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Portlaoise a happy hunting ground for Kerry Football Teams!   05/08/2017

Portlaoise a happy hunting ground for Kerry Juniors and Minors

A look back at today’s games by John O’Leary, Pro Coiste Chontae Chiarraí

From the time the very wise decision was made by Croke Park  to play the All Ireland Junior Final and All Ireland Minor Quarter Final as a double header in Portlaoise I have had people coming up to me saying “That Portlaoise place has never been a happy hunting ground for Kerry teams” – and they were real serious about it too! Well that myth, that is if it was one, has certainly been blown out of the water today following two fine victories one of which puts Kerry back on top of the Junior Roll of honour and the other which lines up a Minor semi final place against Cavan.

3 In-A-Row for Kerry Juniors

Tosach maith leath na h-oibre they say and Kerry Junior Footballers certainly got that when racing into a 5 points to 1 lead inside the opening seven minutes. When Conor Cox cheekily robbed a Meath defender in his own square just before the end of the first quarter and easily finished to the net that was just the score the Kingdom needed to cap a fine 15 minute display. Yes they did leave Meath back into the game for a period afterwards and Tomás Mac an tSaoir proved his worth a couple of times in the Kerry goal but Conor Cox and Philip O’Connor added two points in the final minutes and the scoreboard, reading 1-8 to 0-7, certainly reflected the balance of play a little better at the break. Kerry had lost their way a little as the half wore on and they were inclined to hold the ball up too long when it was clear that inroads could be made into the Meath defence by playing the quick ball into space.

It is likely that Jimmy Keane had a few harsh words for his charges during the half time break and they certainly resumed with a far more direct game plan. The Kerry defenders attacked the ball more with Jack McGuire and Brian Sugrue prominent; Brendan O’Sullivan – what an engine this man has! – and the high fielding Rob Ó Sé supplied their forward line with an abundance of possession and with the magnificent Cox leading the way with six points and Tomás Ó Sé finishing a Cox delivery to the net, Kerry blitzed their opponents in the first 18 minutes of the half to move 2-15 to 0-10 clear. This period of play was in direct contrast to a lot of their ponderous play in the second quarter in particular as the moved the ball swiftly to their full forward trio who in all scored 1-13 between them. Meath did respond with 4 points but Kerry added three more to run out very deserving winners. The one sour note was the late dismissal of Eánna Ó Conchúir for an innocuous retaliation that the linesman could very easily have overlooked at that stage.

So a third All Ireland on the trot with three different teams for the Kingdom and they left no doubt in anybody’s mind as to who the best team was. It is very likely though that when players and management reflect back on a satisfying few months they will remember that evening in Pairc Uí Rinn when they fought their way back from an 11 points deficit early in the second half to record a fine Munster final victory over Cork after extra time.

Minors qualify for the All Ireland Semi Final

Kerry are through to another Minor Semi Final following this ten points victory over a spirited  Louth side in the opening game in O’Moore Park and from the word go it must be said this was a game that Kerry never looked like losing.

They were 1-8 to 0-1 clear inside the opening 15 minutes with Donnchadh O’Sullivan’s goal, laid on by the outstanding Brian Friel, and an absolute peach of a point from David Clifford, being the standout scores. Kerry were well on top throughout the half but in fairness to Louth they did enjoy plenty of possession but putting it to good use was their problem. Kerry put in another scoring burst before the break but Louth snatched a goal out of nowhere just before that short whistle to take the bare complexion off the scoreboard and give them some hope for the second half.

Kerry restarted in no mood to let Louth reduce the deficit however and both Adam Donoghue and David Clifford came within inches of goaling. A goal did come but it was at the other end as Louth, not for the first time, made inroads through the middle and Eoghan Callaghan finished sweetly. Kerry’s response was swift and five points without reply had the winners back in the driving seat and allowed them empty their bench before running out easy 1-22 to 2-9 winners.

Still, I would imagine that Manager Peter Keane has this talented group of players exactly where he wants them going into a semi final. While they clocked up a good score they did not shoot the lights out by any means and Louth certainly exposed a few defensive frailties that seemed to lay dormant until now.

From a positive point of view, a number of other forwards stepped up to the plate to give David Clifford a hand with the scoring, particularly Brian Friel who helped himself to four points from play.

