Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 27 July 2021

O'Brien goal inspires Kerry to victory over Tyrone and seals All-Ireland final place

33,848 in Croke Park for today’s clash.

Kerry 1-18
Tyrone 0-18

ONCE AGAIN AN All-Ireland semi-final swerved in a different direction after the midway mark and once again a second-half revival proved telling.

Stephen O'Brien celebrates scoring a goal Stephen O'Brien celebrates scoring his goal for Kerry. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Dublin blitzed Mayo after half-time last night, Kerry’s recovery was more methodical this afternoon but it proved just as effective. A listless first-half showing was wiped away as they posted 1-13 on the board in the second half. A four-point deficit transformed into a three-point victory for Kerry. It was a deeply satisfying outcome for them on the back of considerable improvement in their performance.

Stephen O’Brien slotted home the critical goal for Kerry in the 56th minute after a superb piece of approach work by Paul Geaney. That score pushed them in front by three and they never relinquished that advantage thereafter. A decider date with Dublin beckons, a traditional All-Ireland showpiece as Kerry attempt to halt the drive for five.

O’Brien collected the man-of-the-match award after, his game involvement ending on a sour note though when he was shown a black card. That threatens to sideline him for the final but a Kerry appeal of his offence last weekend against Meath looks certain.

Tyrone were left to reflect on another hard day in Croke Park. The past four campaigns have seen their championship aspirations halted here in the All-Ireland series with Mayo, Dublin twice and now Kerry having sent them to the exit door.

Cathal McShane and Jason Foley Tyrone's Cathal McShane and Kerry's Jason Foley. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The first half was a graphic contrast in attacking returns. The Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly double act wreaked havoc as they struck 0-5 from play between them. Niall Sludden popped over a brace of points as well. The second quarter was particularly profitable, Tyrone striking five out of the six scores registered in the game.

David Clifford lofted over a glorious point in the 15th minute yet Kerry would only score once more before the interval courtesy of a ’45 slotted over by Sean O’Shea. They trailed 0-9 to 0-5 at the close of a half where Tyrone had dictated the terms of the game and Kerry were struggling greatly to gain a foothold.

Kerry turned to their reserves. Jack Sherwood and Gavin White were sprung at half-time, the former making a particularly notable impact. Tommy Walsh came in midway through the second half and provided a focus for Kerry’s attacks.

By that stage Kerry had hauled themselves back into contention. Paul Geaney buzzed around the attack with intent, grabbing a point and drawing frees which O’Shea despatched between the posts. Sherwood arced over a 50th minute score to leave Kerry just one adrift, 0-11 to 0-10, but Connor McAliskey countered with a Tyrone point.

Kerry were powering forward though and stitched together 1-3 in a pivotal time frame between the 54th and 58th minutes. It would prove a sufficient buffer for the rest of the game. Tyrone kept on trying to pare back the deficit but could only ever get within three in the finale.

Tadhg Morley had greater joy in confronting McShane with Kerry’s experienced figures like Moran, Geaney and O’Brien all standing tall. Clifford swept over some immaculate points, the last the insurance score before Peter Harte knocked over a late free.

Scorers for Kerry: Seán O’Shea 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 ’45), David Clifford 0-5 (0-1f), Stephen O’Brien 1-2, Paul Geaney 0-3, David Moran, Jack Sherwood 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone: Cathal McShane 0-7 (0-3f), Niall Sludden, Mattie Donnelly, Niall Morgan (0-2 ’45) 0-2 each, Peter Harte (0-1f), Connor McAliskey, Darren McCurry, Richie Donnelly, Michael McKernan 0-1 each.


1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
3. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
7. Shane Enright (Tarbert)

4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)
5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
9. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)

17. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)

14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
13. David Clifford (Fossa)
15. Killian Spillane (Templenoe)

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19. Jack Sherwood (Firies) for Adrian Spillane (half-time)
10. Gavin White (Dr Crokes) for Enright (half-time)
21. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahilly’s) for Foley (50)
20. Dara Moynihan (Spa) for Killian Spillane (58)
18. Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion) for Crowley (71)
24. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil) for O’Sullivan (74)


1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

4. Rory Brennan (Trillick)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
20. Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland)

6. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)
15. Conor Meyler (Omagh)
5. Michael McKernan (Coalisland)

8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
19. Richard Donnelly (Trillick)

11. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
17. Michael Cassidy (Ardboe)
12. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)

7. Frank Burns (Pomeroy)
14. Cathal McShane (Owen Roe)
10. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick)


21. Connor McAliskey (Clonoe) for Sludden (53)
23. Tiarnan McCann (Killyclogher) for McGeary (58)
13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)for Cassidy (64)
9. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan) for Cavanagh (69)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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