Starting with the opening 1-4 in proceedings and taking a 14-point lead in with them at half, the Kerry U-20 Hurlers never looked threatened in winning the Richie McElligott Cup for the third successive year in Pairc Tailteann, Navan this afternoon.
It was ironic that the two standout performers in Navan with the Kerry hurlers were hoping to have been playing in the U-20 Football final in Portlaoise until Cork put a halt their gallop.
Minor All-Star-winning footballers Donal ‘Down’ O’Sullivan and Barry Mahony were outstanding when introduced at half time in the semi-final against Meath, to rescue their side, which were seven points down.
Both O’Sullivan and O’Mahony were Kerry’s goalscorers in the first period, Gavin Dooley doing some good work in the build-up to O’Sullivan’s goals in the fourth and 16th minutes as Mahony showed great poise and composure to finish to the net in the final minute of normal time as Kerry led by 3-13 to 0-8 at the break.
Ronan Blair had put over a long distance free for Down’s first point in the ninth minute, but they failed to take a few noticeable opportunities at goal, Conor McCrickard firing a decent shot at goal wide of the post along the ground early in the second period.
Dan Goggin, the impressive Evan Murphy, Michael Lenihan and substitute Seamus O’Halloran joined Michael Slattery and Shane McElligott in adding their names to the score sheet as an increase in rain also led to proceedings waning somewhat in the second half.
Kerry had 19 points to spare in the finish as O‘Sullivan racked up 2-5 in a consummate personal display as the official Man of the Match. Blair was the Mournemen’s main outlet for scores with a total of 0-7 for the full-forward on a disappointing afternoon for Down.
Scorers for Kerry: D O’Sullivan (2-5, 1f), M Slattery (0-8, 7f), B Mahony (1-2), S McElligott and D Goggin (0-2 each), E Murphy, M Lenihan and S O’Halloran (0-1 each)
Scorers for Down: R Blair (0-7, 5f), T Prenter (0-2), C McCrickard, R Costello and S Martin (0-1 each)
Kerry: A O’Sullivan; L Twomey, T Brick, B McAuliffe; G Fennessy, E Murphy, C O’Keeffe; D Hunt, D Goggin; M Lenihan, B Mahony, G Dooley; D O’Sullivan, M Slattery, S McElligott Subs: D O’Donoghue for McElligott (36), E Shanahan for McAuliffe (40), S Sheehan for Hunt (42), J McKenna for Mahony (51), S O’Halloran for Slattery (53)
Down: C McLordan; M McKey, T Murray, A Dorrian; C Watson, R McCrickard, N McFarlane; N Fitzsimmons, P Savage; J Hanrahan, C McCrickard, T Prenter; R Costello, R Blair, S Martin Subs: P Davidson for Hanrahan and C Coulter for MacFarlane (both H/T), C Smyth for McKey (42), P Doran for Martin (52), S Campbell for Smyth (57)
Referee: C Mooney (Down)