The Kingdom cruised to an 11-point victory over Derry at Croke Park yesterday – as forward trio Seán O’Shea, David Shaw and David Clifford led the charge.
O’Shea, a member of last year’s All-Ireland winning team, hit 1-6 - 1-5 from play.
Shaw justified his late inclusion – one of three changes to the team listed in the programme – with five points from play. That tally was matched by the gifted Clifford, Hogan Cup final hero for St Brendan’s who was also magnificent when Kerry saw off Cork in the provincial decider.
The concession of two first- half goals won’t have pleased Keane: they were by far the classier outfit but Derry rallied from five points down in the 28th minute to draw level at the interval – 2-6 to 0-12. O’Shea was superb for Kerry in that opening half, kicking six points, but Derry claimed goals from Patrick Quigg in the 24th minute and Feargal Higgins six minutes later to remain in the hunt.
The second-half was a different story, Kerry winning it 1-12 to 0-4, a blistering start to the second-half sent the champions on their way to the last four. Daniel O’Brien fisted a point to get the ball rolling before O’Shea rammed home a 33rd minute goal. Sub Brian Friel sent Kerry five clear – 1-14 to 2-6 – and while Caolan Devlin landed a free for Derry, Shaw burst to life with four unanswered points to put Kerry eight clear. From there to the finish, it was a procession for Kerry.
S O’Shea 1-6 (1f), D Clifford & D Shaw 0-5 each, D O’Brien 0-2, M Potts, M Breen, M Ryan, D Moynihan, B Friel & C Teahan 0-1 each.
F Higgins 1-2 (0-1f), P Quigg 1-0, P Coney 0-3, C Devlin 0-3f, P McGrogan & S Higgins 0-1 each.
B Courtney; D Naughton, G O’Sullivan, N Collins; M Potts, D O’Brien, M Foley; M Breen, M Ryan; B Sweeney, S O’Shea, D Moynihan; F O’Brien, D Shaw, D Clifford.
B Friel for O’Brien (h.t.), C Teahan for Sweeney (44), S Okunbar for Ryan (55), K Dwyer for Potts (56), C Linnane for Moynihan (59), T O’Connor for Clifford (60+2).
B McKinless; C McCluskey, G McLaughlin, A Bradley; S McErlain, E Concannon, P McGrogan; P Coney, C Doherty; S Higgins, C Devlin, P Quigg; S Downey, F Higgins, E Bradley.
O McKeever for Concannon (34), O McWilliams for Downey (37), S Mortimer for McLaughlin (44), R Young for Doherty (45), L Kielt for Bradley (51), J.P. Devlin for McCluskey (55).
J Hickey (Carlow)