches and choices. Most of that is true even if suggesting that their manager, Jerry O’Sullivan, have the easiest job in football is simple. It doesn’t work like that. Different parties will ask different questions. However, they had nine Kerry seniors from various wines, and the likes of cornerback Chris O’Donoghue who would be one of the county seniors elsewhere.
The Glenflesk man took a hit from Gavin O’Brien, who vaguely resembles a tall office building, in the 28th minute and was ahead a minute later to kick the point 11 for Est Kerry in the first half.
The gap in the first half was nine points (1-11 to 0-5) and that wasn’t a bad performance from Tralee’s men. But once James O’Donogo hit the ball over the last defender and Strand rod keeper fired for No. 2 goal six minutes into the break, the omens for all were grim.
Kearns O’Reilly tapped enough to score best goal of the night as David Moran netted a goal for Conor Hayes at the end of the top corner in the 50th minute that made him 2-18 to 1-8, but it was all just pedestrian at that point.
The tournament nominees have done little to challenge the exorbitant odds of taking back the Bishop Moynihan Cup this year. But if their administration is looking for an early test of their pulse, it won’t be soon this weekend.
They might even have David Clifford back for the second round…
R Murphy (1-5), J O’Donoghue (1-4, 2 freed), P Clifford (0-4), S Ryan (0-3, 2 degrees), C O’Donghue, C Gammell, P Darcy, R O’Grady (0-1 each).
C. Hayes (1-3), BJ Keane (0-4, 2 free), de Moran (0-2), J. O’Brien, J. Savage (free) (0-1 each).
B Kelly P Warren (Gneeveguilla), J Sherwood (Firies), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk); C Gammell (Legion), P. Murphy (Rathmore), D’O’Brien (Glenfliske); De Lin (Legion), R. Buckley (Listery); R Murphy (Listery), B. Clifford (Fusa), J. Lynn (Corporation); B. Darcy (Glenfliske), S. Ryan (Rathmore) and J. O’Donoghue (Legion).
R O’Grady (Legion) on J. O’Donoghue (43); P. O’Shea (Kilcummin) for Buckley (47); E. Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla) for Murphy (48); B Doyle (Gnee veguilla) for R Murphy (56); C Ryan (Rathmore) for Clifford (56).
S Foley; R O’Callaghan, S Brosnan; McClegott d. Ninan, C.; Covey, B Hanfin; D Moran, D. O’Connor; T. Hoary, B. J.; Kane, J. O’Brien; J. Savage, D. O’Sullivan, C. Hayes.
S Walsh for D. O’Connor (22); K Mullins by D. O’Sullivan (30); R Carol Lby Ninnan (Half Time); D Bowler for Savage (47); C – Tell the Hanafis (52).
B Griffin (Clonmacone)