They now play Cavan in the semi final and that 1-11 to 0-11 victory seems to have come as a surprise to many as the general view was that Galway, last year’s beaten finalists, were again a strong outfit this year. Cavan defeated Monaghan and Down on their way to the Ulster final where they were beaten by Derry by 1-22 to 1-12. Derry incidentally, defeated Sligo in the other quarter final 1-13 to 0-15 and they will meet the winners of the 4th quarter final on Monday next between Dublin and Clare. Barring a miracle, that winner is likely to be Dublin who will than play Derry in the other semi final.

While the Minor semi final fixtures do not automatically follow their Senior counterparts it will be a big surprise if the Kerry V Cavan semi final is not played on August 20th along with the Kerry V Mayo/Roscommon Senior semi final with the probable Dublin v Derry Minor semi final the curtain raiser to the Dublin V Tyrone senior encounter a week later.

Yes, at the end of a very enjoyable day in the O’Moore Park sunshine, it has to be said that Portlaoise is now a happy hunting ground for Kerry football teams –  and that’s official!!


Kerry Win Third Consecutive Junior All Ireland Title

By Diarmuid Kearney and Samuel Mansfield

A score of 1-8 from Man of the Match Conor Cox guided Kerry to win their third consecutive Junior All Ireland Football title following a hard fought 8 point win against Meath in O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.

Cox was in flying form early on and almost had the net bulging but his shot was sent straight at Johnny Lynch in the Meath Goal who parried it back. Cox eventually found the net with 12 minutes played as he contested and won a loose kick out before driving through the defence and dispatching low into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

Meath were spirited in the opening half driving hard at the Kerry and were denied two goal chances as Pa Kilkenny blocked the first before Tomas Mac an tSaoir made a fantastic save to keep the goal unbreached.

Ben Brennan was on top form getting 4 points and keeping Meath in the game as Kerry held a narrow four point lead at the break on a score of 1-08 to 0-07.

The Kingdom came out firing early on in the second half as Cox got 2 quick scores extending the Kingdom’s lead to 6 points. Both sides exchanged scores before Tomas Ó Sé had the net bulging once more as he fisted a dropping ball by Philip O’Connor past the onrushing Meath Keeper to score a well deserved goal.

Meath were trying their best to forge a comeback but again Mac an tSaoir, denied another goal chance with a brilliant save. With the game deep into injury time Meath scored a consolation goal as Sean Reilly hit a thunderous effort into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area.

Meath’s fightback was too little too late as Kerry ran out 8 point winners on the day as the Juniors once again win another All Ireland title and now head the Roll of Honour with 18 titles, one ahead of Cork.. Final score in O’Moore Park, Kerry 2-19 Meath 1-14.

Scorers: Kerry:  C Cox (1-8 3F), T Ó Sé (1-2), K Spillane and P O’Connor (0-3 each), I Parker, P Kilkenny and E. Ó Conchúir (0-1 each)

Meath: B Brennan (0-6 2’45 3F) J Conlon (0-4), S Reilly (1-0), D Rowe, W. Carry, K Ross and D Healy (0-1 each)

Teams: Kerry: T.Mac an tSaoir, E. Kiely, J. McGuire,B. Sugure, J. Walshe, P. Kilkenny, D. O’Brien, R. O Sé, B. O’Sullivan, P.  O’Connor, J. O’Donoghue, E. O’ Connor, K. Spillane(Capt), C. Cox, T. O Sé

 Subs: L Carey for J O’Donoghue (38) M Foley for P Kilkenny (51) S O’Sullivan for C Cox (57) I Parker for B O’Sullivan (58) P Mac Lamh for J Walsh (60) D Murphy for E Kiely (62)

Meath: J. Lynch, A, Lynch, L. Morgan, M. Flood, D. Toner, D. Healy, W. Carey, A. Flanagan, C. Farrell, N. Shortall, K. Ross, C. McConnell, J. Scully, D. Rowe(Capt), B. Brennan.

Subs: J Conlon for J Scully (18) S. Coogan for K Ross (41) S Reilly for C Farrell (45) C O’Rourke for W Carry (49) C Moriarty for N Shortall (52) J Scully for D  Rowe (57)

All-Ireland Junior Football Final

Kerry 2-19 Meath 1-14

By Jason O'Connor for GAA.IE  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).

Kerry Junior Football Team V Meath

All Ireland Final Saturday August 5th 2017


The Kerry Junior Football Team to play Meath in the All Ireland Junior Football Final at O’Moore Park Portlaoise on Saturday at 3pm shows one change in personnel from the side which defeated Leitrim in the semi-final; Under 21 Captain Brian Sugrue comes into the defence in place of  Michael Foley.

