*Aiden Davidson and Jack Sheedy celebrate. Photograph: Willie O’Reilly (Burren Eye Photography) St Breckans have sealed
Kerry collected their forty seventh Munster minor football championship at the expense of Clare.
Venue: Páirc Uí Chaoimh
There was a considerable difference between the sides as Kerry claimed their sixth Munster minor title in a row.
With twenty seven minutes gone in this final, all six of Kerry’s forwards plus their midfield pairing and centre back had registered on the scoreboard, Clare meanwhile had registered just a single score in that period.
Early points from Jack O’Connor and Paul Walsh settled Kerry before they were rocked by a goal from Shannon Gaels’ Thomas Kelly. Corner back John Murphy burst out of defence with possession, Cian McDonough orchestrated proceedings from centre forward before spotting Kelly and he made no mistake to get their opening score on ten minutes.
It didn’t have the desired impact of driving Clare on and instead revived the Kingdom as they kicked 1-12 without reply. Maurice Walsh’s side finished with two of the final three scores of the half via Emmet McMahon and Shane Meehan to leave it 1-15 1-02 at the break.
Referee John Ryan had to blow his whistle four times to call the Clare team from the dressing room to commence the second half and it appeared that whatever was said had an impact as Tadhg Lillis pointed in the first attack of the half. However this was short lived as the Banner didn’t pick off further scores instead they collected three yellow cards in a matter of minutes.
This energy was drained even more when Dylan Geaney picked off his second goal on thirty six minutes. McMahon and Meehan replied only for Kerry to notch an unanswered 1-05 as the game reached its conclusion. Conor Hassett and Meehan raised a white flag each but they were cancelled out by efforts from Jack O’Connor and Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoích as Peter Keane’s side secured a twenty point win.
Kerry were a class above their opponents. They kicked some wonderful scores over the hour and were not dependent on particular players to get them. The conveyor belt of talent coming through the county is continuing at a steady pace and this side will certainly be in the reckoning for All-Ireland honours.
Ultimately the switching off period following Thomas Kelly’s goal was fatal for the Banner. They left themselves with a mountain to climb but the hope is that playing in this provincial final will develop them in their future inter-county careers. Reaching back to back Munster deciders is a positive but the margin of the defeats is definitely negative, bridging this gap is and must remain the number one focus for football in the county. Twenty five points was the difference in last year’s U18 final between the same teams, making the distance is going to take time.
Clare still have the All-Ireland series to look forward, learning their lessons from this encounter and regaining their focus must now be the priority.
1: Marc Kelliher (Gleann Fleisce)
2: Conor Flannery (Daingean Uí Chúis)
3: Owen Fitgerald (Gniomh Go Leith )
4: David Mangan (Fánuithe na Leamhna)
5: Colm Moriarty (Abha na Scáil)
6: Dan McCarthy (An Neidín) (0-01)
7: Dan Murphy (Ráth Mhór)
8: Darragh Rahilly (Ráth Mhór) (0-02)
9: Darragh Lyne (An Leigiún) (0-01)
10: Paul Walsh (Brosnach) (1-07)
11: Paul O Shea (Cill Cuimín) Captaen (0-02)
12: Killian Falvey (Abha na Scáil) (0-01)
13: Dylan Geaney (Daingean Uí Chúis) (2-02)
14: Jack O Connor (Lios an Phúca) (0-02)
15: Michael Lenihan (Dr. Chrócaigh) (0-01)
20: Séan Quilter (Aibhistín De Staic) for O’Shea (36)
17: Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoích (An Ghaeltacht) (0-02) for Lenihan (42)
21: James McCarthy (An Neidín) for Fitzgerald (51)
22: David Dineen (Ráth Mhór) for Rahilly (53)
1: Michael Garrihy (St Breckans)
2: Jack Reidy (Shannon Gaels)
3: Darragh Connelly (Ennistymon)
4: John Murphy (Ennistymon)
5: Gavin D’Auria (Éire Óg)
6: Cillian Rouine (Captain) (Ennistymon)
7: Adam O’Connor (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
8: Chibby Okoye (Banner)
9: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart) (0-02 1’45)
10: Thomas Kelly: (Shannon Gaels) (1-00)
11: Cian McDonough (St Josephs Doora/Barefied)
19: Jack Regan (Ennistymon)
17: Joey Droney (Michael Cusacks)
14: Shane Meehan (Banner) (0-03)
15: Mark McInerney (Éire Óg)
24: Tadhg Lillis (Doonbeg) (0-01) for Droney (HT)
12: Padraic Donohue (Cooraclare) for Regan (HT)
13: Kevin Keane (Corofin) for McInerney (44)
23: Conor Hassett (Kildysart) for D’Auria (53)
21: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg) for Lillis (59) (BC)
18: Ryan Barry (Ennistymon) for O’Connor (59)
Referee: John Ryan (Cork)