East Kerry 1-11 St Brendan’s Board 0-8; Mid Kerry 3-20 Dr Crokes 3-19 (after extra-time)
Two divisional sides will contest this year’s Kerry senior football championship decider on Sunday week, following contrasting wins over the weekend.
East Kerry - even without the suspended David Clifford - cruised into their second consecutive county final after overcoming a listless St Brendans Board team on a 1-11 to 0-8 scoreline. The champions could afford nine second half wides, and only added four points to their half time tally of 1-7, but still won comfortably.
St Brendans - with the exception of Lawrence Bastible, Tomas Kearns, Jack Barry and Diarmuid O'Connor in snatches - were at sea as they trailed 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval. They conceded a calamitous goal just before half time, scored by Evan Cronin, who ended up with 1-2 from play.
Jack Sherwood and his East Kerry team mates crowded the middle of their defence thus stopping the incisive running of Jack Barry and Diarmuid O'Connor. Meanwhile the older Clifford brother, Paudie, was pulling the strings for East Kerry and with Darragh Roche scoring five points and Kerry senior Dara Moynihan chipping in with two more, they reached another final without ever getting out of second gear.
On Saturday night, in sharp contrast, former All-Ireland club champions Dr Crokes and Mid Kerry were involved in a classic. Mid Kerry, despite being four points down with just seven minutes to go in the second period of extra time, got a last second winner to reach their first final since 2008, on a 3-20 to 3-19 scoreline.
Gavan O’Grady, who ended up with 1-8, poached a goal on 77 minutes before Beaufort’s Jack O’Connor - a Kerry minor All-Ireland winner in 2018 - stroked over the winner in the 80th minute of play.
Crokes were without the injured Tony Brosnan but had outstanding displays from the likes of Micheál Burns ( 1-5) and Kieran O'Leary (0-5) , who claimed a 62-minute equaliser to force extra time at 2-16 each.
Mid Kerry were boosted by two goals in as many minutes early in the second half to lead 2-11 to 1-8 - Beaufort pair Ronan Murphy and Ciarán Kennedy both raising green flags. Although Crokes had them back to parity by the 46th minute, with substitute Chris Doncel scoring a goal.
Peter Crowley, Mike Breen and veteran Darran O'Sullivan then came to the fore though as Mid Kerry edged out an injury ravaged Dr Crokes team who also lost Johnny Buckley and David Shaw.