Kerry 2-9 Donegal 0-12
This was definitely not a classic All-Ireland final as it lacked the usual intensity, but Kerry came out on top in this dour battle with two key goals from Paul Geaney and Kieran Donaghy giving them victory.
The Kingdom started at a blistering pace with Geaney catching a high ball close to goal and finishing his beautiful low shot to the far corner of the Donegal net to give them a crucial early lead. Geaney was the key figure in the first half with two further points which kept them in front. Michael Murphy added some points to help Donegal back into the game and later levelled matters with a point from Karl Lacey. Donegal recovered from that early goal in the first half with some good points.
Kerry’s defence was benefitted by bringing back a sweeper to help protect the area in front of goal near the 21 metre line. This helped prevent any Donegal players tearing down the middle of their defence which had been a weak point for Kerry all year. The down side to this was that Kerry were conceding possession as the Donegal kick-out’s were going short. The second half seemed to be turning in Donegal’s favour with Michael Murphy putting the Ulster Champions ahead with his first point of the second half. Kerry responded with a point from Paul Murphy to level matters.
The game went into a bit of a lull after this as neither side scored for a long period of time and things got very quiet. Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durkin tried to pick out a fellow defender but he realised he had gifted Kieran Donaghy possession right in front of goal enabling Donaghy to bag a crucial goal. Durkin will certainly have nightmares about that for a long time. Donegal tried to recover with points from Paddy McBrearty and Neil McGee, but Kerry seemed to answer everything they had towards the end of the game. Donegal tried frantically towards the end to get an equaliser but their best efforts only managed to come off the outside of the near post as Kerry held out winners by 2-9 to 0-12.
All-Ireland Minor Football Final
Kerry 0-17 Donegal 1-10
Kerry started the better of the two sides in this minor game in Croke Park with Killian Spillane being the prominent forward for the Kerry youngster’s. The first half started brighter for the Kingdom with points from Spillane and Michael Burns giving them a comfortable lead. Stephen McBrearty was doing well as he kept his side in touch with two good first half points to keep Donegal within touching distance of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom stepped up a gear in the start of the second half with a flurry of points, which included a superb score from Liam Carey, giving them real breathing space as they opened a significant lead. Donegal seemed to be dead and buried at this point in the game, but a superb goal from Jamie Brennan from Bundoran brought renewed hope that Donegal might fight back. Donegal did get some points after this goal, but Kerry ensured victory with some late points to run out comfortable winners by 0-17 to 1-10.