REPORT: MUNSTER SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL
KERRY FC 1–0 COBH RAMBLERS
Kerry FC were back in action on the Bank Holiday Monday as they took on Cobh Ramblers in the quarter-final of the Munster Senior Cup at a chilly but dry Mounthawk Park. Kerry had a busy weekend with two signings and a charity match which made a fantastic amount of money for young Alex Fitzgerald and his family. The weekend culminated in this fixture as Kerry welcomed the defending Munster Senior Cup Champions. Valerii Dolia who signed on Friday was not available as he had a slight knock and Victor Udeze was thrown straight into the starting eleven having only signed the night before.
Antonio Tuta was handed his home debut between the sticks, with Andy Spain once again captaining the side out on the pitch. When talking to the local media, Kerry FC First Team Coach Conor McCarthy pointed out how excited the team was to have a real League of Ireland competitive test ahead of the new season. Cobh Ramblers were looking for a third consecutive Munster Senior Cup win, so before a ball was even kicked everyone in Mounthawk Park knew this was a big game for a refurbished Kerry FC outfit.
The opening fifteen minutes were quite even in terms of possession with a Cobh free kick from Liam Kervick testing Antonio Tuta which he saved brilliantly out for a corner which was eventually cleared. Sean McGrath had a shot for Kerry’s first sight at goal but unfortunately did not test Darragh Burke.
Kerry grew into the game a lot from there on in with some fantastic passages of play. Jack Kavanagh came closest with a free kick going just wide of the Burke’s left-hand post. Kerry did not seem troubled at all really in the opening forty-five minutes. The new look back five were very dominant in everything that came calling to them and just needed to test the goal a bit more to really give themselves a real chance of getting a result.
The second half was where most of the action came in the match. Just four minutes after the restart Kerry were awarded a penalty after debutant Victor Udeze was brought to ground. Daniel Okwute stepped up hoping to make it two goals from two in this season’s competition, but Darragh Burke was equal to his efforts in goal keeping a dangerous Kerry FC team at bay.
It was Burke v Okwute once again only a few minutes later as Daniel was steaming forward down the right-hand side and had clear sight of goal but his on target effort was again saved by Darragh Burke. Kerry were knocking on the door and it was a matter of time before they beat it down.
In the sixty-eighth minute, that opportunity to take the lead had risen. Nathan Gleeson deserves his plaudits for the excellent work he had done earlier in the move to bring the ball further forward. He played it out to Ronan Teahan who spread the ball out to Daniel Okwute on the right wing. Okwute did very well to create the space for himself to find Victor Udeze inside the area who finished off the chance in pure poachers’ fashion to open his account for the Kingdom.
Kerry showed true grit and resilience to battle on and keep their lead. Cobh’s best opportunity at an equaliser came with five minutes of normal time to be played. Luka Le Bervet found space in the left side of the box. His low cross found Charlie Lyons from about eight yards out and to his own dismay he skied his effort. Kerry battled on for the rest of normal time and five added minutes for their second competitive win of 2024.
An absolute joy of a watch as Kerry FC look to be building a mentality built on perseverance. No player involved in the match stopped chasing down for the ninety-five-minute duration and it was a win that was totally deserved. Kerry FC are looking strong as they head into their second season of First Division League of Ireland football which kicks off in under two weeks in Turner’s cross.
Kerry FC Team: 1. Antonio Tuta, 15. Kevin Williams, 18. Samuel Aladesanusi, 5. Andy Spain (C), 4. Jack Kavanagh, 8. Ronan Teahan, 14. Steven Healy, 7. Sean McGrath, 13. Nathan Gleeson, 11. Daniel Okwute, 22. Victor Udeze (Goal ‘68).
Subs: Lee Axworthy, Sean O’Connell, 5. Ethan Kos, Daire McCarthy, Graham O’Reilly, Kennedy Amechi, Cian Brosnan.
Cobh Ramblers Team: 30. Darragh Burke, 2. Michael McCarthy, 3. Cian Browne, Justin Eguaibor, 5. Brendan Frahill, 8. Pierce Phillips, 11. Jack Larkin, 18. Matthew McKevitt, 20. Charlie O’Brien, 21. Liam Kervick, 39. Jason Abbott (C)
Subs: Senan Dorgan, 12. Darragh O’Sullivan Connell, 15. David Eguaibor, Luka Le Bervet, Dale Holland, James O’Leary, Dan Ryan.