East Kerry return to defend their title in the Kingdom. However, the script was rewritten when Mid Kerry ensured it would not be Dr. Crokes to play them. As a result, this is the first Kerry SFC Final since 2015 to not feature the former All Ireland Club Champions.
East Kerry go into this final as heavy favourites. But, after the performance Mid Kerry showed in their semi-final triumph, nobody will be writing them off.
The semi-finals were very much opposites in a lot of ways. Firstly, East Kerry’s victory over St. Brendan’s Board was a relatively low scoring game with no surprises. In contrast, Dr. Crokes vs Mid Kerry was a battle for the ages. Perhaps, even a contender for the game of the year. With 45 scores, over 80 minutes of action, and twists throughout, anyone who subscribed to Kerry GAA’s Live Stream for the game got their money’s worth.
— Kerry GAA (@Kerry_Official) September 22, 2020
At the interval, the game was at a stalemate. Then, it ripped into life early in the second half. Two goals in as many minutes from Mid Kerry’s Beaufort duo of Ronan Murphy and Ciarán Kennedy left them 2-11 to 1-08 in front.
Dr. Crokes were the victims of many injuries both before and during the game. Yet, the substitutes who were called upon made their mark. For instance, Chris Doncel found the net after coming in to help Dr. Crokes level the game by the 46th minute.
While it looked like the more experienced club side would kick on, both teams continued to pick away at scores. The absence of Tony Brosnan was all but unnoticeable. Instead, Micheál Burns and Kieran O’Leary kicked 1-10 between them on the night. In fact, it was the latter who scored the equaliser to send the game to extra time.
Again, familiarity crept in as Dr. Crokes found themselves four up with seven minutes to go. But, Mid Kerry were determined to not let the game though. Gavin O’Grady scored a goal in the 77th minute. Then, with effectively the final kick of the game, Jack O’Connor split the posts to kick the winner for the Divisional side. It ended 3-20 to 3-19.
On the other hand, reigning champions East Kerry cruised to the final. Without, David Clifford they were still able to find scores. More importantly, they looked very assured at the back. Jack Sherwood steadied the ship as he and his teammates did well to halt the dangerous runs of Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor.
In the first half, it was very tit for tat. Just before half time though, East Kerry found the net. Evan Cronin was the quickest to react to a rebound off the post and buried the goal chance. It meant the Divisional side went into the break 1-07 to 0-05 up.
The second half didn’t yield any major surprises. Paudie Clifford pulled the strings for East Kerry and Dara Moynihan chipped in with a couple of scores. In fact, East Kerry could afford nine wides in the second half and still win comfortably. The final score was 1-11 to 0-08.
Paddy Power has put East Kerry at 1/5 and Mid Kerry at 4/1 for this Saturday’s showdown. Indeed, there are likely few who would argue with this but if Mid Kerry can channel the same fight they showed against Dr. Crokes, they could push East Kerry all the way. However, with David Clifford returning from suspension, Mid Kerry have to take their chances.
Paths to the Final
East Kerry 1-11 vs 0-08 St. Brendan’s Board
Dr. Crokes 3-19 vs 3-20 Mid Kerry
East Kerry 2-13 vs 1-14 St. Kieran’s
Mid Kerry 1-13 vs 1-12 Kenmare Shamrocks
East Kerry 1-14 vs 0-03 Feale Rangers
Mid Kerry 3-15 vs 0-12 Kilcummin
Kerry SFC Final: East Kerry vs Mid Kerry, Saturday 26th September, Austin Stack Park (7pm).
Kerry championship has been exceptional. Footballers by the dozen . Nice reminder of the natural ability in the county. https://t.co/qmiI8Sa9NZ
— paul galvin (@pgal10) September 12, 2020