KERRY 0-14 CLARE 0-3:
In a lifeless encounter in front of 1,962 souls, Kerry were erratic in front of goal, error-prone and lazy in the tackle.
And yet for all the cobwebs associated with a first championship outing, the Kingdom were by some distance the superior force.
The visitors failed to score from open play over the hour, while Kerry, who really never moved beyond second gear upon the change of ends, clocked eight wides and squandered as many more scoring opportunities. The winning margin stood at 11-points, it so easily could have been double that.
Such was Clare’s inferiority. Such, essentially, was Kerry’s dominance.
“We mixed the good and the bad,” said Kerry manager Jack O’Connor.
“We were decent in the first-half, we had a good lead at half-time. In the second-half, we were playing against a tricky wind and a tricky sun. We wouldn’t be overly happy with the second-half.
“We certainly would have liked to have kicked four or five more points.”
By half-time Kerry’s progression was all but assured – the home outfit establishing a 0-10 to 0-1 advantage. They had rendered their opponents scoreless from play and on top of the 10 white flags raised, at least two goals should have been added.
Conor Geaney had Kerry off the mark on seven minutes and points followed from Stephen O’Sullivan, Bryan Sweeney, Geaney and midfielder O’Connor.
Clare full-forward Keelan Sexton finally broke their deadlock on 16 minutes, having previously missed two routine frees.
The Banner defence was struggling to hold down Geaney and O’Sullivan, and on the rare occasion they moved within shooting distance of the Kerry goal, the required composure was sorely lacking.
Geaney (0-2), O’Sullivan and two from full-forward Linnane had the champions home and hosed returning to the dressing room at the break.
The contest petered out thereafter. The second-half would produce just six scores.
Clare’s attacking woes didn’t let up - Sexton and goalkeeper Killian Roche on target from the placed ball to bring their tally to 0-3.
For Kerry, Gavin White, goalkeeper Billy Courtney, Michael Foley and Evan Cronin etched their names onto the score sheet.
Cork next, and plenty of room for improvement.
Scorers for Kerry: C Geaney (0-4); C Linnane (0-1 free), S O’Sullivan (0-2 each); B Courtney (0-1 free), E Cronin (0-1 free), G White, M O’Connor, B Sweeney, M Foley (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: K Sexton (0-2, 0-2 frees); K Roche (0-1, 0-1 free).
KERRY: B Courtney (Dr Crokes); D Brosnan (Gneeveguilla), J Foley (Ballydonoghue), T O’Sullivan (Dingle); G White (Dr Crokes), M Breen (Beaufort), D O’Brien (Glenflesk); M O’Connor (Dingle), JM Foley (Kilgarvan); B Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue), B Sweeney (Listowel Emmetts), S O’Shea (Kenmare); S O’Sullivan (Templenoe), C Linnane (Beale), C Geaney (Dingle).
Subs: E Cronin (Spa) for Linnane (44 mins), D O’Shea (Kenmare) for O’Sullivan (53), G O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for White (53), B Barrett (Ardfert) for S O’Shea (55), M Foley (Spa) for S O’Sullivan (55), R Buckley (Listry) for Foley (57).
CLARE: K Roche (Cooraclare); K Kileen (Kilmurry Ibrickane), N McCarthy (Lissycasey), C Pyne (Killimer); P Lillis (Cooraclare), C Downes (Naomh Eoin), C Hehir (St Joseph’s); K Burke (Cooraclare), S O’Donoghue (Cooraclare); C O’Halloran (Éire Óg), C Murray (St Joseph’s), P McNamara (Kilmaley); E Tubridy (Doonbeg), K Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), A Sweeney (St Breckan’s).
Subs: N Murray (O’Currys) for McNamara (HT), C Brennan (Clondegad) for Burke (HT), J Morrissey (Cooraclare) for Tubridy (42 mins), D Foran (Killimer) for A Sweeney (55), R McMahon (Kildysart) for Pyne (55).
Referee: J Ryan (Cork).