Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tomás Ó Sé’s Kerry hold on to end 16-year wait to make under 20 final with victory over Meath

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Despite the Munster champions being held scoreless in the last 15 minutes, the Royals were left devastated as their greater wastefulness in the closing stages proved decisive.

Tomás Kennedy, foiled by a smart save from Oisín McDermott, and Lane, stopped by a diving block by full-back Liam Kelly, missed clear Kerry goal chances.

However Meath, with replacement Conor McWeeney having no luck whatsoever, wasted opportunity after opportunity to find a leveller.

McWeeney saw one fisted effort, which looked destined to go over, come off the post and crossbar, and followed that by missing another point. With the last kick of the game, Meath full-back Kelly then fired high and wide from 40 metres.

The first half was full of exceptional quality and breath-taking passages of play, with the Kingdom, driven on by Eddie Healy and Darragh O’Connor, leading by the minimum at half-time (0-8 to 0-7).

The second half didn’t produce the same magic, but the entertainment never dissipated.

In the end, in a riveting affair that could have gone either way by the conclusion, on an afternoon when extra-time would not have been quibbled with.

But ultimately it was Tomás Ó Sé’s charges who had their noses in front at the death and after five semi-final losses in seven seasons, Kerry finally broke their last-four hoodoo.

Scorers – Kerry: C Dillon 0-4 (0-2fs), E Healy, L Crowley 0-2 each, T Kennedy, D Kirby, R Diggin, P Lane 0-1 each. Meath: J Murphy 0-5 (0-2fs), H Corcoran 0-2 (0-1f), S Leonard, J O’Regan, J Kinlough, C O’Connor 0-1 each.

Kerry: M Tansley; G Evans, C Lynch, M Lynch; C Keating, D O’Connor, R Diggin; R Stack, E Healy; O Ferris, L Crowley, D Kirby; C Dillon, T Kennedy, A Crowley. Subs: A Segal for Diggin (35), C Brosnan for Ferris (43), F Murphy for Evans (44), P Lane for A Crowley (46), L Evans for Kirby (56).

Meath: O McDermott; C Ennis, L Kelly, S O’Hare; E Armstrong, J O’Regan, K Smyth; J Kinlough, C O’Connor; S Leonard, R Stafford, C Duke; H Corcoran, J Murphy, R McConnell. Subs: C McWeeney for Leonard (ht), S Emmanuel for Stafford (43), T Martin for O’Connor (43), B O’Halloran for Smyth (46), J Harkin for Corcoran (55).

Referee: T Murphy (Galway).

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