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David Clifford and Chrissy McKaigue. James Crombie/INPHO
Final bound

Kerry's strong finish gets them past Derry in pulsating All-Ireland semi-final

Dublin await in the final on 30 July.

Kerry 1-17

Derry 1-15

KERRY WOBBLED AND wavered in a Croke Park semi-final that crackled with intensity and energy, but when the demands were greatest their nerve and accuracy shone through to propel them to victory.

They remain course for a successful defence of their All-Ireland title, but only after a fierce examination by Derry this afternoon. If the last day out against Tyrone transpired to be a second-half stroll for Jack O’Connor’s charges, this was a heart-stopping finale as they pegged back the Ulster champions with a telling scoring burst of late points.

The champions trailed by three, 1-11 to 1-8, at the interval and by two, 1-14 to 1-12, with five minutes of normal time left on the clock. But Derry’s challenge ran out of gas as Kerry hit five points in a row to ensure they would set up a final date with Dublin.

The sources of the scores were predictable and telling in that spell between the 66th and 71st minutes. David Clifford notched two to bump his tally up to nine after another stunning display that garnered him the man-of-the-match award. Seán O’Shea bagged a brace, indicative of his growing influence in the second half. While it was Stephen O’Brien’s shot in the middle of that spell in the 69th minute that ensured Kerry crept into the lead for the first time in the game.

Derry tried in vain to salvage something. Ethan Doherty punted in one ball that the Kerry defence scrambled clear. The game wore on with Derry winning a free that the taking of was delayed due to an injury sustained by Gareth McKinless. When Shane McGuigan eventually sized up the kick in the 80th minute with his team three points down, his attempted lob into a packed goalmouth was overcooked and the ball dropped over the bar. It cut the margin to two but was immaterial in affecting the end result. Kerry were safe.

They were a relieved bunch at emerging from a brilliant contest.

sean-oshea-celebrates-after-scoring-a-point-late-in-the-game Seán O'Shea celebrates after scoring a point late in the game. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 0-9 (0-4f, 0-1 mark), Seán O’Shea 0-4 (0-1f), Gavin White 1-0, Shane Ryan 0-1, Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Paudie Clifford 0-1, Stephen O’Brien 0-1.

Scorers for Derry: Shane McGuigan 0-6 (0-3f), Gareth McKinless 1-0, Ciarán McFaul 0-2, Paul Cassidy 0-2, Odhran Lynch 0-1, Conor Doherty 0-1, Pádraig McGrogan 0-1, Brendan Rogers 0-1.


1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

2. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil), 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa), 13. Paudie Clifford (Fossa), 12. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)

 11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), 14. David Clifford (Fossa), 15. Paul Geaney (Dingle)


  • 23. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare) for Spillane (half-time)
  • 19. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht) for Murphy (55)
  • 17. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes) for Geaney (55)
  • 22. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for Moynihan (59)
  • 21. Ruairí Murphy (Listry) for Paudie Clifford (73)


1. Odhran Lynch (Magharefelt)

3. Eoin McEvoy (Magherafelt), 2. Christopher McKaigue (Slaughtneil), 7. Padraig McGrogan (Newbridge)

5. Conor Doherty (Newbridge), 4. Conor McCluskey (Magherafelt), 6. Gareth McKinless (Ballinderry), 

8. Conor Glass (Glen), 9. Brendan Rogers (Slaughtneil)

18. Niall Toner (Lavey), 11. Paul Cassidy (Bellaghy), 12. Ethan Doherty (Glen)

13. Ciarán McFaul (Glen), 14. Shane McGuigan (Slaughtneil), 15. Niall Loughlin (Greenlough)


  • 23. Pádraig Cassidy (Slaughtneil) for McGrogan (inj) (9)
  • 18. Benny Heron (Ballinascreen) for Pádraig Cassidy (51)
  • 20. Lachlan Murray (Desertmartin) for Toner (60)
  • 19. Shea Downey (St Brigid’s) for McEvoy (72)
  • 21. Ben McCarron (Steelstown) for McKinless (inj) (78)

Referee:  Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

Written by Fintan O’Toole and posted on

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