Thursday 22 August 2019

Kerry's run to continue

Tom Markham Cup

The Kerry minor team celebrate winning their fifth All-Ireland title in a row with the Tom Markham Cup. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
The Kerry minor team celebrate winning their fifth All-Ireland title in a row with the Tom Markham Cup. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

It is a measure of Kerry's dominance of the All-Ireland minor football championship that the last time they lost a match in the competition, the team featured Shane Ryan and Killian Spillane, who will be in action for the senior side this afternoon.

Since that defeat to Tyrone - after extra-time in the 2013 All-Ireland quarter-final - Kerry are unbeaten and remain on course for an unprecedented sixth All-Ireland title in a row.

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Even though the age limit in the series dropped from 18 to 17 in 2018, Kerry remain as powerful as ever and are favourites to advance to another final at the expense of Galway this afternoon.

However, there are signs that the other teams are catching up. Though they won by six points, Kerry struggled for long spells of their quarter-final against beaten Ulster finalists Tyrone. The Kingdom didn't score from play until injury-time in the first-half and it wasn't until Emmet O'Shea hit a goal in the final quarter that the Ulster side's challenge faded.

Dylan Geaney, who played on last year's All-Ireland winning side, and Jack O'Connor, who scored five points against Tyrone including two converted 45s, are key figures.

After enduring a heart-breaking one-point loss after extra-time to Mayo in the Connacht final, Galway bounced back in impressive style in the quarter-final with a comfortable eight-point win over Leinster champions Kildare.

Tomo Culhane hit six points five from frees while Nathan Grainger scored 1-2 for the Tribesmen who are managed by Dónal Ó Fatharta .

Today's clash is a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final, which Kerry won 0-21 to 1-14, but because of the huge turnover in players it has little relevance.

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Kerry's incredible run of wins cannot continue forever but they are still expected to stay on course for a record sixth Tom Markham Cup.

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