[caption id="attachment_66755" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Jack Doughan of Dublin tries to stop Galway's David Burke during the Under-21 All Ireland hurling final at Semple Stadium."][/caption]
Dublin booked their spot in the intermediate football final with a powerful second-half scoring blitz to edge Astoria by a narrow margin. Dublin started impressively as Peter Hatzer had a point in the first minute and Shane Carty finished a good pass from Paul McDaid to the net a minute later. However, Astoria also got into the thick of the action quickly as Packie Downey forced a great save from Alan Reilly before Robbie Moran pointed a free after Downey was fouled. By midway Astoria had leveled as Downey managed to knock the rebound from a fisted effort to the net. Astoria would continue to have the upper hand for the remainder of the period as Robbie Moran and Brian Geraghty were controlling the middle. Moran was on target from placed balls and Mark Dobbin and Geraghty were accurate from play to have Astoria ahead by five points after twenty minutes. The arrival of Conor Hunter added a bit more of an edge to Dublin's attack while Keith Moran landed a spectacular point to leave the score at 1-6 to 1-3 in favor of Astoria at the break.
On the resumption of play Dublin were almost totally in control as Astoria faded out of the action. Carty started the action with a brace from frees before a well-executed goal from Hatzer had the Dubs in front after three minutes. Dublin's dominance continued as Eoghan Loughnane and Fergal Mulvanney sauntered in for minors before a bout of stumbling and fumbling in the Astoria rearguard allowed Niall Coughlin to cruise in for the third goal. Midway it was beginning like a rout as the Dubs were ahead 3-7 to 1-6. Then a clinically struck penalty from Sean Kelly after Downey was grounded revitalized the Astoria boys and they began to whittle away the lead. Moran hit a free over before Dobbin delivered a great diagonal ball to Downey which he duly caught, rounded his man and blasted the ball to the net. Astoria now appeared to have the momentum as Nestor Allen equalized culminating a good move involving Geraghty and Downey.
With three minutes left it seemed as if Astoria might have the victory as veteran Derek McKenna fielded well and fed the ball to Downey for a score and the lead. However the ball was quickly transferred to the other end where Coughlin dished it off to Hatzer who blasted it to the net for a two point lead. Astoria had a late free that required a Gregory McCartan type response but Moran blasted over. Shane Sweeney did attempt an equalizer with a sideline ball from a very acute angle but the shot drifted to the left as the Dubs are back in the final with high hopes of achieving the double.
Astoria Gaels Pa Ryan, Alan Foley, Eugene O'Hagen, James O'Brien, Eoghan Kyne, Sam Yore, Shaun Munnelly, Robbie Moran(0-6), Brian Geraghty(0-1) Derek McKenna, Mark Dobbin(0-1), Liam Farrell, Shane Sweeney, Packie Downey(2-1), Nestor Allen(0-1) Subs Michael Coyle, James Dolan Sean Kelly(1-0) Dublin Alan Reilly, Sean McGrath, Adam Keaney, Colin Larkin, BarryMcKiernan, Donal McGlynn, Robbie Carter, Andy Gray, Keith Moran(0-1), Paul McDaid, Shane Stenson, Shane Carty(1-2), Peter Hatzer(2-1), Niall Coughlin(1-0), Eoghan Loughnane(0-2) Subs Conor Hunter(0-1), Mark Connolly, Fergal Mulvanney(0-1), Kevin Ryan Referee Martin O'Connor Man of Match Peter Hatzer.
Cork prevail over
Cork are now top of the table with Leitrim while Cavan are out of championship contention for this year. The Rebels were rarely troubled in this game as Mark Cronin had three early points on the board with good support from Tadgh Foley, Shay Furlong and Francie Cleary. Meanwhile Cavan hit several wides before Thomas Fahey opened their account after ten minutes. Furlong chipped in with a point before Aidan O'Mahoney goaled as the Cavan defense blundered. Both sides would a brace before the break, O'Mahoney for Cork while Ian Davis did likewise for the Breffni Boy to leave the Rebels ahead by 1-6 to 0-3 at the break.
Though Cronin opened the scoring after the break it seemed that Cavan might make a game of it as they hit for three quick points. However, two points from Cronin plus a goal from Cleary after O'Mahoney set him up soon put an end to any hopes of a Cavan revival. Cork cruised to the finish line adding another 1-2 while Kevin Cardin concluded a very poor Cavan performance with a point.
