By Mike Fitzpatrick
Kerry 1-16, Astoria 1-7
Kerry advances to the final of the junior division B football championship where they will meet either Monaghan or Stamford.
The semifinal, on Sunday last, was not the most exciting game we¹ve witnessed at Gaelic Park in recent times, but the Kingdom won¹t be complaining, having emulated their senior counterparts from last year in reaching a football championship final.
Astoria remained in the contest for much of the game, but towards the latter stages of the match, it was Kerry which steamed ahead.
The opening half saw a mere six points registering on the scoreboard, thanks in part to some dreadful misses on behalf of both teams, but also to some fine defending.
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Stephen Woods opened the scoring for Astoria, and his was a lonely name on the Queens side¹s scoresheet until Mike Keane grabbed another late in the half.
Kerry managed to double their opponents score in the first half, with efforts from the outstanding Kieran Cull, Brendan Lynch and Noel Curran sailing over the bar.
With very much a nondescript first half resigned to history, the second period opened on a much brighter note. Both sides attacked more, with accuracy taking the place of failure in front of goal. Astoria had Nestor Allen to thank to bring them to within one, but after that effort, it was all Kerry.
Cull grabbed two successive points, and was joined on the scoresheet by Emmet Kelly, Brendan Kiely and Liam Hartnett. Astoria¹s Mike Keane was unlucky when he hit the Kerry post low and hard, which would have brought his side right back into the contest, but Kerry took advantage of their good fortune and surged forward. With Cull in inspiring form, Kerry moved into an uncatchable lead.
Astoria substitutes Dave Butler and Rob Ormonde managed to hit a goal and a point between them to add a little more respectability to the tie, but with a late Kerry goal from Curran, and more points from Cull, Lynch and Hanley, it was to be Kerry¹s day.
Astoria: Eugene Kyne, Pat Mullery, John Beirne, Dan Harrington, PJ Burke, Peter Gormley, Sam Yore, Nestor Allen (0-2), Derek McKenna (0-2), Niall Carolan, Seamus Vee, Stephen Woods (0-1), Mike Keane (0-1). Subs: Rob Ormonde (0-1), Dave Butler (1-0), Dave Ormonde.
Kerry: John Fogerty, Pat O¹Driscoll, Adrian Riney, Tom Lynch, Damien O¹Connor, Peter Riney, Mark Burke, Brendan Lynch (0-4), Liam Hartnett (0-1), Emmet Kiely (0-1), Brendan Kelly (0-1), Tom Noonan, Mike Herlihy (0-1), Noel Curran (1-2), Kieran Cull (0-5). Subs Paudie Hanley (0-1), Emmet Kelly.