Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Final – Kerry 3-7 Galway 0-9

Kerry defeated Galway by 3-7 to 0-9 in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Final on Sunday September 18th at Croke Park.

Kerry win third All-Ireland Minor Final in a row

Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Final

Kerry 3-7 Galway 0-9

By John Harrington at Croke Park for GAA.ie

Kerry won an impressive third Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship in a row in Croke Park today, but they were made to work hard for it by a tigerish Galway side.

The final winning margin was comfortable enough in the end for Kerry, but this game was still in the melting pot until David Clifford scored an outrageously brilliant goal for the Kingdom late in the second-half. Galway had been coming on strong at that stage in the game but Clifford’s sucker-punch floored them. Until then their hard-working, counter-attacking strategy put them in with a shout of pulling off a big shock, but Clifford proved there is no substitute for pure class.

Kerry had won their five matches on the way to this All-Ireland Final by an average of 14 points, so it was hardly a surprise that Galway set up with a safety-first approach from the start. Full-forward Seán Raftery played deep as a sweeper, they defended in numbers and tackled with great tenacity.

That Galway grittiness combined with a slippery sod meant that Kerry struggled to find their usual rhythm for most of the first half and as a spectacle it as far from the free-flowing, high-scoring encounter most had predicted. Seán O’Shea did open the scoring for Kerry after two minutes, but another 17 would elapse before the scoreboard operator would be called into action again.

Galway were frustrating Kerry, but their good-work in defence was being undone by some poor shooting at the other end of the field when they successfully created scoring opportunities on the counter-attack. They were made pay for that profligacy when Kerry scored the first goal of the match after 19 minutes, in slightly fortuitous circumstances.

Centre-forward O’Shea was almost certainly shooting for a point when he kicked the ball-goalwards from 35 yards out, but it landed in the small square and wing-forward Diarmuid O’Connor had timed his run perfectly to get his fist to the ball and direct it past Galway goalkeeper Cormac Haslam. Galway finally got a score of their own a couple of minutes later when a surging run from Ryan Forde earned a free that Desmond Conneely converted.

Moments later though the Tribesmen were reeling again when Kerry scored their second goal of the match. And, once again, they made good use of their height advantage against a Galway full-back line conceding inches in all positions. This time David Clifford won a high delivery into the box and immediately hand-pass to full-forward David Shaw who finished low and hard to the net. For those of you who like tracing the GAA Gene, Shaw is a first-cousin of Mayo footballers Aidan, Séamus, and Conor O’Shea.

Galway midfielder Céin D’Arcy hit back with Galway’s first score from play, but Kerry and Shaw had the last say of the half with a really classy, curling point. Six points down at the break, 2-2 to 0-2, Galway required a strong start to the second half if they were going to make a match of this, and they got it by scoring two fine points within a minute of the resumption.

First wing-back Adam Quirke charged forward and arced over a lovely right-footed effort on the run. Possession was won again straight from the resultant kick-out, and when the ball was transferred to Robert Finnerty he made no mistake from close range. Kerry were looking a little bit rattled all of a sudden, a poor wide from the normally lethal Clifford summing up their state of mind.

Finnerty reduced the gap to just three points to a free, before Kerry finally got some sort of purchase on the game again when defender Niall Collins charged forward and pointed from a tight angle to show his forwards how it was done.

The Kingdom still didn’t look as comfortable as we’ve become used to seeing them this year though, and a point from Ryan Forde and another free from Finnerty meant Galway were still within three by the mid-way point of the second-half, as they trailed by 2-4 to 0-7.

A buzz went through the ground when Desmond Connelly then cut the deficit to two with another free, as Galway and Mayo supporters alike roared on the boys from the West. But just when it looked like the underdogs were building up a real head of steam, Clifford settled the game with a piece of individual brilliance.

He’s been Kerry’s key player all year but was finding the going tough in this match against Galway’s number three Seán Mulkerrin, a hardy bit of stuff from the Aran Islands. Clifford’s moment came though when he moved out to wing-forward and Mulkerrin passed him on rather than continue to shadow him.

A promising Galway attack broke down when two players went for the same ball and allowed Kerry to turn it over, and when it was cleared to Clifford on the wing he put his head down and ran straight at the Galway goals.

