Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park
DAVID CLIFFORD PRODUCED another masterclass in front of goal as he struck 1-10 in Kerry’s Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor football semi-final success against Cavan this afternoon.
The Kingdom captain was on song from the off as he hit three points from play in the opening quarter and when he swung over the final point of the game deep in injury-time, he had amassed 1-7 in total from open play.
His contribution helped Kerry advance to another All-Ireland minor decider and they will bid for a fourth consecutive crown at this level against Dublin or Derry next month.
Cavan always faced a tough task against a Kerry team who have been extremely impressive this summer. But the Ulster finalists started brightly to go 0-2 to 0-1 ahead with Oisín Pierson and James Smith emerging from the start as two of the most dominant players on show.
However Cavan were wasteful in front of goal in the first half and Kerry stamped their class with six unanswered points to go 0-10 to 0-3 clear by the 26th minute.
Cavan got a boost before the break as they finished the half strongly to trail 0-11 to 1-4 at the interval. The goal arrived in the 27th minute when Patrick Lynch’s long delivery caused chaos in the Kerry goalmouth and it was eventually diverted to the net by Pierson.
Kerry emerged for the second-half and quickly set about settling the contest. They hit 1-6 in the third quarter and shut up shop at the back to ensure their final place was secured.
The goal arrived in the 35th minute when Clifford rolled the ball to the net after he had been denied moments previously by a point-blank save from Cavan goalkeeper Gary O’Rourke.
While the captain was the star up front for Kerry, he was ably supported by corner-forwards Brian Friel and Fiachra Clifford. Rathmore man Friel chipped in with 0-4 in an impressive showing while Laune Rangers attacker Clifford weighed in with 0-2.
To their credit Cavan battled to the finish and a scoring spree of 1-5 saw them cut Kerry’s lead to five points, 1-17 to 2-9, with four minutes of normal time remaining. Smith finished with aplomb for their second goal after another high ball caused discomfort for the Kerry rearguard.
But again Kerry were able to up the ante when required with Clifford scoring 0-3 in the finale and substitute Jack Griffin helped himself to 1-1 as the Peter Keane managed side triumphed impressively.
Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 1-10 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), Brian Friel 0-4, Jack Griffin 1-1, Fiachra Clifford 0-2, Barry Mahony, Diarmuid O’Connor, Donal O’Sullivan (0-1f), Donnchadh O’Sullivan, Eddie Horan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cavan: Oisín Pierson 1-5 (0-2f), James Smith 1-2, Ronan Patterson, Cian Madden, Philip Rogers 0-1 each.
Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud
1. Deividas Uosis (Dingle)
2. Sean O’Leary (Kilcummin)
3. Chris O’Donoghue (Glenflesk)
4. Cian Gammell (Killarney Legion)
5. Patrick Warren (Gneeveguilla)
6. Michael Potts (Dr. Crokes)
7. Niall Donohue (Firies)
8. Barry Mahony (St. Senans)
9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)
10. Adam Donoghue (Castleisland Desmonds)
11. David Clifford (Fossa)
12. Donal O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan)
13. Fiáchra Clifford (Laune Rangers)
14. Donnchadh O’Sullivan (Firies)
15. Brian Friel (Rathmore)
21. Jack Griffin (Dr Crokes) for Donnchadh O’Sullivan (43)
17. Eddie Horan (Scartaglen) for Warren (47)
24. Cathal Ferriter (Annascaul) for Donal O’Sullivan (51)
18. Ciarán O’Reilly (Austin Stacks) for Fiachra Clifford (57)
22. Michael O’Leary (Renard) for Mahony (inj) (61)
19. Ryan O’Neill (Na Gaeil) for Gammell (68)
1. Gary O’Rourke (Ballyhaise)
2. John Cooke (Crosserlough)
3. Evan Fortune (Cavan Gaels)
17. Ryan Coyle (Lacken)
5. Philip Nulty (Knockbride)
6. Cormac Timoney (Ballinagh)
7. Danny Cusack (Lavey)
8. Ronan Patterson (Ramor United)
9. James Smith (Crosserlough)
10. Ruairí Curran (Swanlinbar)
11. Cian Madden (Gowna)
12. Philip Rogers (Knockbride)
13. Oisín Pierson (Gowna)
14. Patrick Lynch (Crosserlough)
20. Oisín Kiernan (Denn)
21. Seán Keogan (Ramor United) for Kiernan (inj) (half-time)
4. Killian Brady (Ramor United) for Coyle (38)
22. Niall McCabe (Knockbride) for Lynch (45)
15. Tiarnan Rielly (Drung) for Curran (51)
18. Patrick Meade (Kingscourt) for Patterson (inj) (60)
19. Ryan Madden (Gowna) for Timoney (66)
Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)