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FAI Inter League Youths

Ten man Kerry lose to Cork but still advance to play-offs

Kerry 1                      Cork AUL 3
Captains Robert Watson (Kerry League) and Eoin McGreevy (Cork Youth Leagues) with the match officials before last Saturday's FAI Umbro Youths InterLeague Cup clash in Tralee. (Dom Walsh)
              By Murt Murphy         
A red card picked up by Kerry,  on the stroke of half time probably cost them a chance of
victory in this final FAI Inter-League Youths group game, played at Cahermooneen on Saturday afternoon, with Cork deservedly taking the spoils.
Kerry had withstood an early Rebel barrage and taken the lead, thanks to a superb 38th minute strike from their skipper Robert Watson and would have been happy to retire 1-0 in front against this very good Cork side.
However as the referee prepared to blow for half time, Corks dangerous winger Alan O’Driscoll raced down the right flank and despite being near the touchline and not in a goal scoring position, for some unknown reason, Brendan Falvey went straight through O’Driscoll with a rash tackle and referee Kevin O’Regan had little option but to brandish a red card.
This meant that the home side had to play the entire second half with only ten and despite heroics from keeper Shane Murphy and his back four, Cork fought back to equalize in 65h minute, and a penalty twelve minutes from time allied to a stoppage time goal, secured victory for the visitors and a home draw in the quarterfinals.
Kerry were in the dark about qualification until later on Saturday night when the Desmond League failed to beat Limerick by a  three goal margin ( won 4-3) so Kerry advanced to a last sixteen away trip to Wexford in early February. Surely when goal difference is in play, both games should have the same kick-off time but all is well that ends well from a Kerry viewpoint.
Cork settled the quicker and created a number of scoring chances in the opening quarter as Kerry without two of their top players, Chris Brady and Tadgh Moore, struggled to get to the pace of the game.
Jamie Spillane saw yellow after conceding an 8th minute free kick on the edge of the box but Shane Murphy got down well to save Jordan Philpott’s effort.
Then in the 14th minute a sweeping Cork move saw Roy Collins cross to Philpott, whose effort was turned behind for a corner by keeper Murphy.
Kerry were fortunate not to fall behind two minutes later when Alan O’Driscoll attacked down the right wing, cut inside the fullback and looked certain to score, until Shane Murphy saved brilliantly with an outstretched foot.
Robert Watson was Kerry’s danger man and he almost scored after good work by O’Carroll and O’Leary as the home side began to get to grips at midfield.
Watson looked certain to give Kerry a 24th minute lead, when he raced into the Cork danger zone, but centre half Lonergan denied him with a last stitch tackle.
Jamie Barry then denied Philpott at the other end after another fine cross from O’Driscoll but Kerry’s defence was outstanding as Jamie Spillane, David O’Sullivan and Danny Sheehan keeping Cork at bay.
Then Kerry knocked the stuffing out of Cork in the 38th minute when Jamie Barry’s long clearance was chased down by Robert Watson who drove the ball from an angle, over the advancing keeper and into the roof of the net.
Kerry were now in the driving seat but Falvey’s red card changed all of that as Cork retired confident of getting back in the game.
Two crucial half time substitutions also worked for Cork as both Josh Kra and the tall Tony O’Reilly played major roles in the Rebel revival.
Cork’s Eoin McGreevy headed inches wide in the 51st minute as Cork turned up the heat but Ryan O’Carroll almost sneaked a second for Kerry with a shot from outside the box that shaved the post.
Kerry then lost Davies, Barry and O’Leary in quick succession and with little strength on their bench, Cork inevitably equalized in the 65th minute, when Kra and Stephen Kenny played a neat 1-2 and Kenny drilled the ball low to the Kerry net.
Strangely Robert Watson almost replied instantly for Kerry but his shot was just over the top, as Sheehan, Spillane, and Watson battled heroically against the Cork tide.
Then with twelve to go, Kerry were caught too high up the pitch, and Shane Murphy had to race  out to the edge of his box,  but while he did take down O’Reilly, was it inside or outside? The referee pointed to the spot and Kenny made no mistake from the spot.
Kerry had no more to give but they fought to the bitter end with Watson giving a man of the match display ( now at midfield) but when Cork secured the win with an 95th minute Philpott strike, Kerry wondered would that late Cork goal, cost them dearly.
However after an anxious wait, Kerry were through as the Desmond League came up short against Limerick.

Shane Murphy, Jamie Barry, Danny Sheehan, David O’Sullivan, Jamie Spillane, Ryan O’Carroll, Chris Davis, Terence Moriarty, Graham O’Leary, Robert Watson, Brendan Falvey

Subs: B Mullins for C Davis, D Griffin J Barry (inj), D Roche for G O’Leary (inj)

Sean Barron, Andrew Joyce, Alan Anderson, Vinny Lonergan, Owen Murphy, Jordan Philpott, Kieran Doran, Alan O’Driscoll, Roy Collins, Eoin McGreevy, Stephen Kenny.

Subs: Josh Kra for A O’Driscoll, Tony O’Reilly for K Doran

Referee:  Kevin O’Regan