HomeFootballKerry minors secure Munster football title with six-point win over Cork

Kerry minors secure Munster football title with six-point win over Cork


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Kerry 3-10

Cork 0-13

Kerry are Munster Minor A football champions following a deserving and thrilling win against Cork in Mallow on Sunday with heavy rain prior to throw in making handling conditions difficult for both sides. Kerry went into the game minus a couple of key players whereas Cork had a large contingent of last year’s minor panel available and they started the brightest with a point in the third minute.

Mary Kate Smith responded for the Kingdom as both sides played positive football despite the conditions. As the sides kept exchanging scorers Kerry were possibly guilty early on of going for goal when a point was possibly the better option. But this didn’t knock their confidence. In fact they grew into the game and began to dominate it more as it wore on. Katie Doe with her first point midway through the first half saw Kerry back in the lead.

Two minutes later Kerry had their first goal with Doe scoring from the penalty spot after a Cork foot-block in the square to give her side a four-point lead. Cork reduced the deficit with a pointed free from Eabha Donovan but a second Kerry goal arrived when Kelly Enright’s long ball deceived everyone and bouncing in front of Cork keeper Andrea Toye and ended up in the net.

That opened up a six-point lead and it was no more than Kerry deserved as they were the more dominant team for large parts of the first half limiting Cork to just three points from play in the first half. Kerry added a further three points to open up an eight-point lead at the break.

Cork had the advantage of the wind in the second half and they started the brightest of the two with a Maebh Collins point to reduce the deficit. Kerry was still playing with the same intensity as they had in the first but it was Cork who looked like threating for a goal. Their first opportunity came four minutes in but Béibhinn Nic an tSithigh pulled off a magnificent save to keep them at bay. The sides exchanged points before Cork had shot number two at goal but Nic an tSithigh was at her best again to keep them at bay.

Leah McMahon and Eabha O’Donovan exchanged frees as the gap remained at eight points. Midway through the second half Kerry got their third goal of the game. Amy Curtin who was back from injury and made a substitute appearance in the win against Clare was making her first start on Sunday rifled home to the top corner of the net to the delight of the Kerry supporters in the stand.

Leah McMahon, who scored four points, in action against Cork in Mallow. Photo by Colbert O’Sullivan

Kerry were now firmly in control and a lead they truly deserved. Cork as you would expect kept throwing everything at Kerry and were tapping over the scores. Kerry’s goal was to be their last score but that is not to take away from some of the excellent defending and work rate displayed by all the Kerry players for the remainder of the match.

Anna Collins showed great leadership in the final quarter when Cork kept pressing for that goal in the hope of igniting a late comeback. Cork kept the scoreboard ticking over with points from Eabha O’Donovan and Ava McAuliffe. In the dying moments Cork had one last attack on the Kerry goal but Nic an tSithigh was alert to the danger and keep her clean sheet intact.

Kerry now go forward to the All Ireland semi-final on Thursday, July 11.

KERRY: B Nic an tSithigh, A O’Donoghue, É Ní Laighinn, G Murphy, C Dwyer, S O’Donovan, L O’Sullivan, K Enright 1-0, K Ryan, A Curtin 1-0, M K Smith 0-1, L O’Connor 0-2, K Doe 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), L McMahon 0-4 (4f), A Collins. Subs: L Slattery for K Doe (51), S Colleran for C Dwyer (58).

CORK: A Toye, A O’Sullivan, A McKennedy, A Cooper, M McRae, K Goulding, A Savage 0-1, K Williamson, A Fitzgerald, B Smith, M Collins 0-1, Ó Cremin, É O’Donovan 0-8 (6f), K Carey, A McAuliffe 0-3. Subs: C Murphy for K Carey (41), A Sheppard for O Cremin (41), H Sheehy for A O’Sullivan (48), L Murphy for A Sheppard (58).

Referee: Patrick Smith (Waterford)

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