Cork Darren 0'Mahoney, Paddy Harrington, Gary Hanley, Sean McNamee, Liam Hanley, John McLoughlin, John Fitzpatrick, Gary Lowney(0-1), Jason Kelly, Francie Cleary(1-0), Derek Courtney, Aidan O'Mahoney(1-2), Mark Cronin(1-7), Tadgh Foley, Shay Furlong(0-1) Subs Brian Kelliher, Pat Mahoney, Conor Hickey, Gary Donoghue Cavan Joey McKeon, Paul Lamb,Kevin Cardin(0-1), Ciaran Martin, Ronan McGinley, Thomas Fahey(0-1), Tommy Warburton(0-1), Alan Carolan, Stephen Harold, Brendan Reilly, Keith Cardin, Michael Boyle, Barry McGinn, Eoin Davis(0-2), Gerald McCarthy(0-2) Subs Justin O'Halloran , Shane O'Reilly, Ian McKiernan, Ronan Fitzsimmons. Referee John Fitzpatrick Man of Match Aidan O'Mahoney
Leitrim just about had the measure of Tyrone in this close contest though the O'Neill county will rue a missed penalty at a crucial juncture in the game. Tyrone were first on the charts as Donal Hartnett pointed for a foul but Leitrim answered quickly as a neat flick form Kieran Tavey set up Dan Doona for point. Two minutes later Rory Woods withstood a robust challenge before delivering the ball to Pat Madden who sent Tommy Nolan in for a major strike. However by seven minutes Tyrone were level as Paul Cahill buried the ball in the net as the Leitrim rearguard botched a clearance. Further defensive dallying allowed Tyrone to reclaim the lead as Cahill was on target again. Leitrim settled down and had the next four scores as Ken O'Connor's aerial supremacy was causing havoc on the edge of the square. Adrian O'Connor, Dan Doona, Shane Sweeney, and Kieran Tavey all hit the target. However the strong running Tyrone squad soon hauled them back with points from Donal Hartnett (2) and Niall Farrell. Dan Doona finished out the scoring with another spectacular point to leave Leitrim leading by 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.
When the action restarted Tyrone did well to parry a blistering shot from the burly O'Connor but at the other end a Hartnett free had the sides level. For the next ten minutes Leitrim stepped up performance. A good ball from Paul O'Hara set Doona to regain the lead while tenacious tackling by Mike Creegan forced a turnover resulting in a Tavey point after a late hit on Woods. Creegan was also instrumental in the next score as a timely interception was the genesis of another Tavey point. At the halfway stage Leitrim were ahead by three when Tyrone blew a chance of drawing level as Paul Cahill blasted a penalty wide . Leitrim responded to the let off with a point from O'Hara but Tyrone battled hard for the last ten minutes. Another Cahill point was followed with a totally unwarranted free for a textbook example of a well-executed shoulder left two between them. However time and late staunch defending ensured that Leitrim held on for a deserved though hard earned win.
Leitrim Pa Ryan, John Goldrick, Kieran Scannell, Lonan McGuire, Mike Creegan, Dermot Keane, Jeff Farrell, Adrian O'Connor(0-1), Pat Madden, Kieran Tavey(0-3), Rory Woods, Tommy Nolan(1-0), Dan Doona(0-4), Ken 0'Connor, Shane Sweeney(0-1). Subs Paul O'Hara(1-0), Danny O'Sullivan, Paddy Daly Tyrone Damien Corrigan, Michael Gallagher, Joe Bell, Ciaran Campbell, Ryan Canavan, Stevie Keating, Seamus Skeffington, Conor McNabb, Declan Garvey, Darren Doherty, Michael Sloan, Adam Fitzgerald, Donal Hartnett(0-5), Niall Farrell(0-1), Paul Cahill(1-2) Subs Patrick Maguire, Niall McGuire, Paul Mulhern. Referee Lawrence McGrath Man of Match Mike Creegan.
Kerry win against odds
At the throw in few would have put their money on Kerry to win this match as they lined out with just thirteen players for the first half. However there is always something different about the Kingdom when it comes to football and that difference was certainly very noticeable as they grew in confidence and composure as they game progressed. Armagh looked to be in control early on as Shane Moynagh(2), Ciaran Conlon and Kevin McGeeney hit the target plus also forcing a good save from player-manager Flood. Soon Kerry despite the player deficit began to find their groove as Kevin Walsh, Ross Donovan and Paddy Smith registered scores as CJ Molloy was winning vital possession and making very good use of it. After twenty minutes a Kevin Walsh penalty put Kerry ahead, as they lead by 1-4 to 0-6 at the break.
With the full quota for the second half Kerry managed to keep Armagh off the score board until late in the game when Moynagh and Caolan Short hit points. Armagh seemed to panic as they shot from some ridiculous positions. Meanwhile defenders Donovan, Corbett, Lyng and Foley not only kept their opponents at bay but also supported an attack that was expertly led by Kevin Walsh. He landed two crucial points while the late arrival Maurice Crowley also hit the target. With five minutes left Kerry produced the killer blow as a long delivery from Mike Jim Fitzgerald was tipped by CJ Molloy for Paddy Smith to steer to the corner of the net. The victory keeps Kerry still in the hunt with the outcomes of the remaining two matches in the league determining the final four.
Armagh Alan Hearty, Ramie Kane, Patsy Martin, Stuart Stokes, Aidan Morton, Eddie Greenan, Karl McAvery, Steve Sheridan, Brian Murphy, Caolan Short(0-2), Kevin McGeeney(0-1), Allan McFerren, Ciaran Conlon(0-1), James Moynagh(0-4), Chris Morton Subs Collie Fearon, Kevin Rogers Kerry Finbar Flood, James Huvane, Darren Courtney, Niall Corbett, Ross Donovan(0-1), Dermie Foley, Jonathon Lyng, Mike Jim Fitzgerald, CJ Molloy, Kevin Walsh(1-4), Shane Clifford, Paddy Smith(1-1), Brendan Driscoll. Maurice Crowley(0-1), Eoghan Moriarty Referee Conor Healy Man of Match Kevin Walsh