All-Ireland JFC Final: Cox shows class as Kingdom make it three-in-a-row
Kerry 2-19 Meath 1-14
Kerry completed a double in Portlaoise as their Juniors followed on from the minor team's win over Louth with a third consecutive All-Ireland title at this level.
Meath put it up to Kerry physically, but the Kingdom were able to match anything thrown at them by the Leinster champions throughout a contest in which they never trailed.
The fusion of players from the 2015 All-Ireland junior success and some of their recent All-Ireland minor winners worked a treat in another successful campaign as Conor Cox led the scoring with 1-8.
His goal came in the 14th minute after an error from Meath goalkeeper Johnny Lynch, and it put Kerry 1-5 to 0-3 in front after they had bagged the first three points of the game.
The Royals did not wilt, however, Ben Brennan inspiring them with some fine scores.
Pa Kilkenny blocked an Adam Flanagan effort at goal from close range before Tomas Mac an tSaoir saved at point-blank range from Neil Shortall with six minutes of the first half left.
Kerry's lead at the break was 1-8 to 0-7 and while both sides matched each other score for score after the restart, it appeared Kerry were pulling away.
The Kingdom took a decisive grip on the game in the 43rd minute, Phillip O'Connor sending a promising high ball into Tomas Ó Sé, with the Kerry forward managing to guide the ball home for a lead of 2-12 to 0-9.
James Conlon managed to score four points off the bench for the Royals, but Kerry continued towards victory, as Brendan O'Sullivan and Roibeárd Ó Sé looked rock-solid at midfield.
Meath substitute Seán Reilly did manage to find the Kerry net late on, but Kerry were in no danger of imploding.
Éanna Ó Conchúir's late dismissal mattered little, as Kerry could savour going ahead of Cork in the overall roll of honour, with an 18th title at Junior level.
Scorers - Kerry: C Cox 1-8 (0-3fs), T Ó Sé 1-2, K Spillane, P O'Connor 0-3 each, P Kilkenny, E Ó Conchúir, I Parker 0-1 each. Meath: B Brennan 0-6 (2 '45s', 1f), J Conlon 0-4, S Reilly 1-0, D Rowe, W Carry, K Ross, D Healy 0-1 each.
Kerry - T Mac an tSaoir; E Kiely, J McGuire, B Sugrue; J Walsh, P Kilkenny, D O'Brien; R Ó Sé, B O'Sullivan; P O'Connor, J O'Donoghue, E Ó Conchúir; K Spillane, C Cox, T Ó Sé. Subs: L Carey for O'Donoghue (38), M Foley for Kilkenny (51), S O'Sullivan for Cox (57), I Parker for O'Sullivan (59), PJ Mac Laimh for Walsh (60) and DJ Murphy (Gneeveguilla) for Kiely (60 +2).
Meath - J Lynch; A Lynch, L Moran, M Flood; D Toner, D Healy, W Carry; A Flanagan, C Farrell; N Shortall, K Ross, C McConnell; J Scully, D Rowe, B Brennan. Subs: J Conlon for Scully (19), S Coogan for Ross (41), S Reilly for Farrell (46), C O'Rourke for Carry (49), C Moriarty for Shortall (52) and J Scully for Rowe (57).
Ref - J Hickey (Carlow).