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Last minute penalty hands Derry dramatic All-Ireland final win over Kerry

A pulsating finish in Tullamore as Derry snatched victory.

Derry 2-12

Kerry 1-14

Kevin Egan reports from Bord Na Móna O Connor Park

DERRY’S FIRST ALL-Ireland minor football title since 2002 arrived in the most dramatic of circumstances this afternoon in Tullamore, as they edged out Kerry by a single point in a game that will live long in the memory of anyone fortunate enough to be in attendance.

lachlan-murray-celebrates-after-scoring-a-goal Lachlan Murray celebrates after scoring a goal for Derry. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

It looked like the Ulster side would experience further final heartbreak, having lost heavily to a David-Clifford-powered Kerry team in the 2017 showpiece event. In injury time a calamitous short kickout allowed substitute Maurice O’Connell to toe poke the ball in to an empty net. However, Derry went straight up the other end and when Niall O’Donnell’s shot was blocked by Kerry goalkeeper Sean Broderick, referee Jerome Henry deemed it a foot block and awarded the penalty.

matthew-downey-and-team-mates-celebrate Captain Matthew Downey and his Derry team-mates celebrate.

Matthew Downey, whose father Henry captained Derry to the All-Ireland title in 1993, rifled his shot straight down the middle with incredible composure and power. The Munster men still had chances to win this game but Derry goalkeeper Kian McGonigle produced an excellent point blank save to deny Darragh Fleming before Oisín Maunsell sent an effort wide.

Cian McMahon had a last-ditch chance to send this game to extra time with an incredibly difficult free from the sideline but his effort drifted inches wide in a heart-stopping moment that summed up the incredibly narrow margin between these sides.

shine-scores-a-point-despite-eoin-mcevoy William Shine scores a point for Kerry.

The first half of this contest was competitive, absorbing, and hugely enjoyable, but no one in Tullamore could have envisaged the incredible drama that was about to unfold as things heated up even further in the sweltering afternoon heat in the midlands.

As supporters reached into their cooler bags for water, soft drinks and anything else to try and take the sting out of the heat, the question on their minds would have been if the two sides could have maintained the incredible physicality and tempo of the game up to that point. Instead, the heat was taken up another notch.

Some excellent scores from Keith Evans and William Shine were among the highlights as Kerry took an 0-7 to 0-4 lead into the break, but Derry had been incredibly strong defensively over the course of this long-drawn out minor campaign, and they showed that again in the second half this fixture.

Patrick McGurk and Lee Brady made some incredible interventions in the full back line, Eoin McEvoy was commanding at centre back while Mark Doherty, named at wing-back but operating today in the half-forward line, was also superb.

One of the defining passages of this game came in the 39th minute when Milltown-Castlemaine’s Cillian Burke burst through on goal with a typical barnstorming run that ended up with a low shot that drew a good save from Kian McGonigle. Derry broke quickly with Downey, Doherty and McEvoy combining to set up full-forward Lachlan Murray to palm the ball to the net.

Derry gained the momentum after that goal but they were never able to move four points up, even as Kerry’s dangerous forward unit starved of possession. However, two Cian McMahon points moved Kerry within one, and as injury time loomed, a remarkable period of play saw goals at either end, and missed chances that could have changed the result.

Scorers for Derry: Matthew Downey 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), Lachlan Murray 1-2, Mark Doherty 0-2, Eoin McEvoy, Charlie Diamond (f), Lee Brady, Calum Downey, Niall O’Donnell 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: Cian McMahon 0-4 (0-2f), Maurice O’Connell 1-0, Cillian Burke, Oisín Maunsell, Keith Evans & William Shine 0-2 each, Aaron O’Shea & Seán Broderick (45) 0-1 each.

Derry

1. Kian McGonigle (Dungiven)

3. Patrick McGurk (Lavey), 7. Lee Brady (Bellaghy), 2. Adam McGonigle (Glen).

10. Donncha Gilmore (Steelstown), 6. Eoin McEvoy (Magherafelt), 4. Connor Sheils (Desertmartin).

8. Dan Higgins (Magherafelt), 9. Patrick O’Kane (Dungiven).

12. Jody McDermott (Glen), 11. Matthew Downey (Lavey), 5. Mark Doherty (Newbridge).

15. Niall O’Donnell (Ballinderry), 14. Lachlan Murray (Desertmartin), 13. Charlie Diamond (Bellaghy).

Subs

24. Calum Downey (Lavey) for Higgins (half-time, temp)

24. Calum Downey (Lavey) for Diamond (38)

18. Jude Moore (Greenlough) for McGonigle (49)

20. Ryan McEldowney (Desertmartin) for McDermott (59)

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21. Peter McCullagh (Slaughtneil) for Murray (60+3)

Kerry

1. Seán Broderick (John Mitchels)

4. Dara O’Callaghan (Kilcummin), 3. Joey Nagle (Austin Stacks), 2. Cian O’Donoghue (St. Mary’s Caherciveen).

9. Oisín Maunsell (Na Gaeil), 6. Armin Heinrich (Austin Stacks), 7. Killian O’Sullivan (Glenflesk).

5. Paudie O’Leary (Gneeveguilla), 24. Cillian Burke (Milltown-Castlemaine).

12. Thomas O’Donnell (Castlegregory), 11. William Shine (Legion), 10. Keith Evans (Keel).

15. Darragh O’Sullivan (Churchill), 14. Aaron O’Shea (Listry), 13. Cian McMahon (Dr. Crokes).

Subs

21 Jordan Kissane (Austin Stacks) for D O’Sullivan (43)

19 Maurice O’Connell (Castlegregory) for Shine (45)

18. Darragh Fleming (Legion) for K O’Sullivan (49)

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)

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About the author:

Kevin Egan

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