Ross seals title as 14-man Kerry overpower Derry
Kerry 2-20 Derry 0-11
Kerry turned apparent adversity into an advantage when they roared to an impressive victory over Derry in what proved a one-sided All-Ireland U-21 HC 'B' final in Nowlan Park on Saturday.
On the stroke of half-time - at which point the Kingdom led by six points - the eventual winners lost their talented midfielder Fionán Mackessy, who was shown a straight red card by the referee.
Even when down a man, a slick Kerry outfit continued to drive forward and out-score the opposition by 1-11 to 0-5.
"We thought it was harsh on Fionán, and the players insisted during the break they would all lift their game for him. They did," insisted manager Ian Brick.
Kerry have made this their personal championship.
Saturday's was their ninth success, which leaves them clear leaders in the roll of honour over Westmeath with three wins.
Three times the scores were level early on. After Mackessy pointed the Kingdom 0-4 to 0-3 in front in the eight minute they led all the way home.
They were 1-9 to 0-6 ahead at the break, the goal coming almost on the whistle from Jordan Conway. The second goal from Eoin Ross in the 52nd minute (2-16 to 0-10) was wonderfully created by a delicate touch of the camán by Conway, which underlined the rich talent of Brick's troops.
SCORERS - Kerry: S Conway 0-7 (4f, 1 65); J Conway 1-3; E Ross 1-1; M Leane 0-3; J Diggins, B O'Mahony, F Mackessy, M O'Connor, B Barrett, G Fennessy 0-1 each. Derry: R Mullan 0-5 (4f); C O'Reilly 0-2; J Mullan, S Cassidy, D Quinn, O McKeever 0-1 each.
KERRY - D Silles; E Leen, E Murphy, N O'Mahony; E Ross, J Diggins, B O'Mahony; T O'Connor, F Mackessy; J O'Sullivan, M Leane, J Conway; M O'Connor, B Barrett, S Conway. Subs: G Fennessy for J O'Sullivan, G O'Mahony for M O'Connor (42), D Quinn for J Mullan (52), K O'Regan for M Leane (56), R Donovan for T O'Connor (56).
DERRY - S Kelly; R McCartney, C Kelly, E Gilmore; C Steele, S McGuigan, J Mullan; C McAllister, S Cassidy; D Cartin, E O'Kane, N Smith; R Mullan, L Cassidy, C O'Reilly. Subs: T Magee for D Cartin, O McKeever for L Cassidy, P Burke for N Smith (41), C Hunter for E O'Kane (48), B Lyons for E Leen (50).
REF - T Walsh (Waterford).