Jack O'Connor strikes note of caution as Kerry ease into Munster final

Jack O'Connor saw his Kerry team defeat Tipperary by 20 points in the Munster SFC semi-final in Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday
Jack O'Connor saw his Kerry team defeat Tipperary by 20 points in the Munster SFC semi-final in Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday

Munster SFC semi-final: Kerry 0-25 Tipperary 0-5

Jack O’Connor has sounded a note of warning for teams who have gone too hard too soon in the League heading into the restructured Football Championship.

His Kerry side eased into the Munster final with a 20-point victory over Tipperary, which showed some positive effects from their training camp in Portugal a week previous.

O’Connor declared his squad in good shape to produce their best later this summer as they bid to defend their All-Ireland title.

“With the new format, you have to time your run a bit better,” said O’Connor.

“It’ll be the end of this season before people will get a proper handle on that but I can’t see how you can be going flat out in the League and hit your straps at the round-robin stage as well.

“That’s a long time to be keeping form going. I’m not very scientific about it, it’s just my gut feeling.”

O'Connor released some of his panellists back to their clubs for a round of County League games on Sunday, including the returning Brian Ó Beaglaioch who saw 14 minutes of action off the bench before being black-carded late on.

“I’d be mad for fellas to get good football. I think it’s a no-brainer. Fellas want football. The likes of Brian Ó Beaglaioch, we’ll let him go away and play a game tomorrow."

“It makes sense because you want to try to get as many fellas as possible on the same wavelength. The only way you can do that is through football.

“I’m not trying to make a martyr of myself, I’m just doing it for common sense.”

The only goal chance of this mismatch was a first-half Tony Brosnan penalty, but Michael O’Reilly got down to his left to make a fine save. The citeóg recovered well from that miss to take his tally to 0-5.

Tom O’Sullivan was often Kerry’s most potent attacking weapon. He was heavily involved in the move that led to the penalty, all three pointed marks came from balls delivered in by the corner-back, and he had another three points of his own, including two peaches off the outside of his boot.

“The bookies had it at 18 points and it finished up at 20,” said O’Connor.

“I’d say fair play to the bookies. They’re not a million miles out, are they? That’s why they’re all driving big cars!

“Tipperary parked the bus. I actually said that in the dressing room, after 10 minutes [for] fellas not to panic if they looked up at the scoreboard and it was two points to one.”

It took Kerry nine minutes to get their first shot off and 10 to open the scoring but O’Connor was happy with how they coped with that packed defence thereafter.

“The training camp was important to work on stuff like that and for players to talk things through. I thought we looked a good bit smoother today. Some games in the League we were very lethargic against that type of defence. Happy enough but sure, there’s bigger tests ahead.”

Kerry: S Ryan; G O’Sullivan, J Foley (0-1), T O’Sullivan (0-3); P Murphy, T Morley, G White; D O’Connor (0-1), J Barry; P Clifford (0-1), S O’Shea (0-7, 0-4 frees, 0-1 mark), D Moynihan (0-1); T Brosnan (0-5), D Clifford (0-2 frees), P Geaney (0-2 marks).

Substitutes: B Ó Beaglaioch for Murphy (55); BD O’Sullivan for Barry (55); K Spillane (0-1) for Geaney (55); S O’Brien for P Clifford (58); R Murphy (0-1) for Moynihan (58).

Black card: Ó Beaglaioch (69).

Tipperary: M O’Reilly; W Eviston, S O’Connell, J Feehan; K Fahey (0-1), C O’Shaughnessy (0-1), Colman Kennedy; M Russell, S O’Brien; E Moloney, T Doyle, K Ryan; J Kennedy (0-2, 1 free, 1 45), S Quirke (0-1 mark), C Deely.

Substitutes: L Boland for Moloney (51-53, blood); Boland for Fahey (55); M O’Shea for Doyle (58); M Kehoe for Eviston (63); D Leahy for O’Brien (63); Conal Kennedy for Quirke (66).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).

Attendance: 6,939.