Kerry crowned All-Ireland Junior Football Champions
All-Ireland Junior Football Final
Kerry 2-19 Meath 1-14
By Jason O'Connor at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise
KERRY’S dominance at All-Ireland Junior Football level continued in Portlaoise today as despite Meath doing their best to prevent a third consecutive title going the Kingdom’s way, the Royals could not match their more potent firepower when it mattered.
The defending champions started with the first three points of the game but gained a significant lead of 1-5 to 0-3 after 14 minutes when Conor Cox punished Meath goalkeeper Johnny Lynch for the game’s first goal.
Meath responded well through some impressive scores from Ben Brennan and were denied two goal chances themselves before half-time, Pa Kilkenny blocking Adam Flanagan from close range while Kerry goalkeeper Tomas Mac an tSaoir saved well from Neil Shortall in the 24th minute as their lead was 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time. Both sides traded scores after the restart but the decisive moment for Kerry would come in the 43rd minute with their second goal.
Phillip O’Connor found Tomas Ó Sé with a great high ball as the corner-forward managed to fist home for a 2-12 to 0-9 lead. Meath didn’t drop their heads but it was always going to be an uphill task from there, James Conlon scoring four points off the subs bench as Cox led the way on the scoring front for Kerry with a total of 1-8, three coming from frees.
Meath had a late consolation goal through Seán Reilly to make the scoreboard look a bit better but it was a score they could have done with much earlier in proceedings as Mac an tSaoir showed he hadn’t lost his concentration in pulling off another save before the end.
Eanna Ó Conchúir’s dismissal mattered little for the victors before the end as Kerry’s win is their 18th title overall at this level putting them one ahead of Cork on the Roll of Honour after a thrilling extra-time win for the Kingdom over the Rebels in the Munster Final of this competition in advance.
*Scorers for Kerry: *C Cox (1-8, 3f), T Ó Sé (1-2), K Spillane and P O’Connor (0-3 each), P Kilkenny E Ó Conchúir and I Parker (0-1 each).
*Scorers for Meath: *B Brennan (0-6, 2 ‘45’, 1f), J Conlon (0-4), S Reilly (1-0), D Rowe, W Carry, K Ross and D Healy (0-1 each).
KERRY: *Tomas Mac an tSaoir, Eamon Kiely, Jack McGuire, Brian Sugrue; James Walsh, Pa Kilkenny, Dan O’Brien; Roibeard Ó Sé, Brendan O’Sullivan; Phillip O’Connor, Jeff O’Donoghue, Éanna Ó Conchúir; Killian Spillane, Conor Cox, Tomas Ó Sé *Subs: Liam Carey for O’Donoghue (38), Michéal Foley for Kilkenny (51), Stephen O’Sullivan for Cox (57), Ivan Parker for O’Sullivan (59), PJ Mac Laimh (An Gaeltacht) for Walsh (60), DJ Murphy (Gneeveguilla) for Kiely (60 +2)
MEATH: *Johnny Lynch, Adam Lynch, Luke Moran, Michael Flood; David Toner, Damien Healy, Willie Carry; Adam Flanagan, Conor Farrell; Neil Shortall, Kevin Ross, Cathal McConnell; Jason Scully, Daire Rowe, Ben Brennan *Subs: James Conlon for Scully (19), Stephen Coogan for Ross (41), Seán Reilly for Farrell (46), Ciaran O’Rourke for Carry (49), Conor Moriarty for Shortall (52), Jason Scully for Rowe (57).
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)
*REFEREE: *John Hickey (Carlow).