Saturday next: Kerry Juniors face Meath in the All Ireland Final
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.
The Kerry team will be announced on Thursday evening around 8pm and posted on the Kerry GAA website