Kerry were crowned deserved All Ireland Junior Champions on a 0-11 to 0-8 scoreline at Croke Park today and Limerick’s valiant efforts up just short.
It was a nervy opening for both sides with missed opportunities but Brid Horan settled Kerry nerves with the first score five minutes in.
Two minutes later and Rebecca Noonan levelled for Limerick with a long range free.
Patrice Diggin free to put Kerry back in front 0-2 to 0-1 before Noelle Curtain levelled with a well taken point from play.
Kerry then took a hold of the game with four points in a row as Julianne O’Keeffe, Patrice Diggin (2, 1 free) and Jackie Horgan all rattled off points.
Rebecca Noonan kept Limerick on Kerry’s coattails with a free on 23 minutes. Ella Whelan make it a two point game as Limerick took advantage for a restart to fire over from an acute angle.
The board showed 3 minutes of added time at the end of the first half. Limerick managed to eek further into Kerry’s lead and reduce it to a one point game as Rebecca Noonan knocked over another free.
Introduced at the break, Clodagh Walsh made her presence felt with the first score of the second half to restore Kerry’s 2-point lead. Rachel McCarthy then extended the lead to 3 with another effort from play.
Rebecca Noonan reduced the arrears one come from placed ball but Kerry’s Sarah Murphy restored the Kingdom’s three point cushion with a cool finish as she slipped past the Limerick defence.
Kerry further extended their lead through another Diggin free. Kerry were now on top in the middle third and winning a lot of the key battles. Limerick were reliant on Noonan’s placed ball efforts with her 45th minute strike making it a 3-point game once more.
Shauna Darcy went on a mazy run through the Kerry defence to point from 30 yards. Maybe the momentum was just swinging back Limerick’s way.
Diggin’s 53rd minute free restored the goal advantage and as the minutes ticked away, you sensed Limerick would need a goal.
Free taking was a crucial part of the game and when the imperious Rebecca Noonan missed her first of the day, the writing was on the wall for this gallant Limerick side.
Limerick needed a goal but it was not forthcoming as Kerry held on for a deserved 3 point win.