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Two wins over Treaty sends Kerry to U-19 League of Ireland Shield semi-final


Kerry Under 19 manager Billy Dennehy Photo by Eóin Noonan / Sportsfile

Kerry Under 19 manager Billy Dennehy Photo by Eóin Noonan / Sportsfile

Kerry Under 19 manager Billy Dennehy Photo by Eóin Noonan / Sportsfile



The Kerry Under 19 team reached dizzy heights at Mounthawk Park on Sunday when they booked their pace in the U-19 League of Ireland Shield semi-final with a great 2-0 win over Treaty United.

This was the second time the sides met in the space of four days as they locked horns at Limerick UL the previous Wednesday and in a highly entertaining game a 90th minute goal by Ryan Kelliher clinched the game for Kerry in a seven-goal thriller.

Kerry got off to a dream start with Ronan Teahan scoring after three minutes. They doubled their lead seven minutes later with a great strike by Cian Brosnan.

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The home side struck back in 26th minute with a superb finish by Seán Oyibo. And they brought the game back to parity four minutes from the break with a Adam Fitzpatrick strike.

Kerry were on the ascendency in the second half and they regained the lead just before the hour mark with a fine goal from Ryan Kelliher.

There was a sensational finish to the game with Mark Murphy equalising for the home side the 89th minute and it looked as if a draw would be the outcome at the end.

Straight after the tip off Kerry came out with all guns blazing and Ryan Kelliher popped up to score a sensational winner.

If the sides had not seen enough of each other in this game they squared up again at KDL headquarters in Tralee on Sunday where only a win would suffice if Kerry were to qualify for the semi-final.

There was much more pressure on the team going into this game as the stakes were very high as opportunities like this don’t come very often for Kerry teams.

The game was played in atrocious conditions with a howling gale sweeping down the pitch while torrential showers mixed with snow were falling on a regular basis. Both sides are to be complimented for providing a decent game with some good passages of constructive football.

Kerry got into their stride quickly in this game dominating midfield and were creating scoring opportunities on a frequent basis.

They opened their account in the sixth minute when the razor sharp Ryan Kelliher took advantage of complacency by the Treaty goalie and he nipped it to prod the goal to the net.

Two decent efforts from Kelliher brought a good save from the Limerick goalie, while the second effort was over the top.

Kerry doubled their lead just after the half hour mark after penetrating approach work Kelliher provided the ammunition for Cian Brosnan and he found the net from close range.

Kerry sent on Ronan Teahan in place of Nathan Gleeson and he went on to have a huge impact on the game, pulling the strings at midfield and taking on opponents at every given opportunity.

The visitors first shot on goals did not come until the 39th minute with a long range effort from distance by Josh Quinlivan was comfortably saved by Kerry goalie Gavin O’Brien.

Kerry must have been happy enough with the performance at half time but they had to face the strong gale in the second half. They dictated the game again after the break but were not enjoying too much success up front trying to battle with the elements.

They did put a few chances together but were unable to apply the finish when it was required. Ronan Teahan turned in an excellent shift and was a constant threat any time he got on the ball and was linking up very well with his colleagues and used the ball very cleverly.

Treaty thought they had got a consolation goal late in the game when a Mark Murphy free kick went all the way to the net but it was indirect so the goal did not stand.

It was a very good all round performance by Kerry who won the game very the end.

Next Sunday Kerry travel to play Waterford in the final game in the league stage of the competition. Both sides have qualified for the semi-final and all that is at stake in this game is who will top the group.

This is very important as the team that wins the group will have home venue for the semi-final. While Waterford and Kerry have 20 points each, Waterford have a superior goal difference so Kerry will have to win the game to top the group a draw won’t do.

While it will be a tall order for Kerry to win in Waterford they played a scoreless draw with them in Tralee a number of weeks ago so they will have no fear of their opponents.

Waterford booked their place in the semi-final on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Wexford. They have scored 27 goals and conceded 11 giving them a goal difference of 16 while Kerry have scored 22 and conceded 10 giving them a goal difference of 12.

If anyone said to Kerry boss Billy Dennehy at the start of the competition that Kerry would qualify for the semi-final he would grab it with both hands whether it was a home or away fixture.

In the other group, Finn Harps, Drogheda United and Dundalk are in the mix for the two places in the semi-final and it won’t be decided until the last series of games are played next Sunday.

Finn Harps are set to top the group and that could lead to a 600-mile round trip to Ballybofey for Kerry if they don’t defeat Waterford. Nothing is decided yet, but all will be revealed after next Sunday’s games.

It is a tremendous achievement for Kerry to qualify for the semi-final of a national competition and it clearly shows how the team has blossomed as the season progressed.

They had a good few inconsistent results in their league programme, but they have been magnificent in the Shield Competition getting some great results against tough opponents.

Now they have got the reward they deserve and they can look forward to the semi-final with a fair degree of optimism where ever it is played.

Kerry manager Dennehy and his backroom staff has done a superb job with the squad and has been getting great commitment and dedication from all the players.

Some great young players are coming through and it is great that they are being given the opportunity to play League of Ireland football.

Down the road a few of the players will go on to play the game at a higher level.

KERRY: Gavin O'Brien, Robert Vasiu, Sean O'Connell, Ryan Guerin, Kian Clancy, Junior Ankomah, Nathan Gleeson (Ronan Teahan, 31), James Darmody, Cian Brosnan, Daniel Okwute (Eddie Ward, 72), Ryan Kelliher

TREATY UNITED: Adam Gallagher, Ronan Geary, Rian O'Connell, Liam Buckley, Ben Coleman, Cian Lynch, Adam Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Moran, Josh Quinlivan, Mark Murphy, Finn Clancy