Wednesday 21 February 2018

Clifford inspires Kerry to fourth straight title

Kerry 3-14 Cork 3-8

Kerry's Diarmuid O'Connor in action against Cork's Cathal Foley. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry's Diarmuid O'Connor in action against Cork's Cathal Foley. Photo: Sportsfile

Orla Bannon

Kerry completed a four-in-a-row of Munster Minor Football titles with a deserved six-point win over a vibrant Cork side in the curtain raiser at the Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.

Kerry finished strongly thanks to the brilliance of 16-year-old David Clifford, who enthralled the crowd with a magical performance - scoring 1-5 and also setting up the Kingdom's other two goals.

Kerry made a whirlwind start with Mike Breen and Mark Ryan on top at midfield, and Cork were lucky to trail only 2-3 to 0-2 after 11 minutes, as the Kerry attack were shredding the Rebels' defence at will.

Brian Friel almost got in for a goal from a throw-in but, when he hit the post a minute later, Sean O'Shea fired Kerry in front. O'Shea then converted a 45 before striking for their opening goal.

Mike Breen appeared to misdirect a high delivery but the precocious Clifford collected before selling a couple of dummies and putting the ball on a plate for Bryan Sweeney to finish to the net. Dara Moynihan rapidly added another point before Clifford provided the final ball for Sean O'Shea to slot home.

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Cork then settled and, with the Kerry defence showing traits of indiscipline, Damien Gore kept Cork in touch with four frees - and then Mark Buckley scored a super goal.

Brian Friel, Clifford and Moynihan ensured that Kerry led 2-7 to 1-6 at the interval but Colm O'Callaghan, with a goal and a point, levelled the contest by the 33rd minute - only for Clifford to push Kerry two clear again with a brace of points.

Buckley then fired home Cork's third goal in the 47th minute but, from the kick out, Clifford rounded his marker to score a spectacular goal.

Kerry were two in front and finished the stronger, extending their lead to six - with Clifford's injury time long-range point drawing gasps from the crowd.


Scorers - Kerry: D Clifford (1-5, 0-2 frees), S O Shea (1-4, '45, 0-2 frees), B Sweeney (1-0), M Foley and D Moynihan 0-2 each, B Friel 0-1. Cork: M Buckley (2-2), D Gore (0-4 frees), C O Callaghan (1-0), C Maguire (0-2)

Kerry: B Courtney; M Reidy, N Collins, G O'Sullivan; M Potts, D O'Brien, M Foley; M Breen, M Ryan; D Moynihan, S O'Shea, D O'Connor; D Clifford, B Sweeney, B Friel. Subs: D Naughton for M Reidy (h/t), C Linnane for B Sweeney (41), D Shaw for B Friel (44), C Teahan for M Ryan (56), S Okunbar for M Foley (60), F O'Brien for D O'Connor (60)

Cork: M White; A McCarthy, A Browne, L O'Donovan; T Corkery, N Walsh, R O'Driscoll; J Ryan, S Ryan; S O'Sullivan, C O'Callaghan, C Maguire; D Gore, M Buckley, K O'Donovan.

Subs: C Foley for J Ryan (h/t), S O'Driscoll for S O'Sullivan (48), G O'Donoghue for S Ryan (52), S Minihane for L O'Donovan (56), C O'Mahony for T Corkery (58)

Ref: A Kissane (Waterford)

Irish Independent

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