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After 34 matches unbeaten, Galway inflict first defeat on Kerry minors since 2013

The Tribesmen set-up an All-Ireland final meeting with Cork.

Tomo Culhane celebrates after the game with team mates.
Tomo Culhane celebrates after the game with team mates.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Galway 0-14

Kerry 0-13

THE KERRY PLAYERS will leave Croke Park wondering just how they left this one behind them.

The Kingdom’s bid to reach a sixth All-Ireland minor final in succession was ended by a talented and well-drilled Galway outfit this afternoon.

After going an incredible 34 matches and almost six years without suffering a championship defeat at this grade, Kerry’s run is over.

Their dominance of the Tom Markham Cup stretches all the way back to 2014 when Jack O’Connor led them to two successive crowns and then Peter Keane took over the mantle and brought them to the five-in-a-row.

James Costello’s side were left to rue a wides tally of 12, including five in the final 10 minutes with the game hanging in the balance.

The sides were level with seven minutes to play when Tomo Culhane, Galway’s top scorer with six points, edged them in front and substitute Darragh Kennedy pushed his side two clear in the 61st minute.

Dylan Geaney pulled back a point for Kerry but their attack had completely lost its shape and width. Centre-forward Jack O’Connor sent a late shot strike and Kerry’s race was run.

Galway celebrate at the final whistle Galway celebrate at the final whistle. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Their shooting accuracy was just 46% and credit must go to the tigerish Galway defence for the pressure they put on the Kerry forwards.

Corner-backs Jonathan McGrath and Liam Tevnan were particularly impressive as they came up against a formidable attacking force. 0-13 was the lowest tally Kerry have put up in this year’s championship.

Galway lost the Connacht final to Mayo but have recovered spectacularly since then. They’ll play Cork in the final after they put four goals past Mayo yesterday.

Galway were beaten in the minor finals of in 2016 and 2018 and this victory should fill them with huge confidence heading into the decider.  

Galway regularly filtered two half-forwards behind the ball and looked to frustrate the Kingdom attack. It worked to good effect as they worked up a two-point lead by half-time.

Five of their starting forwards had scores on the board by the interval and midfielder Daniel O’Flaherty was unlucky not to add a goal after he forced a fine save from Devon Burns.  

Dylan Geaney and Jonathan McGrath Dylan Geaney runs at the Galway defence. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Kerry were wasteful in the opening period, converting just five of their 12 shots at the posts. But they improved considerably after the break. With the breeze at their backs, the Munster champions kicked four points from distance by the 33rd minute.

The Galway defence tightened up considerably and in up front Salthill/Knocknacarra ace Tomo Culhane stroked over a delightful effort after a neat dummy solo. Corofin youngster Dylan Brady added his second point to help the Tribesmen draw level by the 43rd minute.

The teams were deadlocked heading into the final 10 minutes when Galway’s greater efficiency in front of the posts and their defensive nous saw them over the line.

Scorers for Galway: Tomo Culhane 0-6 (0-4f), Warren Seoige and Dylan Brady 0-2 each, Nathan Grainger, Cian Hernon, Daniel Cox and Darragh Kennedy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: Darragh Lynch, Dylan Geaney and Emmet O’Shea 0-3 each, Jack O’Connor 0-2, Sean O’Brien and Colin Crowley 0-1 each.

Galway

1. Donie Halleran (Cortoon Shamrocks) 

2. Jonathan McGrath (Caherlistrane)
3. Ruairí King (Clifden)
4. Liam Tevnan (Northern Gaels)

5. Cian Hernon (Bearna)
6. Ethan Fiorentini (St Michaels)
7. Kyle O’Neill (Caherlistrane)

8. James McLaughlin (Moycullen)
9. Daniel O’Flaherty (Salthill/Knocknacarra)

10. Evan Nolan (Salthill/Knocknacarra)
11. Warren Seoige (Naomh Anna Leitir Móir)
12. Dylan Brady (Corofin)

13. Nathan Grainger (Claregalway)
14. Tomo Culhane (Salthill/Knocknacarra)
15. Daniel Cox (Moycullen)

Subs

22. Conall Gallagher (St Michaels) for O’Flaherty (39)
24. Niall Cunningham (St Gabriels) for Grainger (48)
17. James Webb (Uachtar Ard) for O’Neill (51)
18. Darragh Kennedy (An Clochan) for Brady (57)

Kerry

1. Devon Burns (Na Gaeil)

2. Luke Chester (Auston Stacks)
3. Alan Dineen (Rathmore)
4. Kieran O’Sullivan (Cromane)

5. Eoghan O’Sullivan (Killarney Legion)
6. Adam Curran (Austin Stacks)
7. Sean O’Brien (Beaufort)

8. Cathal Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
9. Ronan Collins (Gneeveguilla)

14. Gearóid Hassett (Laune Rangers)
10. Colin Crowley (Templenoe)
12. Darragh Lynch (Listowel Emmets)

11. Jack O’Connor (Beaufort – captain)

13. Dylan Geaney (Dingle)
15. Emmet O’Shea (Fossa) 

Subs

19. Dylan O’Callaghan (Fiodh Ros) for Crowley (39)
18. Joseph Linehan (Cnoc Na hEaglaise) for Lynch (44)
20. Kevin Goulding (Baile Dubh) for O’Shea (55)
17. Tomas O Hainifein (Na Gaeil) for Collins (58)
23. Ryan O’Grady (An Leigiun) for Geaney (63) 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / reports from Croke Park

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