Kerry defeat Tyrone in Minor Football quarter-final
Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Quarter-Final
KERRY 1-12 TYRONE 0-9
Kevin Egan at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park
Kerry took a decisive step towards a remarkable sixth consecutive All-Ireland minor football title this afternoon as a superb second half performance eventually shook off an incredibly dogged Tyrone side at Tullamore.
In an era where it’s often assumed that there is a direct correlation between scoring rates and the level of quality in any given game, this absorbing contest proved that green and white flags don’t have to fly every minute or two in order for supporters to be held spellbound by an intense, skilful battle between two fiercely committed sides.
The heat and humidity in the midlands was oppressive this afternoon for those more accustomed to milder Irish conditions, but no-one in the arena would have felt as suffocated as the Kerry forwards in the opening half, as they were denied breathing room by a masterful performance from the Tyrone backs.
Two Jack O’Connor 45’s were the only Kerry scores up until the 29th minute, when Dylan Geaney planted the ball on top of the net from out on the stand-side touchline. Kerry posted six first half wides up to that point, in part because of the pressure they were under when kicking and equally on account of their frustration at being unable to connect with their inside forward line. Michael McCann, Seamus Sweeney and Seán O’Donnell all came up with crucial turnovers for Tyrone, as they gradually began to lay the foundations for what they hoped would be a memorable victory.
Kerry’s defensive sextet was impressive too, but the hard running of Mark Devlin, the subtle movement and quick feet of Luke Donnelly and the simple effectiveness of Daniel Fullerton at full forward helped them to build an 0-6 to 0-3 interval lead. Several stunning catches from Michael McGleenan at midfield gave them a solid base of primary possession, and with a significant breeze set to blow at their backs in the second half, they were well poised to go on and become the first team in 34 attempts to beat a Kerry minor football team in a championship encounter. They could have been even further in front too, but for two incredible saves from Devon Burns to deny Donnelly and Conor Cuddy.
Jack O’Connor and Mark Devlin traded scores at the start of the second half but it quickly became apparent that playing into the wind was going to suit Kerry. They ran the ball very effectively, with Eoghan O’Sullivan and Seán O’Brien prominent from wing back, while Joseph Linehan and Dylan O’Callaghan also added impetus after coming off the bench. O’Connor, Emmet O’Shea and O’Sullivan all pointed to draw the sides level, before the game swung decisively in Kerry’s favour at the start of the fourth quarter.
Joseph Linehan burst through two players to open up an overlap after winning a kickout, he transferred the ball to Gearóid Hassett and quick hands from the Laune Rangers player set up Emmet O’Shea for a decisive goal. On the next attack, Michael McGleenan was black carded for a high tackle, Michael McCann saw red for an incident in the same play, and Jack O’Connor fired over his fifth point of the game after taking a pass from the resultant free.
Mark Devlin and Shea Browne kicked late scores for Tyrone as they tried to hang on to Kerry’s coat tails but by now space was opening up in the back division and late scores from Dylan Geaney and Ryan O’Grady made safe the Kingdom’s passage through to a semi-final clash with Galway next weekend.
Scorers for Kerry: Jack O’Connor 0-5 (0-2 45’s, 0-1f), Emmet O’Shea 1-2, Dylan Geaney 0-3, Eoghan O’Sullivan & Ryan O’Grady 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tyrone: Mark Devlin 0-4 (0-2 45’s), Luke Donnelly & Daniel Fullerton (0-1f) 0-2 each, Shea Browne.
KERRY: Devon Burns; Luke Chester, Alan Dineen, Kieran O’Sullivan; Eoghan O’Sullivan, Adam Curran, Sean O’Brien; Ronan Collins, Cathal Ó’Beaglaoich; Colin Crowley, Jack O’Connor, Darragh Lynch; Dylan Geaney, Emmet O’Shea, Gearóid Hassett. Subs: Joseph Linehan for K O’Sullivan (38), Dylan O’Callaghan for Crowley (38), Tomás Ó’hAiniféin for Lynch (55), Kevin Goulding for O’Shea (59), Jason Kerins for Hassett (60), Ryan O’Grady for O’Connor (60+2).
TYRONE: Stephen McMenamin; Conor Cuddy, Michael McCann, Seamus Sweeney; James Donaghy, Niall Devlin, Seán O’Donnell; Steven Donaghy, Michael McGleenan; Ruairí Campbell, Mark Devlin, Shea Daly; Aaron McGrath, Daniel Fullerton, Luke Donnelly. Subs: Brian Conway for Cuddy (39), Shea Browne for Donnelly (43), Rory Burns for O’Donnell (51), Ciarán Daly for McGleenan (51, black card), Eoghan McGomery for S Donaghy (60+2)
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin)