All-Ireland SFC semi-final
Kerry 1-17 Derry 1-15
By Michael McMullan
DERRY’S hopes of a second All-Ireland title ewere dashed at the semi-final stage for the second year in a row after Sunday’s defeat to reigning champions Kerry at Croke Park.
The Oakleafers led 1-14 to 1-12 as the game headed for the final turn in the road, but didn’t make enough hay and Kerry pressed aggressively to get a hold in midfield.
Kerry hit five points on the bounce with David Clifford’s accuracy and the impact of Stephen O’Brien pulling the champions over the line and into a final meeting with Dublin.
Derry can feel aggreived when Stephen O’Brien were awarded a questionable free when play was called balled back after Ciaran McFaul had made a block in the 66th minute.
Three free cut Derry’s lead to a point before Kerry’s final spell of control.
Speaking after the game, Derry manager Ciarán Meenagh felt it was a tough call when dissecting a game to the finer detail but was quick to caveat it with praise towards Joe McQuillan’s general performance as referee.
In a dramatic opening, Ciaran McFaul’s cross was boxed goalwards by Conor Glass with Gavin White pulling a save out of Odhrán Lynch at the other end.
Derry eventually hit the net first when Rogers saw a shot blocked by Tadhg Morley before McKinless finished to the net. The buzz continued with a White goal at the other end, made by Sean O’Shea.
Derry had McKaigue booked, McGrogan replaced injured and Diarmuid O’Connor was black-carded for the Kingdom.
McGuigan and Paul Cassidy kicked Derry 1-3 to 1-1 ahead but it was the champions who replied in an end to game with points from the Clifford brothers to go 1-6 to 1-5.
There were points from both ‘keepers with McGuigan and Rogers on target as Derry went in leading 1-11 to 1-8 at the break.
From the moment Diarmuid O’Connor won the throw-in after half-time, Kerry took control with David Clifford and Sean O’Shea on target.
Conor Doherty’s left footed effort broke the Kerry momentum with Ciaran McFaul adding a fine point to help the Oakleafers towards a 1-14 to 1-12 lead.
The Ulster champions gave Kerry the fright of their lives but didn’t put enough on the scoreboard. McKinless was denied a goal by a Ryan save and they were off target with a few other chances.
The bravery of going for the game allowed Kerry enough room to express themselves and their late rally made all the difference.
Derry: Odhrán Lynch (0-1), Chrissy McKaigue, Eoin McEvoy, Conor McCluskey, Conor Doherty (0-1), Gareth McKinless (1-0), Paudi McGrogan (0-1), Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers (0-2), Niall Toner, Paul Cassidy (0-2), Ethan Doherty, Ciaran McFaul (0-2), Shane McGuigan (0-6, 3f), Niall Loughlin
Subs: Padraig Cassidy for P McGrogan (INJ 9), Benny Heron for Padraig Cassidy (51), Lachlan Murray for N Toner (60), Shea Downey for E McEvoy (71), Ben McCarron for G McKinless (INJ 77)
Yellow cards: C McKaigue (27)
Kerry: Shane Ryan (0-1), Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan, Paul Murphy, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White (1-0), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1), Jack Barry, Dara Moynihan, Sean O’Shea (0-4, 1f), Adrian Spillane, Paudie Clifford (0-1), David Clifford (0-9, 4f, 1m), Paul Geaney
Subs: Stephen O’Brien (0-1) for A Spillane (HT), Tony Brosnan for P Geaney (55), Brian Ó Beagláioch for P Murphy (55), Micheal Burns for D Moynihan (59), Ruairi Murphy for P Cliffford (73)
Yellow cards: D Clifford (35+2), J Barry (51)
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)