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Clifford leads by example as Kerry ease into the final

Cavan 2-10 Kerry2-20

By Paul Fitzpatrick

A mesmerising performance from Kerry captain David Clifford helped the Kingdom stroll into a fourth successive All-Ireland Minor final with a comfortable win over Cavan.

The Fossa man, who has bagged 4-30 in five matches this campaign, was magnificent.

There was little between the sides early on with Clifford bagging Kerry's first three points - all from play - and Oisin Pierson and Cian Madden replying.

In the second quarter, however, Peter Keane's side took charge.

They dominated on kick-outs and with Clifford in such deadly form, they always looked comfortable.

Cavan midfielder James Smith made it 0-4 to 0-3 on 15 minutes but Kerry reeled off eight points in succession with Clifford, Donnchadh O'Sullivan and Brian Friel doing much of the damage.

Cavan were thrown a lifeline when Pierson bundled home a goal just before half-time to reduce Kerry's advantage to 0-11 to 1-4, but the third quarter was all about the All-Ireland champions.

After Cavan goalkeeper Gary O'Rourke saved, Kerry recycled possession and it landed in the hands of Clifford, who calmly side-footed to the net.

Two Friel points and a Clifford free helped them extend their lead to 11 by the end of the third quarter and although Cavan briefly rallied, Smith hitting the net and Pierson adding two points (one free), the Breffni lads were never close enough.

Kerry dominated the closing stages, with sub Jack Griffin slotting home their second goal in injury time and another sub, Eddie Horan, landing a point.

While Cavan posted a respectable 2-10, they were out-gunned and outclassed at the back as Kerry sauntered through to their fourth All-Ireland final in a row - and with Clifford in red-hot form, they will be the warmest of favourites.

Kerry: D Uosis, S O'Leary, C O'Donoghue, C Gammell, P Warren, M Potts, N Donohue, B Mahony (0-1), D O'Connor (0-1), A Donoghue, D Clifford (1-10, 2f, 45), Donal O'Sullivan (0-1), F Clifford (0-2), Donnchadh O'Sullivan (0-1), B Friel (0-4). Subs: E Horan (0-1) for Warren (47 mins), J Griffin (1-1) for O'Sullivan (50), C O'Reilly for F Clifford (58), R O'Neill for Gammell (60)

Cavan: G O'Rourke, J Cooke, E Fortune, R Coyle, P Nulty, C Timoney, D Cusack, R Patterson (0-1), J Smith (1-2), R Curran, C Madden (0-1), P Rogers (0-1), O Pierson (1-5, 2f), P Lynch, O Kiernan. Subs: S Keogan for Kiernan (h-t), K Brady for Coyle (38), N McCabe for Lynch (50), P Meade for Patterson (60), R Madden for Timoney (60).

Belfast Telegraph

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