Fergal Lynch reports from Navan
SEAN O’SHEA produced a masterful display as Kerry advanced to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland SFC with an under-whelming Super 8s victory over Meath at Pairc Tailteann this evening.
With nothing at stake for Meath the brave Royals made Kerry work hard for their win and it wasn’t until O’Shea’s 43rd minute goal that they really settled into the game.
The eight-point margin of victory flatters the Kingdom and they will need to find significant improvement ahead of the last four clash, but Meath can take huge credit for their brave display.
Meath were every bit a match for Kerry in the opening half and even though the visitors started well with Sean O’Shea (two) and David Moran adding points after O’Shea and Bryan McMahon had traded early scores to give the Kingdom a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after seven minutes.
Kerry’s Adrian Spillane with Donal Keoghan of Meath.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Shane Walsh (free) and Killian Spillane exchanged scores before Meath were denied a penalty after Cillian O’Sullivan looked to be fouled, but as Kerry scrambled Ethan Devine was impeded and Walsh converted the free to make it 0-3 to 0-5.
Quickfire scores from Thomas O’Reilly and Darragh Campion had Meath level, but after Paul Geaney dragged a goal chance wide Marcus Brennan was beaten in the 16th minute when Brian O Beaglaoich netted from close range.
After going 10 minutes without a score Meath replied with a point from McMahon and in the 24th minute a brilliant run by the impressive O’Sullivan set up Campion for a fine goal which gave the hosts the lead for the first time, 1-6 to 1-5.
Kerry restored their lead through O’Shea (free) and Geaney, but Walsh continued to torment Tadhg Morley and fired a goal chance over the bar to restore parity for the fourth time.
Kerry looked like running away with it in the closing minutes of the half as stephen O’Brien, Tom O’Sullivan and Spillane made it 1-10 to 1-7, but in first-half injury-time Walsh and Devine were on target to close the deficit to 1-9 to 1-10 at the break.
GOAL for Kerry! Excellent finish by Seán O'Shea! pic.twitter.com/2M1nmntnmd
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 3, 2019
The second-half was littered with fouls, errors and three black cards, but was Meath who burst from the traps to restore parity through Walsh.
Six minutes later O’Shea bagged the all-important second goal and even though Walsh replied with a pointed free Meath didn’t score for another 15 minutes as Kerry survived black cards for Gavin White and Stephen O’Brien before Moran and Geaney kicked points to make it 2-12 to 1-11.
McMahon eventually ended Meath barren spell in the 59th minute, but they added just one more point from Bryan Menton as Kerry stumbled over the line with O’Shea adding four more points (two frees and a ’45′) and Spillane and O Beaglaoich also on target.
Scorers for Kerry: Sean O Shea 1-8 four frees, one ’45′; Brian O Beaglaoich 1-1; Killian Spillane 0-3; Paul Geaney 0-2; David Moran 0-2; Stephen O’Brien 0-1; Tom O’Sullivan 0-1;
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Scorers for Meath: Shane Walsh 0-6 three frees; Darragh Campion 1-1; Bryan McMahon 0-3; Thomas O’Reilly 0-1; Ethan Devine 0-1; Bryan Menton 0-1.
1. Shane Ryan
2. Jason Foley
3. Tadhg Morley
4. Tom O’Sullivan
5. Paul Murphy
6. Gavin Crowley
7. Brian Beaglaoich
8. David Moran
9. Adrian Spillane
10. Gavin White
11. Sean O’Shea
12. Stephen O’Brien
13. Micheal Burns
14. Paul Geaney
15. Killian Spillane
Substitutes: Dara Moynihan for Burns 31m, Tommy Walsh for Crowley 39m, Shane Enright for White (bc) 45m, Jack Sherwood for A Spillane 46m, Jonathan Lyne for O’Brien (bc) 52m, Jack Barry for K Spillane 68m.
of the team
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1. Marcus Brennan
2. Seamus Lavin
3. Conor McGill
4. Shane Gallagher
5. Donal Keogan
6. Padraic Harnan
7. Gavin McCoy
8. Bryan Menton
9. Shane McEntee
10. Ethan Devine
11. Bryan McMahon
12. Darragh Campion
13. Cillian O’Sullivan
14. Shane Walsh
15. Thomas O’Reilly.
Substitutes: Thomas McGovern for McEntee 23 mins, Ross Ryan for McCoy 45m, James Conlon for O’Reilly 50m, Niall Kane for McGovern (bc) 54m, Mickey Burke for Devine 64m, Sean Tobin for McMahon 66m
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).
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