Tom Hayes the hero as Cavan end their 87-year wait
Cavan 2-14 Kerry 0-14 (All-Ireland JFC Final)
An assured Cavan side, laced with Ulster-winning U-21 players, proved far too strong for 15- time winners Kerry at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, ending an 87-year famine.
A goal in either half from hero Tom Hayes proved decisive as the Breffni men beat Kerry in a Championship game for the first time the historic Polo Grounds win in 1947.
It was a tight contest, with the work rate and enterprise of Enda Reilly and Enda Hessin proving problematic for the Kingdom, while Hayes terrorised the Kerry defence. Add to the mix the upfield surges of wing-backs Paul Smith and Ciaran Brady, and the Kingdom were on the back foot as they also lost out at midfield.
Kerry’s two main weapons Gavin O Grady and Thomas Hickey were well marked, though O Grady scored three from play and rattled the crossbar in the opening half, as did Ciaran Keating.
The crucial score came in the 20th minute, when Hayes ghosted past his marker and buried the ball to help his side to a 1-7 to 0-6 interval lead.
Hessin and Reilly added points but Brian Crowley and O’Grady replied, before Cavan struck for the game-deciding score, a 40th-minute goal from Hayes , after Shane Murphy had parried brilliantly from Reilly.
Cavan now led 2-9 to 0-8 and Kerry were denied the goal the needed when James Farrelly saved well from O’Grady midway through the half.
Scorers – Cavan: T Hayes 2-2, E Hessin 0-4, C Conroy (2 ’45s’), E Reilly (1f), D Hyland, P O’Connor 0-2 each. Kerry: P Kennelly 0-4, G O’Grady, B Crowley (3fs) 0-3 each, P O Connor, B O’Sullivan, C Keating, E Walsh 0-1 each.
Cavan – J Farrelly, D Barkey, J Morris, F Reilly, C Brady, B Sankey, P Smith, L Buchanan, P Leddy, C P Moynagh , C Conroy, E Reilly, T Hayes , E Hessin, P O’Connor. Subs: N Smith for O’Connor (45), D Hyland for Conroy (47), B Doyle for Leddy (50), N Clerkin for Reilly ( 55), C Caffrey for Hessin (60), T Moore for Moynagh
Kerry – S Murphy, M Brennan , K O’Dwyer, D Wren, G Gibson, D Daly, G Crowley, A Garnett, B O Sullivan, P O Connor , C Keating, B Crowley , G O Grady, P Kennelly, T Hickey. Subs: S Moloney for Wren (24), A O Donoghue for Daly (34), E Walsh for G Crowley (40), P Og O Se for O’Connor (42), D Roche for Garnett (45) .
Ref – J Henry (Mayo)