EA SPORTS UNDER 17 LEAGUE OF IRELAND
Kerry picked up three valuable points at soccer headquarters in Tralee on Saturday after a comfortable win over Limerick in a of poor quality affair.
The first half of this game provided fairly decent football with both sides enjoying periods of dominance, but the sides were lacking finishing power in the final third of the pitch.
The second half turned into a scrappy, foul-ridden affair with numerous stoppages of play with players picking up injuries on a regular basis.
Limerick forced an early corner, which was swept into the box by Finn Barrett, but Kerry keeper Richard Healy showed great handling finesse clasping the ball tightly as it came into the danger zone.
Down the other end Kerry forced a corner which was delivered into the goalmouth where Oisín Healy rose highest, but his header went over the top.
After a Limerick attack John Ikiebey latched on to a corner kick from Finn Barrett, but he blasted his effort on goal high.
Kerry deservedly went ahead in the 21st minute after a quick free kick and Yago Silong provided a great ball for Oisin Healy who ran at a defender down to the end line and when he peeled away from him he drilled a low ball into a forest of players. in the small box and goal poacher supreme Venis Jahiri reacted quickest and blasted the ball to the net from close range.
Kerry were only a lick of paint away from doubling their lead 10 minutes later after superb build up play Oisín Healy got past an opponent and fed Andrew Kerins and his shot cum cross clipped the crossbar and went over the top.
Kerry had another great chance in the 35th minute when Yago Cornide got inside the Limerick defense and displayed a sublime touch to control the ball but when he pulled the trigger he dragged his shot left and wide from 12 yards.
The game was wide open at half time and, while Kerry enjoyed more play than their opponents in the first half, they would need another goal to have some kind of a safety cushion.
Limerick made two changes after the break introducing Leon Johnson for Kyle Foley and Bobby Amadassun for Kacper Wieczorek.
The second half degenerated into an untidy mess with play breaking down on a constant basis with both sides guilty of committing fouls and consequently there was a litany of hold ups after players went down with injuries.
Scoring opportunities were few and far between and Kerry knew they needed the security of a second goal to wrap up the game.
The visitors were unable to get any type of cohesive play together as they were losing the midfield battle with Yoga Cornide, Tojor Silong and Venis Yahiri ruling the roost while Oisin Healy and Andrew Kerins were a constant threat up front.
With play fragmented players were living off scraps and Limerick had a half chance on the hour mark after decent approach work Hubert Zakrzewski was only a whiskey away from getting a vital touch that would surely have produced a goal but he was unable to make contact with the ball.
The goal that Kerry so eagerly sought came to fruition in the 70th minute when the Limerick goalie Michael Dike dwelled on the ball too long and his attempted clearance was blocked and when Tojor Silong mopped up the loose ball and got past a defender he was taken down in the box and referee Thomas Sheehy had no hesitation pointing to the spot.
After dusting himself off he made no mistake from 12 yards and now it was only a matter of defending sensibly and winding down the clock.
Limerick had a late chance to pull a goal back when sub Leon Johnson got behind the Kerry defense but he pulled his shot wide from 10 yards.
It was a good win for Kerry and will give them a lift for their next outing next Saturday in Tralee against Waterford.
KERRY: Richard Healy, Tom Benson, Sean Treyvaud, Obinna Izehi, Cilian Keogh (Seamus Kelly, 60), Oleksandr Strelanyshen, Yago Cornide (Josh Bowler, 70), Tojor Silong, Venis Jahiri, Oisin Healy, Andrew Kerins (Alex Hoare, 82)
LIMERICK: Michael Dike, Kacper Wieczorek (Bobby Amadasun), Adam Finn, John Ikibey, Conaill Stapleton, Dominic Griffin, Finn Barrett, Kyle Foley (Leon Johnson), Hubert Zakrzewski, Ben Costello, Eoghan O Donovan (Garret Grant)
REFEREE: Thomas Sheehy