He covered around 40 yards at high speed before he unleashed a blistering shot right into the top left-corner of the net past a helpless Cormac Haslam. Pure quality.

Kerry now had a five-point buffer, and never looked like being caught from there. They finished the match with a flourish as points from Dara Moynihan, Cormack Linnane, and Seán O’Shea put a gloss on the final score-line that was a tad unfair on a gutsy but ultimately outclassed Galway side.

Scorers for Kerry: David Shaw 1-1, David Clifford 1-0, Diarmuid O’Connor 1-0, Seán O’Shea 0-2 (2f), Dara Moynihan 0-2, Cormac Linnane 0-1, Niall Collins 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Robert Finnerty 0-3 (2f), Desmond Conneely 0-2 (2f), Ryan Forde 0-1, Céin Darcy 0-1, Adam Quirke 0-1, Rory Cunningham 0-1 (1f)

Kerry: Billy Courtney; David Naughten, Niall Collins, Graham O’Sullivan; Michael Potts, Daniel O’Brien, Mícheál Foley; Mike Breen, Mark Ryan; Dara Moynihan, Seán O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor; David Clifford, David Shaw, Brian Friel
Subs: Cormac Linnane for Brian Friel, 48; Caolim Teahan for Niall Collins, 54; Bryan Sweeney for David Shaw, 60; Kieran Dwyer for Micheál Foley, 65; Stefan Okunbor for Diarmuid O’Connor, 67.

Galway: Cormac Haslam; Liam Boyle, Seán Mulkerrin, Eoin McFadden; Adam Quirke, Ernán McDonagh, Fionán Garvey; Céin D’Arcy, John Maher; Finian Ó Laois, Evan Murphy, Ryan Forde; Robert Finnerty, Seán Raftery, Desmond Connelly
Subs: Barry Goldrick for Evan Murphy, 38; Ross Murphy for Séán Raftery, 50; Rory Cunningham for Robert Finnerty, 56; Eoghan Deely for Fionán Garvey, 56.

Ref: Ciáran Branagan (Down)

Team News

The Kerry Minor Football Team to play Galway in the Electric Ireland All Ireland Minor Football Final at Croke Park on Sunday next (1:15) shows one change from the side that defeated Kildare in the semi final; Brian Friel, originally named on the semi final side, but who cried off with an injury on the morning of the game, is fit to resume and comes in at corner forward instead of Bryan Sweeney.

In the subs, Cian O’Callaghan of Firies comes into the match day squad in place of clubmate Niall Donohue.

The team, captained by Sean O’Shea is as follows:
1. Billy Courtney Dr. Crokes
2. David Naughten Dr. Crokes
3. Niall Collins Listowel Emmets
4. Graham O’Sullivan Dromid Pearses
5. Michael Potts Dr. Crokes
6. Daniel O’Brien Glenflesk
7. Micheál Foley Ballydonoghue
8. Mike Breen Beaufort
9. Mark Ryan Rathmore
10. Dara Moynihan Spa
11. Sean O’Shea Kenmare
12. Diarmuid O’Connor Na Gaeil
13. David Clifford Fossa
14. David Shaw Dr. Crokes
15. Brian Friel Rathmore

Fir Ionaid:
16. Sean Ó Lúing An Ghaeltacht
17. Bryan Sweeney Listowel Emmets
18. Kieran Dwyer St. Pats
19. Ferdia O’Brien Austin Stacks
20. Micheál Reidy Ballymacelligott
21. Caolim Teahan Glenbeigh-Glencar
22. Stefan Okunbor Na Gaeil
23. Cormac Linnane Beale
24. Cian O’Callaghan Firies

Bainisteoir: Peter Keane (St Marys)
Treanalaí: Chris Flannery and Padraig Murphy
Roghnoirí: Tommy Griffin (Dingle), James Foley (Kilcummin)

Liaison Officer: Christy Killeen

Additional Players on the Kerry Minor Panel
Cormac Leane Milltown Castlemaine
Nill Donohue Firies
Tomás O’Connor Ballymacelligott
Fionán Mackessy Ardfert
Darren Casey St. Mary’s
Ryan O’Neill Na Gaeil
Chris O’Donoghue Glenflesk
Cian Gammell Killarney Legion
Fiachra Clifford Laune Rangers

Additional Information
The team contains two of the starting fifteen from last year’s All Ireland final win over Tipperary – Billy Courtney and Sean O’Shea while three others who played in that final –Daniel O’Brien, Mike Breen and Graham O’Sullivan (introduced as subs) also make the starting fifteen. Bryan Sweeney who started at full forward in last year’s final, and who played in the semi final against Kildare, is included among the subs.
Seven of the St Brendans Killarney Hogan Cup winning team of 2016 are included, Billy Courtney, Davin Naughton, Daniel O’Brien, Michael Potts, Dara Moynihan, David Clifford and David Shaw.

