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Electric Ireland MFC: Derry edge out Kerry

James Sargent, Derry, and Aodhna Ó Beaglaoich, Kerry, in Electric Ireland MFC action. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

James Sargent, Derry, and Aodhna Ó Beaglaoich, Kerry, in Electric Ireland MFC action. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Electric Ireland MFC Semi-Final

Derry 1-13 Kerry 1-12

By Gerry Buckley at TEG Cusack Park

Derry have qualified for the All-Ireland minor football final after a one-point win against Kerry in a pulsating penultimate round tie.

The placed ball expertise of winning captain James Sargent and the goalkeeping heroics of Kerry’s Kacper Robak were two of the main talking points after what was a very sporting, yet hard-fought, contest.

Robak was called into action just 70 seconds after the throw-in, the netminder producing a great double-save from Sargent and Ruairí Biggs. A Kingdom counterattack yielded the game’s first score, a fisted point by Michael Horan. Goals quickly followed at either end, Dylan Rocks (when teed up by Luke Grant) and Eoin O’Flaherty (a flicked effort from close range at the end of a probing delivery by Seán Ó Cuinn) respectively finding the nets to leave Kerry ahead by 1-1 to 1-0 after seven minutes.

Point exchanges ensued between Dara McGuckin and Gearóid White (a free), and Grant and Éanna Murphy. Sargent equalized (1-3 apiece) in style in the 19th minute, but Kerry – aided by a slight wind – scored four unanswered points by the 28th minute via two White frees, and one each from play from skipper Ben Murphy (after a wonderful run goalward) and O’Flaherty.

Biggs and Sargent had quickfire goal chances blocked, the second of them resulting in a ‘45’ which Sargent converted with aplomb on the half-hour mark. Kerry led by 1-7 to 1-4 at the interval.

A brace of points from Eamon Young (the second of them from a free) and another free from Ger Dillon wiped out the deficit within four minutes of the resumption of play. There was never much between the teams and they equally shared six points by the 49th minute leaving the side tied at 1-10 each.

The Oak Leaf boys’ scores came via Sargent (a 45-metre free shortly after Robak had saved brilliantly from Dylan Rocks) and Young (a free), either side a fine score from play by sub Cody Rocks, while Kerry’s points came courtesy of Jack Joy and White (two - one each from open play and a free).

Derry edged ahead for the first time since their sixth-minute goal when Dillon and Young both pointed from play, before their first wide of the contest in the 52nd minute from the boot of Dylan Rocks.

Joey McCarthy and Sargent (from all of 50 metres from the ground) traded points from frees, with Aodhan Ó Beaglaoich wrapping up the scoring in the second of three minutes added-time. Kerry corner back Ruadhan Donovan was black-carded a minute later, but Sargent missed the resultant free. The final whistle sounded after the ensuing kick-out.

Scorers for Derry: J Sargent (2f, 1‘45’), E Young (2f) 0-4 each, D Rocks 1-0, G Dillon 0-2 (1f), L Grant, D McGuckin, C Rocks 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: G White 0-5 (4f), E O’Flaherty 1-1, A Ó Beaglaoich, B Murphy, J Joy, M Horan, É Murphy, J McCarthy (f) 0-1 each.

Derry: J McCloy; P O’Kane, R Canavan, P Haran; L Grant, C Ó Mianáin, D McGuckin; J Sargent, C McBride; E Young, T McHugh, C Hargan; G Dillon, R Biggs, D Rocks.

Subs: C Rocks for Biggs (36), C McNally for Haran (38).

Kerry: K Robak; F Ryan, M Lynch, R Donovan; S Ó Cuinn, A Ó Beaglaoich, G O’Keeffe; B Murphy, E O’Flaherty; G White, J McCarthy, É Murphy; J Joy, R Carroll, M Horan.

Subs: R O’Driscoll for Carroll (44), C Mac Gearailt for É Murphy (52), D Sargent for Ryan (53), D O’Sullivan for Ó Cuinn (59).

Referee: A Coyne (Westmeath).