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Kingdom prove too strong for Oak Leafs to retain crown

Derry 0-11 Kerry 2-20

By Steven Doherty

Derry came up short in Nowlan Park yesterday where they lost to Kerry in the All-Ireland Under-21B final.

The winners led 1-9 to 0-6 at the break, but found another gear in the second half to run out 15 point victors and retain their title at the expense of a battling Derry team.

In the first half Derry's attack was mainly living off scraps, but the free-taking prowess of Richie Mullan was keeping the underdogs very much in touch.

Kerry were reduced to 14 men with the dismissal of Fionan Mackessy for an off the ball incident. There was little to separate the sides with Mullan replying to any Kerry points to see the score 0-3 after seven minutes.

Kingdom sped away to lead 0-9 to 0-4 by the 25th minute.

Points from Corey O'Reilly and another from Mullan left Derry three behind and with the opening half in injury time, Kerry's Jordan Conway finally broke the shackles and slipped home the only goal of the half to hand the Kingdom a six point advantage..

John Mullan opened the scoring for Derry after the break but after that points were few and far between for the Ulster men. Kerry, by contrast, began to purr and stretched their lead continually throughout the half. Shane Conway was eagle-eyed in his free-taking, with Eoin Ross scoring their second goal in the 53rd minute.

Corey O'Reilly, Odhran McKeever, Sean Cassidy and Declan Quinn all raised white flags for the Oak Leaf County but it was never going to be enough.

"We've made progress this year," said Derry manager Collie McGurk. "We need to be getting these fellas to senior grade as quickly as possible. Kerry were a huge side physically and maybe that something that our fellas need to have a look at."

Derry: S Kelly, R McCartney, C Kelly, E Gilmore, C Steele, S McGuigan, J Mullan (0-1), C McAllister, S Cassidy (0-1), D Cartin, E O'Kane, N Smith, R Mullan (0-5, 0-4frees), L Smith, C O'Reilly (0-2). Subs: T Magee for D Cartin (24), O McKeever (0-1) for L Cassidy (28), P Burke for N Smith (42), C Hunter for E O'Kane (48), D Quinn (0-1) for J Mullan (53)

Kerry: D Silles, E Leen, E Murphy, N O'Mahoney, E Ross (1-1), J Diggins (0-1), B O'Mahoney (0-1), T O'Connor, F Mackessy (0-1), J O'Sullivan, M Leane (0-3), J Conway (1-3), M O'Connor (0-1), B Barrett (0-1), S Conway (0-7, 0-5 frees). Subs: G Fennessy (0-1) for J O'Sullivan (33), G O'Mahoney for B Barrett (42), B Lyons for E Leen (50), K O'Regan for M Leane (55), R Donovan for T O'Connor (57)

Referee: T Walsh (Waterford).

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