The team captained by Killian Spillane is as follows:

1 Tomas Mac an tSaoir                       An Ghaeltacht

2 Eamonn Kiely                                    Brosna

3 Jack McGuire                                     Listowel Emmets

4 Brian Sugrue                                     Renard

5 James Walsh                                     Knocknagoshel

6 Pa Kilkenny                                       Glenbeigh-Glencar

7 Daniel O’Brien                                  Glenflesk

8 Roibeárd Ó Sé                                  An Ghaeltacht

9 Brendan O’Sullivan                         Valentia Young Islanders

10 Philip O’Connor                             Cordal

11 Jeff O’Donoghue                            Glenflesk

12 Eánna Ó Conchúir                         An Ghaeltacht

13 Killian Spillane         (C)                 Templenoe

14 Conor Cox                                      Listowel Emmets

15 Tomás Ó Sé                                   An Ghaeltacht


Fir Ionaid:

16 Billy Courtney                                  Dr Crokes

17 Liam Carey                                      Beaufort

18 Stephen O’Sullivan                        Templenoe

19 Ivan Parker                                     Churchill

20 Dara Ó Sé                                        An Ghaeltacht

21 Michael Foley                                  Ballydonoghue

22 P.J. Mac Lámh                                 An Ghaeltacht

23 Graham O’Sullivan                        Dromid Pearses

24 D.J. Murphy                                    Gneeveguilla


Bainisteóir: Jimmy Keane (Brosna)

Róghnóirí: Niall O’Mahony (Spa), Pól Ó Cuinn (An Ghaeltacht), John O’Connell (Tarbert)

The team contains nine players who have previously won Junior All Ireland medals; James Walsh and Conor Cox won All Irelands in 2012 and 2015 while Jack McGuire, Eamonn Kiely, Brian Sugrue, Brendan O’Sullivan, Philip O’Connor, Jeff O’Donoghue and Killian Spillane were also on the 2015 winning side.

Five players, Brian Sugrue, Daniel O’Brien, Roibeard Ó Sé, Killian Spillane and Tomás Ó Sé have won All Ireland Minor medals during the last three years.

Kerry Juniors face Meath in the All Ireland Final

Kerry Junior footballers will hoping to win three All Ireland titles on the trot for their county when they take on Meath in the final at O’Moore Park Portlaoise on Saturday next. Kerry have dominated this competition over the past four years and have now joined Cork at the top of the roll of honour with seventeen titles. In contrast Meath have won the competition five times the last of which was back in 2003. The Leinster champions have defeated the likes of Kildare, Wexford and Louth in Leinster and then British champions Kilkenny in the semi final and certainly have had a far tougher route to the final than their opponents on Saturday.

Kerry of course were never tested by Limerick in their opening game but they did get a pretty good test of the character and football ability from Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn before they eventually gained another Munster title following an extra time victory. In the semi final in the Gaelic Grounds a couple of weeks back, Kerry had it all their own way for long periods of the game with Leitrim and they never looked like they were going to lose despite a sub-standard performance.

Kerry have plenty players with experience of the big occasion given that seven players  have previously won Junior All Ireland medals; James Walsh and Conor Cox won All Irelands in 2012 and 2015 while Jack McGuire, Brendan O’Sullivan, Philip O’Connor, Jeff O’Donoghue and Killian Spillane were also on the 2015 winning side. In addition, five players from the starting fifteen, Michael Foley, Daniel O’Brien, Roibeard Ó Sé, Killian Spillane and Tomás Ó Sé have won All Ireland Minor medals during the last three years. The fact that many of them have played together previously on winning championship teams has to be a big advantage.

Meath footballers are tough and generally do not stand on ceremony and any side that has come through a stern test of their ability thus far will not give in too easily. The Kerry management team of trainer Jimmy Keane (Brosna) and selectors Pól Ó Cúinn (An Ghaeltacht), John O’Connell (Tarbert) and Niall O’Mahony (Spa) will certainly want more from their charges than the form displayed against Leitrim and a good strong team like Meath is sure to bring the best out of them. Throw-in for the game is 3pm, referee is John Hickey of Carlow and extra time will be played in the event of a draw. The game is the second in a double bill that sees Kerry and Louth minors in action in the All Ireland Minor Quarter Final.