Patient Kingdom outlast Royals
Kerry 1-23 Meath 2-18
Kerry survived a scare at Austin Stack Park in Tralee on Saturday with some half-time tactical adjustments making all the difference.
A shock looked on the cards at the break as Meath led Division 2A champions Kerry by 1-13 to 1-9 with the home side struggling to breach the visitors' defensive set-up.
However, the Kingdom showed why they are in Division 1B next season, as they made some astute switches, introduced excellent players off the bench, including Sean Weir, David Butler, Rory Horgan and a late cameo from former Tipperary star John O'Neill, and had fought back to level it on 1-18 apiece by the 55th minute. Experience and patience won the day as Kerry finished the stronger, with Shane Nolan giving Kerry the lead in the 55th minute and they never looked like losing it. Padraig Boyle added a free, while Daniel Collins and John O'Neill pushed Kerry five clear. Willie McGrath's goal was a mere consolation as Kerry marched on to the semi-finals.
Scorers - Kerry: S Nolan 0-12 (10fs), C Harty 1-0, P Boyle 0-3, J Egan and D Butler 0-2 each, D Collins, R Horgan, S Weir and J O'Neill 0-1 each. Meath: J Regan 1-11 (1-0 pen, 7f, 0-1 s/c), W McGrath 1-3, J Fagan 0-2, M Burke and E Marsh 0-1 each.
Kerry - J Logue; B Murphy, P Costello, K Carmody; D Collins, D Dineen, P Kelly; J Griffin, J Egan; C Harty, A Royle, S Nolan; M Boyle, P Boyle, P Lucid. Subs: D Butler for P Lucid (26), S Weir for A Royle (h-t), R Horgan for B Murphy (44), J O'Neill for C Harty (63), J Flaherty for P Boyle (68).
Meath - S McCann; C Reilly, S Brennan, S Whitty; K Keoghan, M Burke, S Heavy; J Toher, S Morris; J Fagan, C Bird, J Regan; W McGrath, D Healy, A Douglas. Subs: E Marsh for C Bird (27), P Keogh for D Healy (66), S Quigley for S Morris (69).
Ref - D O'Driscoll (Limerick)