HomeFootballEirGrid Munster U20 Final: Impressive Kerry triumph

EirGrid Munster U20 Final: Impressive Kerry triumph

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EirGrid Munster U20 Football Championship Final

Kerry 1-15 Cork 0-12

By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park

Kerry made it a hat trick of Munster Under-20 titles with an impressive performance against Cork, underpinning their four-point win over the Rebels in their Phase Two game in SuperValu Pairc Ui Chaoimh a fortnight ago with an even better display in Tralee.

There is never a bad time to score a goal, but Tomas Kennedy’s strike two minutes into the second half was the perfect platform for Kerry to build on their four-point half time lead, and Tomás Ó Sé’s team powered on from there.

The result sends Kerry to an All-Ireland semi-final in 10 days against Leinster champions Meath, and after the disappointment of crashing out at the penultimate stage to Sligo last year, the Kingdom will have designs on going at least one step further this year.

They will certainly bounce into that semi-final full of confidence after this win, which was built on uncompromising defending and some slick forward play.

Ten Kerry men scored from play, including two substitutes, while the defender in Ó Sé will be pleased with how the defence for the most part curtailed Cork’s attacking threats.

The Rebels will rue some sloppy forward play, and Kerry goalkeeper Michael Tansley did have to get a hand to Hugh O’Connor’s goal-bound shot at the three-quarter stage, but from an early stage Kerry looked to have the measure of the visitors.

Kerry led by four at half time, 0-9 to 0-5, and were good value for it. Though Cork took the lead through Ed Myers’s fourth minute point, Kerry were level within a minute from the boot of Daniel Kirby, and the home side had the lead three minutes later when Odhran Ferris converted after a phase of good Kerry passing and patience.

Playing with a stiff wind behind them, and a tricky low sun in front of them, Kerry were a little more assured on the ball and a bit livelier without it.

Cormac Dillon extended Kerry’s lead from a free kick and the lead grew to four points when Aidan Crowley, and then Kirby, pointed to make it 0-5 to 0-1.

Cork had two big units in Rory O’Shaughnessy and Michael McSweeney at midfield, and they made their presence felt, and kept a decent supply of ball moving into the forwards, but a combination of taking one pass to many and some impressive mano a mano Kerry defending limited Cork’s impact on the scoreboard.

A quick trade of scores by Hugh O’Connor and Charlie Keating made it 0-6 to 0-2, and that four-point margin remained until half time with Dillon converting two frees and a mark for Kerry, while Dara Sheedy, Darragh O’Brien (free) and O’Shaughnessy scored for Cork.

Kerry got the start to the second half that Cork needed, Kennedy’s goal and follow-up points from Dillon (2) and Gearoid Evans quickly opening up an 10-point gap.

There was no way back for Cork from that, and though the won the rest of the game by seven points to three, Kerry’s hand was on the newly minted Noel Walsh Cup, presented for the first time and named in honour of the late Munster Council chairman from Clare.

Scorers for Kerry: C Dillon 0-6 (4fs, 1m), T Kennedy 1-0, D Kirby 0-2, G Evans 0-1, C Keating 0-1, O Ferris 0-1, L Crowley 0-1, A Crowley 0-1, R Diggin 0-1, C Brosnan 0-1.

Scorers for Cork: H O’Connor 0-3 (1f), D Sheehy 0-2, C Molloy 0-1, R O’Shaughnessy 0-1, O Corcoran 0-1, D O’Brien 0-1 (f), E Myers 0-1, G Kearney 0-1, R Corkery 0-1 (‘45’).

KERRY: M Tansley; M Lynch, D O’Callaghan, G Evans; C Keating, D O’Connor, C Lynch; R Stack, E Healy; D Kirby, O Ferris, T Kennedy; L Crowley, A Crowley, C Dillon.

Subs: R Diggin for O’Callaghan (38), A Segal for O’Connor (46), C Brosnan for Ferris (49), P Lane for A Crowley (49), E Boyle for Healy (57).

CORK: M O’Connell; D Twomey, C Molloy, M Óg O’Sullivan; G Daly, D Buckley, S Copps; R O’Shaughnessy, M McSweeney; D O’Brien, H O’Connor, J O’Neill; O Corcoran, E Myers, D Sheedy.

Subs: G Kearney for McSweeney (38), R Corkery for O’Brien (41), S O’Connell for Twomey (49), M Maguire for O’Shaughnessy (55), L O’Herlihy for Sheedy (61).

Referee: Niall Quinn (Clare)

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