EirGrid All-Ireland U20 Football Championship Semi-Final
Courtest of GAA.ie
By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium
Regardless of the age grade or level Kerry will always be a prized scalp. Unsurprisingly Sligo’s passionate supporters saluted this stirring success in Salthill.
Having defeated Roscommon, Mayo, and Galway in Connacht, Paul Henry’s team will contest an All-Ireland final.
This game examined Sligo’s character and panel depth, but they found a way in resilient fashion.
Playing into the teeth of a strong breeze Sligo were eager and enthusiastic throughout the opening period.
Roared on by a voiceferous support Sligo were dealt a blow when captain Canice Mulligan was forced off injured in the ninth minute.
By that stage Rob Monahan had clipped a couple of points for Kerry, but Sligo responded.
Ronan Niland and Luke Crowley traded scores before Sligo pounced to net a tonic 12th minute goal.
It was all about Niland’s skill and style following an exchange with Daire O’Boyle as Sligo hit the front.
From then until the interval Sligo defended with admirable determination with the teams eventually departing deadlocked 1-3 to 0-6 at the break.
After the restart Kerry crafted chances, but they weren’t sufficiently clinical converting. In the third quarter Kerry only nailed two from seven attempts as Sligo remained defiant.
A 46th minute point from a Dylan Walsh ’45 levelled matters at 1-5 to 0-8, and then Luke Marren (free) and substitute Brian Byrne added further Sligo scores.
Suddenly Sligo were ahead by two. William Shine responded with a free for Kerry narrowing the gap to the minimum, but Sligo stayed cool.
Fittingly the influential O’Boyle sealed the deal with a 57th minute point.
Kerry had Cian O’Donoghue sent off in stoppage time as Sligo closed out the deal impressively.
At Post Primary and underage level these are encouraging times for Sligo.
Scorers for Sligo: Ronan Niland 1-1, Luke Marren 0-3 (3fs), Daire O’Boyle, Brian Byrne, James Donlon (m) and Dylan Walsh (45) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: William Shine 0-4 (3fs), Rob Monahan 0-2, Luke Crowley, Keith Evans, and Cian McMahon 0-1 each.
Sligo: Ethan Carden; Ross Chambers, Conor Johnston, Luke Casserly; Dylan Walsh, Dylan McLoughlin, Rossa Sloyan; Conor Sheridan, Canice Mulligan; Mark McDaniel, James Donlon, Ross Doherty; Luke Marren, Daire O’Boyle, Ronan Niland.
Subs: Joshua Flynn for Mulligan (9), Brian Byrne for McDaniel (49), Robert O’Kelly-Lynch for Donlon (49), Conor McMorrow for Flynn (60+1), James Kiernan for Niland (60+2).
Kerry: Kieran MacKessy; Cian O’Donoghue, Andrew Moynihan, Joey Nagle; Killian O’Sullivan, Armin Heinrich, Paudie O’Leary; Cillian Burke, Caolán O’Connell; Rob Monahan, Jack Clifford, Keith Evans; Cian McMahon, William Shine, Luke Crowley.
Subs: Dara O’Callaghan for Moynihan (HT), Cian Lynch for O’Sullivan (HT), Aaron O’Shea for Clifford (44), Thomas O’Donnell for McMahon (52), Adam Segal for O’Connell (55).
Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone).