Kerry 2-12; Waterford 3-5
John Owens’ debut as manager of the Waterford senior footballers saw his charges put it up to Kerry in an entertaining McGrath Cup quarter-final in Fitzgerald Stadium last Sunday.
With just five minutes remaining the Déise men led by 3-4 to 0-11 but then Kieran Donaghy showed why he is one of the best footballers on this island. Utilising the new square-ball rule to his advantage, the basketball ace fielded a high ball in the 58th minute, turned and found the back of Tom Wall’s net.
Seconds later the man they call ‘Star’ brilliantly fisted in a long Bryan Sheehan ball for his second goal, and rounded off his afternoon’s work with an injury-time point from the sideline.
Kerry, early on, looked as if they were going to coast to victory as they led by 0-6 to 0-1. However, Waterford were back on level terms by the break, thanks mainly to a goal scored by Tony Grey. The Stradbally clubman’s effort looked as if it was going to sail over Ger Reidy’s crossbar but the ball dropped short at the last second and fell into the Kerry net, which squared things up at the interval, 0-6 to 1-3.
Waterford began the second half in fine form. With just three minutes on the clock Conor McGrath worked his way in on the Kerry goal and planted the ball past Reidy.
This was soon follow by a third Waterford goal, which gave Owens’ men side a 3-3 to 0-6 lead. Michael Donnelly blasted to the net from the penalty spot – which, of course, has now been moved closer to the goal under the new experimental rules.
Waterford went twenty minutes after that goal without scoring, a barren spell that was to ultimately cost the visitors an unlikely win.
Kerry rallied with points from young substitute James O’Donoghue and two more from Sheehan, before a Brian Wall free left Waterford two points to the good with just a handful of minutes left on the clock. However, Donaghy’s late scoring burst deprived Waterford a memorable scalp in the Kingdom.
It must be said, mind, that Kerry played without a number of their more established stars and of those that did play, a number were lining out for a second time inside 24 hours as they had played IT Tralee in the first round in Tralee on Saturday.
All is not lost, however, and the Decies will prepare for a National League promotion onslaught now knowing that if the attitude is right the step-up from Division 4 could finally be achieved.
Kerry: G Reidy; P Reidy, T Griffin, A O’Connell; K Young, A O’Mahony, M Corridan; S Scanlon, D Moran; J O’Connor, B Sheehan, D Walsh; K O’Leary, K Donaghy, P O’Connor. Subs: BJ Keane for Moran, A O’Sullivan for O’Connell, J O’Donoghue for J O’Connor, P Corridan for O’Leary, K O’Leary for Walsh.
Scorers: K Donaghy 2-2, B Sheehan 0-6 (0-3f, 0-1 ’45), K O’Leary 0-2, S Scanlon, J O’Donoghue 0-1 each
Waterford: T Wall; J Walsh, Maurice O’Gorman, J Phelan; T Grey, S Briggs, P Ogle; M Ahearne, Michael O’Gorman; W Hennessy, C McGrath, B Wall; M Donnelly, R Ahearne, S Cunningham. Subs: T O’Gorman for M Ahearne, JJ Hutchinson for W Hennessy, N Hennessy for Phelan, B Phelan for Michael O’Gorman.
Scorers: M Donnelly 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), T Grey, C McGrath 1-0 each, B Wall 0-2 (0-2f), JJ Hutchinson 0-1.
Referee: D O’Mahony (Tipperary).