Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Armagh 2-10 Kerry 0-10

Armagh are through to the All Ireland minor football final after a power packed second-half display saw them come from behind at Croke Park to emerge six point winners over Kerry.

Kerry made the better start with full forward Kieran Hurley opening the scoring with only twenty seconds on the clock. Half back Greg Gibson also joined the attack to fire over early on, but by the end of the opening quarter it was level at 0-3 apiece thanks to quality efforts from the Ulster champions from Robbie Tasker and Eugene McVerry.

During those opening moments Armagh had a great chance for a goal, but McVerry’s shot was saved by the feet of goalkeeper O’Sullivan.

Eanna O’Connor was proving to be a very reliable place kicker for Kerry and he landed four first half frees, a couple of which were beyond the 45m line.

Kerry had led 0-7 to 0-4 at the break, at the end of a half were both sides were guilty of giving away possession cheaply on a number of occasions.

Armagh kicked three efforts short into the arms of Kerry keeper Paul O’Sullivan while they were also very unlucky not to get a goal in the final minute of the half when Conor King’s shot hit the post before being cleared off the line by O’Sullivan.

The second-half was an altogether different story as the Ulster champions took complete control.

It took them only thirteen seconds to level matters as Peter Carragher burst through from midfield before offloading for Gavin McParland to bury his shot in the net.

A couple of minutes later they almost got in for another goal, but for a brilliant double save from O’Sullivan to deny both Robbie Tasker and Rory Grugan.

Carragher and partner James Donnelly were totally on top in midfield to such an extent that the Kerry pairing were both substituted, the Kerry management using all five of their replacements in the second period.

A Grugan free then gave Armagh a lead that they were never to lose and in the 13th minute Tasker, McVerry and McParland combined for the latter to fire in another well worked goal.

Kerry were now fighting a losing battle and it took them a quarter of an hour to open their second half account via another O’Connor free.

Armagh though were totally on top with Grugan and McVerry both adding to their haul before their keeper Stephen O’Reilly earned his corn right at the end when brilliantly tipping a Niall O’Shea pile driver over the bar.

Armagh: S O’Reilly, K Downey, R Finnegan, K Nugent, D McKenna, N Rowland, J Morgan, P Carragher, J Donnelly, R Grugan [0-6], A Murnin, C King, R Tasker [0-1], E McVerry [0-3], G McParland [2-0]. Subs: R Rafferty for McVerry

Kerry: P O’Sullivan, M Galvin, P Galvin, P O’Connor, G Gibson [0-1], J Coffey, M Brennan, S Carroll, D O’Sullivan, J Sherwood [0-1], D Kelly, I Galvin, N O’Shea [0-1], K Hurley [0-1], E O’Connor [0-6]. Subs: J O’Sullivan for D O’Sullivan, N Fitzgerald for P O’Connor, P Joy for I Galvin, M Thiemann for Carroll, M Reen for Hurley.

Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).