Electric Ireland MFC S-F: Kerry advance to decider
Electric Ireland Minor Football Championship Semi-Final
KERRY 2-22 CAVAN 2-10
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
David Clifford struck a brilliant 1-10 at Croke Park as Kerry secured a remarkable fourth consecutive Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor football final place.
Clifford, one of four players who lined out in last year's final win over Galway, oozed class and kicked 1-7 of his haul from open play.
The Fossa teenager captained the side and set up a number of scores for his colleagues including the 63rd minute goal scored by substitute Jack Griffin.
Kerry will bid to become the first county to win four All-Ireland minor titles in a row when they play Dublin or Derry in the final on September 17.
Griffin finished with 1-1 for the Munster champions, while Friel was excellent overall and claimed four points with nine different players making the score-sheet.
It was Cavan's first semi-final at the grade since 1974 and they enjoyed a purple patch in the third quarter of the game when they kicked 1-5 without reply to reduce a 13-point deficit to just five.
But Kerry finished strongly with that Griffin goal and were good value overall for the dozen point win.
Beaten Ulster finalists Cavan turned their season around with a big quarter-final win over Galway.
The Breffni County were on level terms twice inside the first 10 minutes here, but fell 0-4 to 0-2 behind following Kerry points from Clifford and Diarmuid O'Connor and never recovered.
A burst of six Kerry points without reply between the 16th and 26th minutes moved the Munster champions 0-10 to 0-03 and hinted at a rout.
By this stage, Clifford had claimed five points and won a free for Donal O'Sullivan to convert.
Cavan, who had created some opportunities for points, but wasted them, were thrown a lifeline in the form of a fortunate 27th minute goal.
Patrick Lynch's long free in wasn't dealt with by Kerry's full-back line or goalkeeper and Oisin Pierson bundled the ball home from close range.
Pierson then tapped over a free and suddenly Kerry led by just 0-11 to 1-4 at half-time when it should have been more.
Kerry restarted with gusto though and closed out the game within minutes.
Clifford twice went close with goals, hitting the side-netting and then drawing a fine save from Gary O'Rourke before eventually netting in the 35th minute.
He caught a high ball on the edge of the square above Cavan defender Danny Cusack, spun away from his man and struck to the net.
Friel and then Clifford again added points to put Kerry 1-14 to 1-4 clear.
Kerry scored 1-6 in total without reply before James Smith finally stemmed the green and gold tide with a 46th minute point for Cavan.
There was that solid response from Cavan and Smith fired their second goal while Pierson took his tally to 1-5 for the day, but it was too little, too late and Kerry rallied in stoppage time.
Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 1-10 (245s, 1f), Jack Griffin 1-1, Brian Friel 0-4, Fiachra Clifford 0-2, Diarmuid O'Connor 0-1, Barry Mahony 0-1, Donnchadh O'Sullivan 0-1, Donal O'Sullivan 0-1 (1f), Eddie Horan 0-1.
Scorers for Cavan: Oisin Pierson 1-5 (2fs), James Smith 1-2, Cian Madden 0-1, Ronan Patterson 0-1, Philip Rogers 0-1.
*KERRY: *Deividas Uosis; Niall Donohue, Chris O'Donoghue, Sean O'Leary; Patrick Warren, Michael Potts, Cian Gammell; Barry Mahony, Diarmuid O'Connor; Adam Donoghue, Brian Friel, Fiachra Clifford; David Clifford, Donnchadh O'Sullivan, Donal O'Sullivan.
Subs: Jack Griffin for Donnchadh O'Sullivan (43), Eddie Horan for Warren (47), Cathal Ferriter for Donal O'Sullivan (51), Ciaran O'Reilly for F Clifford (58), Michael O'Leary for Mahony (61), Ryan O'Neill for Gammell (68).
CAVAN: Gary O'Rourke; John Cooke, Evan Fortune, Cormac Timoney; Ryan Coyle, Philip Nulty, Danny Cusack; Ronan Patterson, Oisin Kiernan; Ruairi Curran, Cian Madden, Philip Rogers; James Smith, Oisin Pierson, Patrick Lynch.
Subs: Sean Keogan for Kiernan (h/t), Killian Brady for Coyle (37), Niall McCabe for Lynch (45), Tiarnan Reilly for Curran (51), Patrick Meade for Patterson (60), Ryan Madden for Timoney (68).
REFEREE: Liam Devenney (Mayo).