HomeFootballKerry minors obliterate Roscommon to set up All-Ireland semi-final against Derry

Kerry minors obliterate Roscommon to set up All-Ireland semi-final against Derry


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Ryan O’Driscoll came off the bench to score two second half goals as Kerry laid siege to the Rossies in Ennis to win by 18 points

Kerry 3-18

Roscommon 2-3

The Kerry minors are back in an All-Ireland semi-final a year after losing to Monaghan at the penultimate hurdle, and on the evidence of this demolition of Roscommon there will be quiet confidence in the Kingdom that they can take down Derry to reach the All-Ireland final.

Kerry manager Wayne Quillinan won’t countenance talk of All-Ireland finals or titles just yet, but he will have his work cut out now to dampen down expectations of a return of the Tommy Markham Cup to the Kingdom for the first time since 2018. That’s what happens when your team wins an All-Ireland quarter-final by 18 points, though Quillinan will surely turn the concession of two late goals to the beleaguered Rossies into a ‘work on’ before the semi-final.

Truth is, Kerry could have coughed up another two goals to Roscommon in the final quarter and still have cruised to a double-score win such was their dominance all through and the 13-point lead they took to the half time interval.

Hard then to believe that Roscommon scored first in this game, and inside the first minute at that. Twenty seconds into this All-Ireland quarter-final Sean McDonnell received the ball from his club mate Stephen Tighe and drove at the Kerry defence, winning a free that Dean Casey converted from about 30 metres. Roscommon were up and running… or so it seemed.

That was their first score of the first half, and it was their last. Meanwhile, Kerry proceeded to utterly dominate the contest, successfully converting their first 10 scoring attempts to take a 0-10 to 0-1 lead by the 23rd minute, with the Kingdom’s first wide not arriving until the 24th minute when Jack Joy had no joy from a low percentage shot from distance.

Kerry’s first two scores came from wing-back Sean Ó Cuinn, the second a carbon copy of the first, both thumped over with the confidence of a forward from about 30 metres on the right hand side.

The next two came from Gearoid White – from a free then from play – before the other wing-back, Gavin O’Keeffe raided forward and kicked Kerry into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. White extended Kerry’s lead from another free kick and then full forward Ronan Carroll scored four points from four shots between the 17th and 23rd minutes to make it a nine-point gap.

Joy’s wide after that was the tiniest of blemishes on a near perfect 30 minutes of football from the Munster champions, which was embellished in the 29th minute by the sort of luck that suggests it was always going to be your day.

Receiving the ball and steadying himself from about 35 metres out, Joey McCarthy had every right to shoot for a point, but kicking into a stubborn downfield wind at a sunny Cusack Park, the Spa club man’s effort came up short. The problem for Roscommon was that their goalkeeper Patrick Gaynor inexplicably left his goal line only to see the ball sail in over his head and nestle in the net. When it’s not your day, and all that.

Joy atoned for his earlier miss with a neatly fisted point, Kerry went to the interval 1-11 to 0-1 ahead, and everyone stuck a fork in this one as it was truly done.

And then we had four more goals in the second half, two for either team, with Kerry’s brace coming from substitute Ryan O’Driscoll whose 2-1 contribution sees him stake a huge claim for a starting jersey in that All-Ireland semi-final.

Roscommon’s cause wasn’t helped by a black card for Eoin Collins five minutes into the second half, with Kerry extending their lead to 1-14 to 0-2 by the time he returned, with Carroll crashing a shot off the crossbar for good measure.

In the 52nd minute Joey McCarthy’s game ended early owing to a black card, and in the same minute later Keelan Kelly volleyed his shot past Kacper Robak for a Roscommon goal. Kerry’s response was instant and emphatic – sub Cian Mac Gearailt setting up O’Driscoll for a brilliant goal to make it 2-15 to 1-2. A minute later the same two combined for O’Driscoll’s second goal, and within a minute Roscommon had their second goal through Collins.

It finished with points from O’Driscoll, Carroll (free) and Eanna Murphy as Kerry swept to an 18-point victory, and another step closer to Croke Park.

KERRY: Kacper Robak; Fionnán Ryan, Michael Lynch, Ruadhán Donovan; Seán Ó Cuinn 0-2, Aodhna Ó Beaglaoich, Gavin O’Keeffe 0-1; Ben Murphy 0-1, Killian Dennehy; Gearoid White 0-4 (3f), Joey McCarthy 1-1, Eanna Murphy 0-2, Jack Joy 0-1, Ronan Carroll 0-5 (2f), Michael Horan. Subs: Cian MacGearailt for Horan (41), Eoin O’Flaherty for B Murphy (41), David Sargent for Ó Cuinn (46), Ryan O’Driscoll 2-1 for Joy (48), Gavin Casey for White (50).

ROSCOMMON: Patrick Gaynor, Liam Finneran, Gordon Casey, Colin Murray, Eoin Collins 1-0, Keelan Kelly 1-0, Declan Kennedy, Darragh Devaney, Cathal Enright, Joe McKeon, Dara Curran, Sean McDonnell, Stephen Tighe 0-1, Shay McGuinness, Dean Casey 0-1 (f).

Subs: Alan Conroy for McKeon (27), Anthony Cox 0-1 for Casey (37), Jeffrey Oates for McGuinness (43), Martin Connaughton for Murray (46), Ciaran Mulry for Kennedy (46).

REFEREE: Chris Maguire (Clare)

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