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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Clifford stars with 1-3 as Kerry book fifth All-Ireland junior final in-a-row

David Clifford’s older brother Paudie helped the Kingdom past Kildare.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Kerry 2-17

Kildare 1-14

Kevin O’Brien reports from Pairc Tailteann, Navan

KERRY ARE 60 minutes away from landing their fourth All-Ireland junior football title in succession after a six-point win over Kildare in today’s last four clash.

Eoghan Lawless hit the net from a 63rd minute penalty to leave Kildare just three points behind but as they chased a late equaliser Kerry counter-attacked and goaled through Cillian Fitzgerald to make the game safe.

Paudie Clifford, older brother of senior star David, set-up Fitzgerald’s late goal and chipped in with 1-3 himself in a fine display from centre-forward.

Kerry were forced to field an entirely new team this season after last year’s victory, but Jimmy Keane has come back with a very strong side including Denis Daly who logged National League minutes under Eamonn Fitzmaurice in 2017 and 2016.

It’s the fifth All-Ireland final in-a-row Kerry have made at this grade. They lost to Cavan in the 2014 decider before beating Mayo (2015 & 2016 finals) and Meath last year. They’ll play Galway in the final after the Tribesmen defeated Kilkenny by eight points in the other semi-final.

With Clifford pulling the strings at centre-forward, Kerry had a cracking start to this game. The Kingdom roared into a 1-6 to 0-1 lead after 15 minutes, with Clifford’s goal arriving after a brilliant run and finish.

Kildare finally raised a gallop with six unanswered scores before the break as their powerful running game began to yield frees for Campbell and Noone to convert.

Kerry’s interval lead was three, but third quarter scores from Ronan Murphy, Padraig O’Connor, Denis Daly, Clifford and Thomas Hickey pushed them six in front by the 47th minute.

Lawless brought the Kildare challenge down the home straight, scoring two frees and a goal from a spot-kick to leave them 1-17 to 1-14 behind in second-half stoppage-time. Then Kerry broke away for Fitzgerald’s goal to seal their path into a fifth straight All-Ireland decider.

Scorers for Kerry: Paudie Clifford 1-3 (0-1f), Niall O Se 0-4 (0-2f), Ronan Murphy 0-4, Cillian Fitzgerald 1-0, Thomas Hickey 0-2 (0-2f), Kieran Murphy 0-1, Paul O’Sullivan 0-1, Denis Daly 0-1, Padraig O’Connor 0-1.

Scorers for Kildare: Eoghan Lawless 1-2, (1-0 pen, 0-2f), Barry Noone 0-4 (0-3f), Declan Campbell 0-4 (0-4f), Mark Nolan 0-2, Mark Grace 0-1, Brina Travers 0-1.


1. Dara Ó Sé (Ballydonoghue)

4. Paul O’Sullivan (Valentia)
3. Dan Donoghue (Spa, Killarney)
2. Trevor Wallace (Ardfert)

7. Pádraig Ó Connor (Gneeveguilla)
6. Denis Daly (St Marys)
5. Conor Ó Sé (St Marys)

8. Kieran Murphy (Kilcummin – captain)
9. Ronan Murphy (Beaufort)

10. Evan Cronin (Spa, Killarney)
11. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)
12. Ronan Buckley (Listry)

15. Niall Ó Sé (Dromid Pearses)
14. Lee Donoghue (Glenflesk)
13. Thomas Hickey (Castleisland Desmonds)


23. Cillian Fitzgerald (Churchill) for Buckley (38)
22. Chris Farley (Dromid Pearses) for Donoghue (38)
24. Gary O’Leary (Kilcummin) for Cronin (55)
18. Sean T Dillon (St Senan’s) for Wallace (56)
19. Gavin Horan (Milltown/Castlemaine) for O Se (59)
20. John Jennings (Raheens) for Nolan (60)


1. Declan Campbell (Raheens)

2. Kevin Corrigan (Kill)
17. Mark Grace (St Kevin’s)
4. Tom Dore (Raheens)

5. Graham Waters (Raheens – captain)
6. Eoin McMonagle (Clogherinkoe)
7. Nathan Sherry (Two Mile House)

8. Liam Power (Raheens)
9. Brian Travers (Rathcoffey)

10. David Malone (Raheens)
11. Mark Nolan (Clogherinkoe)
24. Mark Sherry (Two Mile House)

13. Conor Murray (St Kevin’s)
21. Eoghan Lawless (Crocha na Greine)
15. Barry Noone (St Kevin’s)


22. Declan Flaherty (St Ciaran) for Sherry (38)
3. Tom Barron (St Ciaran) for McMonagle (43)
23. Stephen O’Leary (An Chill) for Murray (43)
14. Shane Maughan (Baile Ellis) for Noone (48)
19. Cormac Divilly (Cil Choca) for Dore (55)
17. Darren Brosnan (Gneevguilla) for O’Sullivan (59)

Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)


In the day’s other semi-final, Galway booked a spot in the decider after a 2-12 to 2-8 win over Kilkenny.

Five-star Meath produce clinical performance to advance to Leinster MFC final

Who’ll fall at the last Super 8s hurdle, can Kildare back-up Newbridge and will Cork show up?

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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