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Early goal spurs Galway on to stun 14-man Kerry and reach All-Ireland U21 decider

Dessie Conneely and Colin Brady struck the goals for Galway.

Dessie Conneely celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game for Galway.
Dessie Conneely celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game for Galway.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Galway 2-14
Kerry 2-10

A GOAL AFTER 21 seconds laid the platform for Galway to stun a heavily-fancied Kerry side in today’s EirGrid All-Ireland U21 football semi-final at Cusack Park in Ennis.

That early strike to the net by Dessie Conneely after Galway had turned over Kerry after the throw-in was the springboard for a superb opening display by the Connacht champions as they went ahead 1-7 to 0-1 by the 10th minute.

Kerry trailed by eight points at the interval but despite cutting the deficit to three in the second half when Matthew O’Sullivan netted, their hopes of victory were severely damaged when midfielder Barry O’Sullivan was sent-off after being shown a second yellow card in the 47th minute.

Galway upped the tempo again to close out the game successfully with man-of-the-match Cillian McDaid and midfielder Peter Cooke both immense.

Galway players celebrate Galway players celebrate their victory. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Substitute Colin Brady from Corofin rattled the net in the 58th minute to seal their victory and although Kerry pulled a goal back courtesy of a blistering shot from substitute Jordan Kiely, there was no halting Galway’s march to the final on 29 April.

They may have required extra-time to get past Sligo in the Connacht final but there was no disputing Galway’s superiority here. They began the match in a whirlwind fashion with Cooke and Michael Daly kicking some marvellous points.

After their brilliant Munster final showing, Kerry flatlined in the early stages here as they struggled to gain a foothold in the game. Killian Spillane’s 21st minute point was their solitary score from play in the opening period.

They received a lifeline after the break when towering full-forward O’Sullivan raised a green flag, albeit Galway protested that the goal should have been disallowed for the ball being thrown to the net.

Matthew O'Sullivan scores a disputed goal Mathew O'Sullivan scores a disputed goal for Kerry. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

That was the start of Kerry’s best phase of the game with Spillane, goalkeeper Shane Ryan and Flaherty all knocking over points to leave them 1-11 to 1-8 adrift by the close of the third quarter.

Yet Kerry could not get closer as Galway took over once more and maximised the personnel advantage handed to them by the dismissal of O’Sullivan.

Scorers for Galway: Peter Cooke 0-5 (0-3f), Dessie Conneely, Colin Brady 1-0 each, Sean Kelly, Michael Daly 0-2 each, Kieran Molloy, Robert Finnerty, Paul Mannion, Cillian McDaid, Céin D’Arcy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: Killian Spillane 0-4 (0-3f), Jordan Kiely, Matthew O’Sullivan 1-0 each, Shane Ryan (0-1f), Matthew Flaherty 0-2 each, Sean O’Shea, Conor Geaney 0-1 (0-1f) each.

Galway

1. Ronan O Beolain (Micheal Breathnach)

2. Liam Kelly (An Spideal)
3. Sean Andy O Ceallaigh (Leitir Mor)
4. Ruairi Greene (Killannin)

5. Kieran Molloy (Corofin)
6. Dylan McHugh (Corofin)
7. Cillian McDaid (Monivea-Abbey)

8. Peter Cooke (Moycullen)
9. Cein D’Arcy (Caherlistrane)

10. Sean Kelly (Moycullen)
11. Michael Daly (Mountbellew-Moylough)
12. Paul Mannion (Kilconly)

13. Robert Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra)
14. Eoin Finnerty (Mountbellew-Moylough)
15. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen)

Subs

Colin Brady (Corofin) for Mannion (41)
Michael Boyle (Killererin) for Finnerty (55)
Colm Brennan (Oileain Arainn) for D’Arcy (56)
Eric Lee (Oughterard) for McDaid (59)

Kerry

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Tom (Leo) O’Sullivan (Dingle)
3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
6. Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil)
7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue)
9. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle)

10. Brandon Barrett (Ardfert)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Matthew Flaherty (Dingle)

13. Killian Spillane (Templenoe)
14. Matthew O’Sullivan (St Michaels-Foilmore)
15. Conor Geaney (Dingle)

Subs

21. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for Barrett (28)
23. Roibeard Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht) for Ó Seanacháin (41)
22. Jordan Kiely (Dr Crokes) for O’Shea (44)
17. Jack Morgan (Austin Stacks) for White (56)
19. Cormac Coffey (Kerins O’Rahilly’s) for Tom Leo O’Sullivan (59)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Sligo)

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