Three reasons for Kerry not to be cheerful

James Costello: Kerry minor manager

IT hasn’t been a good week for the GAA in Kerry with the minor and under 20 footballers and the senior hurlers all losing out in heartbreaking circumstances as they went in search of the holy grail.

The minor footballers suffered a heartbreaking one-point defeat, 1-14 to 2-12, at the hands of Derry at O’Connor Park in Offaly.

There was a dramatic conclusion to the 2020 All-Ireland final which was an epic encounter in every sense with the hugely impressive Paudie O’Leary, Darragh Lyne, Oisín Maunsell and Cillian Burke excelling for Kerry.

A well-timed goal in the second half, with Lachlan Murray supplying the finish, set the scene for Derry to flex their muscle and they looked the better side but two Cian McMahon points and an opportunist goal from substitute Maurice O’Connell moved Kerry ahead going into injury time.

Derry mounted one last attack and when Niall O’Donnell’s shot was parried by Kerry ‘keeper Sean Broderick, it was deemed a foot block and Matthew Downey executed the perfect spot-kick to edge Derry in front.

Kerry had late chances to at least draw level but it wasn’t to be and Derry held on.

Kerry: Seán Broderick (0-1, 45), Dara O’Callaghan, Joey Nagle, Cian O’Donoghue, Paudie O’Leary, Armin Heinrich, Killian O’Sullivan, Oisín Maunsell (0-2), Cillian Burke (0-2), Thomas O’Donnell, William Shine (0-2), Keith Evans (0-2), Darragh O’Sullivan, Aaron O’Shea (0-1), Cian McMahon (0-0, 0-0 frees).

Subs: Jordan Kissane for Darragh O’Sullivan; Maurice O’Connell (1-0) for William Shine; Darragh Fleming for Killian O’Sullivan.

At Under 20 level, Cork defeated Kerry on a 3-12 to 3-11 scoreline in the semi-final in at Páirc Uí Chaoimh courtesy of a Ciaran O’Sullivan point in the fourth minute of second-half injury time.

Kerry looked the better side with a goal from Legion’s Darragh Lyne giving them the edge and although Cork didn’t score between the 46th and 63rd minute, they found their form in the third quarter when they outscored Kerry by 1-4 to 0-2.

Although Paul O’Shea converted a penalty to keep Kerry in contention, James Costello’s charges couldn’t convert late chances and Cork emerged triumphant.

Kerry: M Kelliher, D Murphy, J McCarthy, O Fitzgerald, C Moriarty, E O’Sullivan, E Clifford, D Lyne (1-0), S O’Brien, T Doyle, P O’Shea !-2, 1-0 pen), K Falvey (0-1), C Hayes (0-1), D Geaney (1-4, 0-4 frees), R Ó Beaglaoich (0-1).
Subs: J Kennelly for Doyle; S Quilter (0-2, frees) for Hayes; A Dineen for Moriarty; P D’Arcy for Falvey; P Walsh for Ó Beaglaoich.

In the Joe McDonagh Cup final, Kerry were well beaten by a superior Westmeath side which means they will remain in hurling’s second tier next season.

Saturday’s final against Westmeath in Croke Park was their second successive appearance in the Joe decider but Fintan O’Connor’s side came up short and thy were seven points adrift at the close, 1-24 to 2-28.

Kerry: John B O’Halloran, Eric Leen, Evan Murphy, Conor O’Keeffe (0-1), Jason Diggins (0-1), Fionnan MacKessy, Tomas O’Connor, Paudie O’Connor, Shane Nolan (0-2), Mikey Boyle (1-3), Daniel Collins (0-1), Padraig Boyle (0-7, 0-3 frees), Barry O’Mahony (0-2), Shane Conway (0-4, 0-3 frees), Cian Hussey (0-3).

Subs: Micheál Leane for Paudie O’Connor; Bryan Murphy for Tomas O’Connor; Maurice O’Connor for O’Mahony.