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2024 Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Semi-Final – Derry 1-13 Kerry 1-12

June 22 @ 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Derry defeated Kerry by 1-13 to 1-12 in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Semi-Final on Saturday June 22nd at TEG Cusack Park Mullingar.

Derry advance to All-Ireland minor final with victory over Kerry

All-Ireland MFC semi-final: Derry 1-13 Kerry 1-12

Report by John O’Dowd for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Midfielder James Sargent’s stunning long-range 50 metre free in the 58th minute turned out to be the winner for Derry as the defending champions broke brave Kerry hearts in this All-Ireland minor football semi-final thriller at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar.

Having enjoyed a three-point lead at the interval (1-7 to 1-4), after playing with the breeze to their backs in the opening 30 minutes, Wayne Quillinan’s Munster kingpins were eventually pegged back and overtaken, but battled gamely to resurrect their cause all the way to the finish.

In the end, the individual excellence of Sargent and wing-back Luke Grant (both members of the 2023 All-Ireland-winning team), and their ability to win more primary possession around the middle, were crucial factors in Derry edging home by the minimum of margins.

There was a blistering start to the game, with Dylan Rocks firing to the net for the Oak Leaf county in the sixth minute, before Kerry replied almost immediately with a goal of their own – Eoin O’Flaherty (a late replacement for the injured Killian Dennehy) fisting to the Derry net.

That set the tone for what was to follow, with these two evenly-matched outfits going toe-to-toe. The sides were at parity (1-3 each) after the first quarter, but with Ben Murphy’s surging runs from deep causing some havoc, the Kingdom built a three-point advantage by the half-time whistle.

Damian McErlain’s side flew out of the traps on the resumption with three points on the trot, Eamon Young with a brace, but with Jack Joy and Gearoid White responding for Kerry, the protagonists were still deadlocked (1-10 apiece) by the 50th minute.

Kingdom netminder Robak made three fine saves over the course of the contest, but the longer the game went on, the more that Sargent, Turlough McHugh and others, took control of the kick-out battle for Derry. That was crucial with the contest in the melting pot in the final ten minutes.

The Ulster side moved two points clear, Ger Dillon and Young from play, but Joey McCarthy tapped over a free for Kerry. Then came Sargent’s monster free (he was immense), and though Aodhna Ó Beaglaoich pulled the deficit back to a single point, time just ran out on Kerry.

Fittingly, the last act saw Sargent claim another kick-out, Kingdom corner-back Ruadhan Donovan pulling him to the ground to pick up a black card. That was symbolic of the number eight’s overall influence. Derry march on to back-to-back finals, Kerry are left to lick their wounds, having come so close.

Scorers for Derry: J Sargent 0-4 (0-1 ’45, 0-2fs), E Young 0-4 (0-2fs), D Rocks 1-0, G Dillon 0-2 (0-1f), D McGuckin, L Grant, C Rocks 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: G White 0-5 (0-4fs), E O’Flaherty 1-1, M Horan, E Murphy, B Murphy, J Joy, J McCarthy(f), A Ó Beaglaoich 0-1 each.

DERRY: J McCloy; P O’Kane, R Canavan, P Haran; L Grant, C Ó Mianáin, D McGuckin; J Sargent, C McBride; E Young, T McHugh, C Hargan; G Dillon, R Biggs, D Rocks.
Subs: C Rocks for Biggs (36), C McNally for Haran (38).

KERRY: K Robak; F Ryan, M Lynch, R Donovan; S Ó Cuinn, A Ó Beaglaoich, G O’Keeffe; B Murphy, E O’Flaherty; G White, J McCarthy, E Murphy; J Joy, R Carroll, M Horan.
Subs: R O’Driscoll for Carroll (44), C MacGearailt for E Murphy (52), D Sargent for Ryan (53), D O’Sullivan for Ó Cuinn (59).

REFEREE: A Coyne (Westmeath).

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June 22
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm


TEG Cusack Park Mullingar

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