Kerry 3-21 Dublin 0-10
Kerry retained their All-Ireland U16 Ladies A football crown with a massive 20-point victory over Dublin in this evening’s final at McDonagh Park, Nenagh, writes Jackie Cahill.
The Kingdom were outstanding from start to finish, claiming a fourth title in this grade with a clinical display to leave Dublin runners-up for the third time in four seasons.
Kerry built the foundations for this victory with a superb first half performance, as they went in leading by 14 points at the break.
Graham Shine’s young guns were 2-13 to 0-5 clear by the interval, having played with the aid of the breeze from the start.
By full-time, the margin had increased as player-of-the-match Fiadhna Tangney and Aoife O’Callaghan collected 1-11 between them.
Kerry opened up an early two-point lead before Dublin’s first score arrived in the fourth minute, from Caoimhe O’Connor.
Kerry hit back to establish a five-point lead – 0-6 to 0-1 – and they were well in control of proceedings in the early exchanges.
The Kingdom looked capable of scoring a goal whenever they ran at the Dublin defence, even though Jodi Egan was operating in front of her own goal as an extra defender, despite being listed at wing-forward.
Dublin’s second point arrived from Sarah McMahon but it was a finger in the dam as far as the Sky Blues were concerned.
The impressive Tangney and O’Connor traded points before Kerry stepped on the gas.
Underage soccer international Hannah O’Donoghue showed her striking prowess by roaring through for a 17th-minute goal, a low shot past Áine Ryan.
The damage could have been worse from a Dublin perspective but for Ryan, who pulled off a number of fine saves in the opening half.
The Naomh Barrog net-minder was beaten again in the 25th minute, however, as Kerry midfielder Bríd Ryan stabbed the ball home from close range.
Dublin’s best sight of goal was shortly before half-time when captain Rachel Brennan made inroads but the St Peregrine’s player stumbled at the vital time and her shot trickled wide.
Between them, Tangney and O’Callaghan collected eight points before half-time for Kerry, with O’Donoghue notching 1-1.
Caoimhe O’Connor finished the first half as Dublin’s leading scorer with two points from play but manager Pat Kane made two substitutions in the 28th minute in an attempt to stem the tide, as Emma McCormack and Hannah Leahy came in to replace McMahon and Ciara Murray.
Kerry picked up where they left off in the second half as O’Callaghan converted a free before burying a 34th-minute penalty for Kerry’s third goal, after Tangney was fouled.
Dublin came close to a goal when Emma McCormack struck the base of Laura Teahan’s post before the goalkeeper pulled off a fine save later in the half, tipping Ciara Holland’s effort over the crossbar.
Dublin battled all the way to full-time but Kerry were too good as they added to their previous wins in 2015, 2011 and 1999.
Scorers for Kerry: A O’Callaghan 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), F Tangney 0-6, H O’Donoghue 1-2, B Ryan 1-0, E McGlynn & M O’Carroll 0-2 each, A O’Reilly, S Lynch, N Ni Chonchuir & C Ni Luing 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: C Holland 0-3 (2f), S Fagan & C O’Connor 0-2 each, J Egan, S McMahon & E Loughlin 0-1 each.
KERRY: L Teahan; A Ni Mhathuna, T Breen, K Maher; C O’Brien, A O’Reilly, K O’Connor; B Ryan, N Ni Chonchuir; F Tangney, L Walmsley, S Lynch; E McGlynn, H O’Donoghue, A O’Callaghan.
Subs: M O’Carroll for McGlynn (41), A Clifford for Ni Chonchuir (43), J Lucey for O’Donoghue (51), R Fitzgerald for Ni Mhathuna (56), C Ni Luing for Ryan (56).
DUBLIN: Á Ryan; L Dempsey, L Davies, H Murphy; E Healy, S Fagan, M O’Dea; G O’Driscoll, N Hetherton; J Egan; R Brennan, C Murray; C O’Connor, S McMahon, C Holland.
Subs: E McCormack for McMahon (28), H Leahy for Murray (28), E Loughlin for Dempsey (h.t.), S Wylde for Egan (54), K McNally for Holland (54).
Referee: G Chapman (Sligo)