Ardee St Marys’ Ciaran Keenan and John Mitchels’ John Gallagher combined to hit 1-09 of Louth’s 2-09 total in Portlaoise this afternoon but Kerry proved too strong for Wayne Kierans’ minors in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship quarter-final.
After Louth’s defeat to Dublin in the Leinster showpiece, the Wee County were dealt an arguably as tough an assignment in the All-Ireland last eight. It proved so, with the men from the Kingdown prevailing 1-22 to 2-09 to progress to the last four. This result ends Louth’ minors inter-county interest for 2017.
Saturday’s clash followed a similar pattern to that defeat to Dublin three weeks ago. Peter Keane’s side raced into a 1-03 lead within seven minutes of the start as – seemingly as ever – Louth were punished for a sluggish start. David Clifford in particular was key for the men in green and yellow. Alan McGauley, Liam Jackson, Conor Gillespie, Keenan and Gallagher all started for Louth and it was the latter who notched their first score via a free.
A fine move ended in a long range Keenan point from range as Louth looked to try and get a foothold on the match. After trailing 1-07 to 0-01 inside 14 minutes, it was forever an uphill battle. In fairness to Louth, they did outscore their opponents 1-04 to 0-04 after that inauspicious opening period.
Two more Gallagher points were added to by a goal from Ciaran Keenan. Just like their Croke Park outing in the Leinster final, Keenan and Gallagher were the scoring outlets for Kierans’ young side. They both scored 0-05 in that game – and they followed it up with 1-3 and 0-06 respectively here.
Louth had their fair share of possession in the first half, and once again they were left to rue that slow start.
Despite Eoghan Callaghan’s early goal – the only score contributed by someone other than Keenan or Gallagher – in the second half, a flurry of points from Kerry kept the Munster champions comfortable. Three of Louth’s four second half points were frees, with Gallagher notching their sole effort from play.
Kerry came into the came as big favourites and with five provincial titles under their belt, it’s easy to see why. They will face Galway or Cavan in the semi-finals.