Clifford shines as classy Kerry break brave Galway resistance
Kerry 3-7 Galway 0-9
A hotly-tipped Kerry side completed a three in a row of All-Ireland minor titles for the county when seeing off Galway in Croke Park but only after they survived a gutsy fight back from the Tribesmen in the second half.
There were just two points in the game coming into the home straight when one of the grade’s biggest stars - Kerry’s David Clifford - settled things with a superb solo goal in the 52nd minute.
Having trailed by six at the break, Galway looked to be coming good at the right time but Clifford’s superb finish saw the Kingdom take home the Tom Markham Cup for the third year on the bounce.
Both sides came into the game with much vaunted attacks but defence were on top for much of the afternoon with the first half yielding just six scores as greasy ball made scores difficult to come by.
After 18 minutes play, the sides had managed just a pointed free between them when Kerry’s Sean O’Shea pointed a free.
However, Kerry’s ability to find the net shone through in that period as Diarmuid O’Connor and David Shaw found the net for Peter Keane’s side.
First O’Connor flicked O’Shea’s point attempt to the net. And while Desmond Conneely finally opened Galway’s account with a free on 21 minutes, Kerry soon grabbed another goal when Clifford fetched superbly and fed Shaw who made no mistake from close range. That score helped Kerry into a comfortable 2-2 to 0-2 lead at the break.
However the game opened up in the second half and that seemed to suit the Tribesmen as they scored the first three points of the half to get to within a single score. The teams traded points but Galway had pulled themselves to within two and looked to have the momentum until Clifford’s strike.
The Fossa club man, who is underage again in 2017, soloed on his left foot and found the top corner with his right to settle the tie.
Galway kept plugging away until the end but finished the game with 14 men with John Maher seeing red in injury time as Kerry completed the minor three in a row for the first time since 1933.
SCORERS - Kerry: D Shaw 1-1, D Clifford, D O’Connor 1-0 each, S O’Shea (2f), D Moynihan 0-2 each, N Collins, C Linnane 0-1 each.
Galway: R Finnerty 0-3 (2f), D Conneely 0-2 (2f), C D’Arcy. R Forde, R Cunningham 0-1, A Quirke each.
Kerry: B Courtney; D Naughten, 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, D Shaw, B Friel SUBS: C Linnane for Friel (48), B Sweeney for Shaw (59), C Teehan for Collins (54), S Okunbar for O’Connor (60).
Galway: C Haslam; L Boyle, S Mulkerrin, E McFadden; A Quirke, E McDonagh, F Garvey; C D’arcy, J Maher; F O Laoi, E Murphy, R Forde; R Finnerty, S Raftery, D Conneely SUBS: B Goldrick for Murphy (38), R Murphy for Raftery (50), R Cunningham for Finnerty (56), E Deeley for Garvey (57).
Referee: C Branagan (Down)