The Kingdom will face Galway in this year’s decider.
Paul Brennan reports from Croke Park
FOR THE FIFTH successive September, Kerry will contest the All-Ireland minor football final after the Kingdom just about accounted for Monaghan — bidding to be only the second minor team from the county to reach the All-Ireland final — in a thoroughly entertaining and well-contested match.
The champions got an almighty scare after two second-half Monaghan goals pulled the Ulster county right back into the match, and it took a couple of Paul Walsh frees to rescue Kerry in added-on time.
Kerry largely dominated the first 15 minutes, and with the Munster champions leading 0-4 to 0-1 after nine minutes they upped the ante and began moving into top gear like the defending champions they are.
Two Dylan Geaney points — he scored five in the first half — and one each from midfielders Darragh Rahilly and Darragh Lyne saw Kerry ease out to 0-8 to 0-2 lead, and there was a faint air of inevitability about the outcome at that stage.
Credit Monaghan, however, as they never panicked and worked their way back into game.
Aaron Mulligan and Geaney traded converted free kicks before the Farney lads had their best and most productive spell with points from Jason Irwin, Loughlin Power and Mulligan to cut the deficit to three points. Another Geaney free made it 0-10 to 0-6 to Kerry.
Monaghan needed the better start to the second half but instead the first score after the restart was a Kerry goal, corner back David Mangan showing all the awareness and poise of a corner forward to collect Michael Lenihan’s pass and shoot past Ryan Farrelly to open up a seven-point lead.
That was soon nine points courtesy of Paul Walsh and Dan McCarthy and there seemed like no way back for Monaghan from there.
This is minor football, however. Centre-forward Sean Jones converted three frees in quick succession to make it 1-12 to 0-9, and things got interesting when Kerry defender Conor Flannery was dismissed in the 46th minute for a second booking.
Jason Irwin’s goal in the 55th minute halved the deficit from six points to three, and two minutes later it was a tied game when Monaghan sub Mark Mooney beat Marc Kelliher for the second time, and incredibly Monaghan had the lead on the cusp of 60 minutes when Donnacha Swinburne pointed.
Seven minutes of additional time ensued with Paul Walsh converting two frees and sub Jack Kennelly nailing an insurance point in the 67th minute to ensure the champions survived one of their toughest games all year.
Scorers for Kerry: Dylan Geaney 0-5 (2f), David Mangan 1-0, Darragh Rahilly 0-3, Paul Walsh 0-3 (2f), Dan McCarthy 0-2, Darragh Lyne 0-1, Killian Falvey 0-1, Jack Kennelly 0-1.
Scorers for Monaghan: Sean Jones 0-4 (all frees), Aaron Mulligan 0-4 (1f), Jason Irwin 1-1, Mark Mooney 1-0, Loughlin Power 0-1, Donnacha Swinburne 0-1
1. Mark Kelliher (Glenflesk)
2. Conor Flannery (Dingle)
3. Owen Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla)
4. David Mangan (Laune Rangers)
5. Colm Moriarty (Annascaul)
6. Dan McCarthy (Kenmare)
7. Dan Murphy (Rathmore)
8. Darragh Rahilly (Rathmore)
9. Darragh Lyne (Killarney Legion)
10. Paul Walsh (Brosna)
11. Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin)
12. Killian Falvey (Annascaul)
13. Dylan Geaney (Dingle)
14. Patrick D’Arcy (Glenflesk)
15. Michael Lenihan (Dr Crokes)
17. Jack O’Connor (Beaufort) for 14. P D’arcy (HT)
20. James McCarthy (Kenmare) for 15. M Lenihan (48)
19. Jack Kennelly (Ballydonoghue) for 17. J O’Connor (55)
18. Kieran O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion) for 4. D Mangan (59)
23. Mark Cooper (Dr Crokes) for 13, D Geaney (63)
1. Ryan Farrelly (Magheracloone)
2. Ronan Grimes (Killanny)
3. Jack Doogan (Magheracloone)
4. Shane Hanratty (Inniskeen)
5. Christopher Flood (Truagh)
6. Brendán Og O Dufaigh (Monaghan Harps)
7. Michael Meehan (Scotstown)
8. Jordan McGarrell (Corduff)
9. Andrew Moore (Carrickmacross)
10. Aaron Mulligan (Latton)
11. Sean Jones (Inniskeen)
12. Karl Gallagher (Emyvale)
13. Donnacha Swinburne (Carrickmacross)
14. Loughlinn Power (Monaghan Harps)
15. Jason Irwin (Oram)
22. Oisin O’Hanlon (Carrickmacross) for 7. M Meehan (36)
20. Mark Mooney (Tyholland) for 8. J McGarrell (36)
21. Darragh Dempsey (Latton) for 14. L Power (49)
17. Joel Wilson (Achadh na Muilleann) for 12. K Gallagher (59)
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)
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