Junior Football Semi Final Review

From The Kerryman newspaper 11th August 2010
MacGearailt eager for supporters to back team

The short turnaround from Kerry’s arrival in Manchester Airport and the start of the game was pinpointed by Kingdom star Aodhan MacGearailt as the principal reason why he and his teammates failed to convince as much as expected in Saturday’s game with Lancashire. “It was a difficult game, the score suggests we won easily, but it wasn’t an easy game. At one stage in the second half we were only ahead by a couple of points so it didn’t feel like it was easy until the last ten minutes. Players were a wee bit lethargic and I don’t want to be making excuses but we did just get off the flight and then drive straight to the pitch so it was a bit difficult to find your bearings and we seemed to be a bit dazed at the start,” he continued. “Of course now for the final we know Sligo will be well prepared, but we’re still there, we’re still fighting and hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves in the final.

“I hope that people will travel to the game and support us, we’re going to do our best to win it and we don’t feel added pressure after what happened to other Kerry sides this summer.”

Corner-back Fergal Griffin, meanwhile, agrees with the An Ghaeltacht man that there is additional pressure on the junior now that they are the last Kerry football team standing in inter-county competition. “There may be some pressure there in the sense that we’re the last Kerry team standing this year but we won’t let that get to us in the final. “We know how strong Sligo can be, their seniors were very impressive in Connact this year and even last season they could have beaten Kerry and with Kevin Walsh in charge they’re going to be strong. “From our point of view though the buzz has been good in the camp all year, we said to ourselves after winning the Munster title that there wasn’t much point in winning Munster if we weren’t going to go all the way and that’s what we intend to do.”

Comfortable but not overwhelming by Graham Clifford  for Kerryman Newspaper at Old Bedians, Manchester

YOU couldn't have blamed the Kerry Junior side, which traveled to Manchester on Saturday afternoon for feeling apprehensive. For one they were playing a side they knew little about at a venue most had never heard of, let alone seen before.

Indeed preparations for this All-Ireland semi-final were somewhat disjointed, the squad only landing into nearby Manchester airport an hour and a half before the game. The Old Bedians Ground is just a few miles away from Manchester United and Manchester City's training grounds - unfamiliar territory alright.

The home side started the brighter after the delayed throw-in with Eoin Meaney pointing from a free inside two minutes. The twin towers of Lancashire's Rory O'Donoghue, whose parents come from Kerry, and Liam Coyne proving a handful for their opponents in green and gold, Mike Coakley and Don Murphy.
Eventually the Munster Champions settled thanks to a wonder score from the marauding Eamon Hickson who ran two-thirds of the pitch before slotting over the Lancashire crossbar. In a prolific 15 minute spell Kerry racked up 1-4 with John Buckley netting superbly in the 21st minute. With Aodhan MacGearailt unerring from frees and the likes of Gary Sayers, Michael O' Donoghue and Michael Murphy finding their feet it seemed Kerry were going to have this tie done and dusted by the change of ends.
But Lancashire refused to roll over and in the 27th minute they were given a lifeline. A speculative long ball from their half-back line somehow made its way into Laois man Richie Coss who collected, swiveled and shot past Séan Ó Ciardubháin.

It would be an exaggeration to say Old Bedians exploded into celebration, but the majority of those amongst the 300 support certainly had cause to smile. However, joy turned to heartbreak moments later when the British Champions were reduced to 14 men.
Inexplicably Lancashire full-forward Willie Ahern kicked out at a Kerry defender and the infringement was spotted by an umpire. Referee Gary McCormack was consulted and the Dublin official felt he had no choice, but to show Ahern the red card.

It was something both Lancashire and the game itself could have done without and it transformed the home side's task from a difficult one into an impossible one.
Before the interval MacGearailt raised his fourth white flag of the half from a free after John Buckley was upended to send Kerry in at the break leading by 1-7 to 1-2. If you thought the Lancashire goal would have seen Kerry move into fifth gear after the restart you'd be wrong.
As in the opening half Kerry took their foot off the peddle and Lancashire began to impress. The home county playing with the wind scored the first three points after the interval with Stephen Molumby (Dublin), substitute Joe Corcoran (Mayo) Griffin was almost faultless throughout. The Glenbeigh / Glencar man did the simple things well and even had time to go on a storming run down the left wing midway through the second half. Alongside Gavin O'Connor and Aidan Cahill in the fullback line Griffin must be a contender for the senior panel next season if he continues this rich vein of form.
As the game entered its final quarter Kerry were running up scores at will. Murphy registered his second and third points in the 55th and 56th minutes respectively and there was still time for Captain Michael O'Donoghue, who led superbly all evening, to score from the left wing with a minute to go.
Tuosist's Alan O'Sullivan made sure all the six starting forwards scored by helping himself to a point in injury time on what turned out to be a comfortable win for the Kerry men. and Nathan Plant all on target.

Kerry's lead was reduced to two points, 1-7 to 1-5 but with MacGearailt around there was no genuine cause for concern. One of the An Ghaeltacht man's leading traits is his composure and he stroked a ball majestically over the bar in the 37th minute from a free to get Kerry up and running again.
It was something of a floodgate opening score and Kerry went on to kick ten points in total in the second half. Listowel Emmets Brendan Guiney set up Buckley for a brilliantly taken point in the 42nd minute as Lancashire began to tire. As in the first half a trademark Hickson sortie resulted in a fantastic score for the Annascaul man a minute later as Sligo and the final on August 21 came more into focus.
Buckey was on target again before Michael Murphy collected his first point despite being challenged just as he connected with the ball to send Kerry into a seven point lead and out of sight. 

KERRY: Sean Ó Ciardubháin, Gavin O'Connor, Fergal Griffin, Aidan Cahill, Eamon Hickson (0-2), Adrian Greaney, Brendan Guiney, Mike Coakley, Don Murphy (0-1), Michael Murphy (0-3), Michael O'Donoghue (0-1), Alan O'Sullivan (0-1), Gary Sayers (0-1), Aodhan MacGearailt (0-6, 4f), John Buckley (1-2) Subs: Brendan Poff for G. Sayers, Alan Fitzgerald for J. Buckley, Tom McGoldrick for M. Coakley, Brian McGuire for G. O'Connor, Brendan Gleeson for A. Cahill
LANCASHIRE: J. Sheehan, R. Gallagher, J. Gibney, D. Fitzpatrick, S. Gallagher, S. Molumby (0-1), M. Moore, R. O'Donoghue, L. Coyne (0-1), C. O'Connor, J. McDermott, N. Plant (0-1), E. Meaney (0-4, 3f), W. Ahern, R. Coss (1-0). Subs: J. Corcoran (0-1) for C. O' Connor, A. Boyle for R. Gallagher, E. Vahey for R. O'Donoghue
REFEREE: Gary McCormack (Dublin)

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Last Updated (Thursday, 12 August 2010 00:40)