Kerry Minor Footballers take on Galway in All Ireland Final
Sunday next will see the culmination of a long drawn out championship season for the Kerry Minor team when they take on Galway in Croke Park with a 1:15 throw-in. The road to Croke Park started way back on 13th of April in Dungarvan when Kerry got their season of to a good start with an emphatic victory over the local side. A month later, Kerry had six points to spare over Clare at Milltown-Malbay and they then had to wait until July 3rd for the Munster final with old adversaries Cork, a game that Kerry eventually won by six points despite the concession of three goals. The quarter final and semi final victories over Derry and Kildare were due to exceptional second half displays on both occasions and there is no doubt that Kerry are well worth their final place.

Opponents Galway come into the game with a fine pedigree also. They had ten points to spare in their opening game against Roscommon and then defeated Mayo by six points in the Connaught final. They defeated Laois by seven points in the quarter finals and then accounted for many people’s favourites for eventual honours, Donegal, far more comfortably than the four points winning margin would suggest.

So the scene is set for an epic battle between two footballing sides with Ciaran Branagan of Down the man in the middle.

While Kerry have won the previous two All Irelands in the grade, as manager Peter Keane pointed out at the team press briefing, this particular group of players and their management are looking to make their own bit of history in Croke Park on Sunday. Some players of course have experience of All Ireland final day from last year and others were part of the Hogan Cup colleges victory with St Brendans in Croke Park earlier in the year and this no doubt will be of benefit to them, however, every game presents a new challenge and collectively they will know that only a top class performance on the day will suffice. We wish all involved the very best of luck on Sunday.

GALWAY: C Haslam (Glenamaddy); L Boyle (Kilkerrin-Clonberne), S Mulkerrin (Aran Islands), E McFadden (Salthill-Knocknacarra); A Quirke (Annaghdown), E McDonagh (Bearna), F Garvey (Monivea-Abbey); C D’Arcy (Caherlistrane), J Maher (Salthill- Knocknacarra); F Ó Laoi (An Spidéal), E Murphy (Salthill Knocknacarra), R Forde (Annaghdown); R Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra), S Raftery (Glenamaddy), D Conneely (Moycullen).

Kerry are bidding to win the Electric Ireland Minor Football Championship title for a third successive year, a feat they last achieved in 1931-32-33. Cork were the last county to complete the minor treble in 1967-68-69. Galway last won the title in 2007. Galway and Kerry last met in the minor final in 1994 when Kerry won by 0-16 to 1-7.

Galway 3-11 Roscommon 1-7
Galway 1-9 Mayo 0-6
Galway 3-10 Laois 0-12
Galway 2-12 Donegal 1-11
Kerry 2-21 Waterford 1-2
Kerry 1-13 Clare 1-6
Kerry 3-14 Cork 3-8
Kerry 1-24 Derry 2-10
Kerry 2-26 Kildare 0-10

13 – KERRY (1931-32-33-46-50-62-63-75-80-88-94-2014-2015)
11 – Dublin (1930-45-54-55-56-58-59-79-82-84-2012)
10 – Cork (1961-67-68-69-72-74-81-91-93-2000)
8 – Tyrone (1947-48-73-98-2001-2004-2008-2010)
7 – Mayo (1935-53-66-71-78-85-2013)
6 – GALWAY (1952-60-70-76-86-2007)
4 – Derry (1965-83-89-2002)
4 – Down (1977-87-99-2005)
4 – Roscommon (1939-41-51-2006)
3 – Laois (1996-97-2003)
3 – Meath (1957-90-92)
2 – Cavan (1937-38)
2 – Louth (1936-40)
2 – Armagh (1949-2009)
2 – Tipperary (1934-2011)
1 – Clare (1929)
1 – Offaly (1964)
1 – Westmeath (1995)