All-Ireland MFC final preview: Kerry’s record numbers

Eoghan Cormican crunches the numbers ahead of the All-Ireland Minor Football final. 

Killian Spillane

1: Number of teams in the past four years to come within one point of Kerry. Back in May of 2015, Spa’s Mike Foley split the posts in the last minute of extra-time at Tralee to hand Kerry a 0-16 to 1-12 win over Cork in a breathless Munster semi-final. Next in line are Mayo and Donegal who both ran the Kingdom to four points in the 2014 All-Ireland semi and final.

2: Minor winners who’ve since made their championship debuts at senior level. Brian Ó Beaglaoich, full-back on the 2014 minor team, was named at right half-back by Eamonn Fitzmaurice for Kerry’s 2016 Munster championship opener against Clare. He’d start the Munster final and All-Ireland quarter-final too, but did not make the starting XV come the All-Ireland semi-final showdown with Dublin. Tom O’Sullivan was thrown in at wing-back for the recent semi-final replay against Mayo.

3: Points kicked by Killian Spillane in the All-Ireland junior final win over Meath back in August. Spillane, who captained the team, was one of eight players present inside the whitewash at O’Moore Park who already had a minor medal to their name. The remaining seven are Brian Sugrue (Renard), Dan O’Brien (Glenflesk), Tomás Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Liam Carey (Beaufort), Micheal Foley (Ballydonoghue), Stephen O’Sullivan (Templenoe) and Ivan Parker (Churchill).

4: Kerry is the first county to reach four consecutive All-Ireland minor finals. Dublin (1954-56), Cork (1967-69, 1985-87), Laois (1996-98) and Kerry (1931-33) all managed three consecutive final showings. Kerry did the three-in-a-row in 1931-33, Dublin in 1954-56 and Cork in 1967-69. No county, as of yet, has managed four-in-a-row.

8: Players to see game-time during the All-Ireland semi-final against Cavan who have at least one Hogan Cup medal in their back pocket. They are Sean O’Leary, Jack Griffin, David Clifford, Donnchadh O’Sullivan, Cian Gammell, Chris O’Donoghue, Niall Donohue and Michael Potts. The latter quartet were part of both the 2016 and 2017 St Brendan’s, Killarney Hogan Cup winning teams. Kerry schools have won the last four Hogan Cups - Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne strung back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.

9: Average winning margin during 2014 and ‘15 championship campaigns.

10: The 10-point defeats incurred by Cork and Louth in the Munster semi-final and All-Ireland quarter-final represent the sternest examinations of the 2017 Kerry class. Each one of their winning margins this summer have been in double-digit territory, ranging from 10 to 24.

12: Average winning margin during 2016 championship campaign. Cork’s six-point loss in the Munster final - 3-14 to 3-8 - was as near as any team got.

13: May 13, 2015, to be precise. The last occasion a Kerry minor team failed to raise a green flag. It was Cork, in that above mentioned Munster semi, who held them goalless. They’ve bagged 30 majors in their subsequent 15 outings.

20: Final win of 2014 bridged a gap of 20 years to Kerry’s previous minor success. It was the longest period the county had ever gone at either minor, U21 or senior without winning an All-Ireland.

23: Games unbeaten at minor level. During this run, the Kingdom have annexed four Munster and three All-Ireland titles.

42: Geelong squad number of 2015 captain Mark O’Connor. The Dingle native made his AFL debut back in May.

49 (4-37): David Clifford’s 2017 championship total, thus far; 1-4 against Clare (Munster quarter-final), 2-8 against Cork, 0-6 against Clare (Munster final), 0-9 against Louth and 1-10 against Cavan.

1,504: Days since Kerry last came up short in a minor championship game. Stephen McGrath and Lee Brennan kicked four points apiece as Tyrone scored a 0-17 to 1-12 All-Ireland quarter-final extra-time victory over Kerry on Sunday, August 4, 2013.

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