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Kerry FC v Waterford

Munster Senior Cup Final Report – Kerry FC v Waterford FC



Kerry FC were back in action after a week off and returned to Turners Cross for the second time this season as they came to Cork for the Munster Senior Cup Final against Waterford FC. It’s the historic first-ever Final at senior level for Kerry FC and the fans from the Kingdom came out in numbers to support the boys.

The last time Kerry FC played Waterford FC was a draw in the penultimate game of the 2023 season. The two sides meet for the first time since Waterford’s promotion to the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division by beating Cork City in Tallaght Stadium at the end of the playoff campaign. Waterford have had a great return to the Premier Division and are pushing for European qualification. A win in the Munster Senior Cup could set up the end of a brilliant year for the Deise County.

First Half:
Gbemi Arubi was close to putting Waterford in the lead after just six minutes. A loose ball fell kindly for him and an acrobatic effort hit just off the top of the crossbar. Aaron O’Sullivan was close to getting a hand to the chance but luckily enough for him the crossbar came to his aid. Kerry was showing a slight bit of nervousness with it being their first final as there was confusion between Ethan Kos and Andy Spain trying to clear the ball in the six-yard box. Both players hit the ball off of each other in an attempt to clear it away. The ball eventually trickled out for a corner and was dealt with in the end in a moment of worry for the Kerry FC defence.

Kerry started to settle well into the game. They had stopped Waterford from getting any more clear-cut chances but were not really troubling the opposition’s goal. The time was passing away in the first half and the real positive was the fact that they were competing with Waterford more in the middle of the pitch.

Kerry FC looked like they were about to head in at the half level but an unfortunate error from Ethan Kos put Waterford ahead with four minutes before the interval. Kos tried to play the ball back to O’Sullivan in goal but the pass was just short and Connor Evans pounced on the chance to finish well passed O’Sullivan and put Waterford FC a goal ahead at halftime.

Ethan has been excellent since his return to the starting eleven and luckily he was brilliant for the rest of the game and put a real uncharacteristic error out of his head straight away. The half ended with Waterford in front and Kerry FC had a big task to come back out for the second half and put it right. If the chances were to be created, it was obvious Kerry would start flowing as we have seen over the past few weeks, but an early equaliser was needed.

Second Half:
Two minutes after the break Waterford had the chance to double their lead but a great save from Aaron O’Sullivan denied the situation from getting even deeper for Kerr. Four minutes after the save, Kerry found themselves on level terms thanks to another goal from Ryan Kelliher. Nathan Gleeson gave a superb low-driven delivery into the area and Kelliher was there as the ball flew past everyone in the area to get on the end of the cross and get Kerry level.

Kerry then had another chance to take the lead themselves as Kevin Williams played a great pass across the box and just missed Kelliher at the back post. If Kelliher had been on the end of it Kerry FC would have turned the game around with two identical goals.

Nine minutes after the opportunity, Waterford regained their lead with a long-range effort from Calum Costello. He brought the ball forward a few yards and was not closed down. He took a speculative effort from distance and the ball went straight into the bottom left corner. Cian Brosnan came on and had a chance a couple minutes after entering the game but it was at a tight angle and went well wide in the end. That would be the last chance of the evening with Waterford winning the Munster Senior Cup for the sixteenth time in the club’s history.

It was a difficult result for a young Kerry FC team but there is no question that they will look to get back to another cup final soon. They return to league action on Friday night as they take on Wexford FC in Mounthawk Park with Kerry FC looking to make it four wins in a row at home.

Kerry FC Team: 30. Aaron O’Sullivan, 15. Kevin Williams, 6. Ethan Kos, 5. Andy Spain (C), 3. Sean O’Connell, 8. Ronan Teahan, 7. Sean McGrath, 21. Daire McCarthy, 11. Daniel Okwute, 9. Ryan Kelliher (Goal ‘51), 13. Nathan Gleeson.

Subs: Darragh Foley, Jack Kavanagh, Samuel Aladesanusi, Graham O’Reilly, Kennedy Amechi, Victor Udeze, Cian Brosnan.

Waterford FC Team: 1. Matthew Connor, 3. Ryan Burke (C), 6. Mikey Carroll, 7. Calum Costello (Goal ‘80), 8. Basit Ishola, 14. Connor Evans (Goal ‘41), 22. Gbemi Arubi, 26. Adam Queally, 34. Ronan Mansfield, 36. Joseph Forde, 77. Kacper, Skwierczynski.

Subs: Oisin Aldred, Adam Coyne, Sean Keane, Calum Flynn, Dylan Warren, Zak O’Sullivan, Anthony Adenopo