Kerry crowned Munster Minor A Champions

Munster Minor A Championship

Cork 0-13 -v- Kerry 3-10

Referee: Patrick Smith (Waterford)

Kerry are Munster Minor A Champions following a deserving and thrilling win in Mallow on Sunday. While the pitch was in excellent condition heavy rain prior to throw in made handling conditions difficult for both sides. Kerry went into the game minus a couple of key players and possible went in as underdogs. Cork had a large contingent of last years minor panel available to them and they started the brightest with a point in the third minute. Mary Kate Smith responded for the Kingdom as both sides played positive football despite the conditions. As the sides kept exchanging scorers Kerry were possibly guilty early on of going for goal when a point was possibly the better option. But this didn’t knock their confidence. In fact they grew into the game and began to dominate it more as it wore on.

Katie Doe with her first point of the afternoon midway through the first half saw Kerry back in the lead. Two minutes later Kerry had their first goal. Katie Doe from the penalty spot after referee Patrick Smith judged Cork to have committed a foot block. Kerry now had a four-point lead. Cork reduced the deficit with a pointed free from Eabha Donovan but what was to follow was a Kerry goal that surprised everyone. Kelly Enright’s long ball deceiving the Kerry forwards and Cork backs bouncing in front of Cork keeper Andrea Toye who taught it was going over for a point and ended up in the back of the net. It opened up a six-point lead and it was no more than Kerry deserved as they were the more dominant team for large parts of the first half limiting Cork to just three points from play in the first half. Kerry added a further three points to open up an eight-point lead at the break. Cork had the advantage of the wind in the second half and were playing into the scoring end of Mallow. They started the brightest of the two with a Maebh Collins point to reduce the deficit. Kerry was still playing with the same intensity as they had in the first but it was Cork who looked like threating for a goal. Their first opportunity came four minutes in but Béibhinn Nic an tSithigh pulled off a magnificent save to keep them at bay. The sides exchanged points before Cork had shot number two at goal but Béibhinn Nic an tSithigh was at her best once again to keep them at bay. Leah McMahon & Eabha O’Donovan exchanged frees as the gap remained at eight points. Mid way through the second half Kerry got their third goal of the game. Amy Curtin who was back from injury and made a substitute appearance in the win against Clare was making her first start on Sunday rifled home to the top corner of the net to the delight of the Kerry supporters in the stand. Kerry was now firmly in control and a lead they truly deserved. Cork as you would expect kept throwing everything at Kerry and were tapping over the scores. Kerry’s goal was to be their last score of the game but that is not to take away from some of the excellent defending and work rate displayed by everyone of the Kerry players for the remainder of the match and indeed throughout the match. Anna Collins leading by example showing great leadership in the final quarter when Cork kept pressing for that goal in the hope of igniting a late comeback. Cork kept the scoreboard ticking over with points from Eabha O’Donovan and Ava McAuliffe. In the dying moments Cork had one last attack on the Kerry goal but Béibhinn Nic an tSithigh was once again alert to the danger and keep her clean sheet intact. Shortly after referee Patrick Smith blew the fulltime whistle to the delight to the Kerry supporter, players and management. Kerry now go forward to the All Ireland Semi Final on Thursday 11th July. Details TBC

Cork Scorers: E O’Donovan (0-08 6f), A McAuliffe (0-03), A Savage (0-01), M Collins (0-01)

Kerry Scorers: K Doe (1-03 – 1p -1f), L McMahon (0-04f), M K Smith (0-01), L O’Connor (0-02), A Curtin (1-0), K Enright (1-0)

Cork: A Toye, A O’Sullivan, A McKennedy, A Cooper, M McRae, K Goulding, A Savage, K Williamson, A Fitzgerald, B Smith, M Collins, Ó Cremin, É O’Donovan, K Carey, A McAuliffe

Subs: C Murphy for K Carey 41mins , A Sheppard for O Cremin 41mins, H Sheehy for A O’Sullivan 48mins, L Murphy for A Sheppard 58mins

Kerry: B Nic an tSithigh, A O’Donoghue, É Ní Laighinn, G Murphy, C Dwyer, S O’Donovan, L O’Sullivan, K Enright, K Ryan, A Curtin, M K Smith, L O’Connor, K Doe, L McMahon, A Collins

Subs: L Slattery for K Doe 51mins, S Colleran for C Dwyer 58mins

All photographs by Colbert O’Sullivan