A rousing second-half Kerry display ensured it will be they who are the last men standing between Dublin and the five-in-a-row that eluded the Kingdom in 1982.
Like the All-Ireland champions the evening before, Kerry revived themselves after a struggling first half to outscore Tyrone by seven points after half-time.
However, the victory was made bittersweet by the excellent Stephen O’Brien picking up a late black card, which means he now faces a proposed cumulative suspension ruling him out of the final.
O’Brien picked up a yellow and a black against Galway in the League in February as well as a black against Meath in Navan last weekend.
Although black cards, because they constituted sin bins, didn’t carry over to the Championship, combined with yellow cards to make red cards they do count towards cumulative suspensions.
Changes by Peter Keane – Jack Sherwood making a considerable difference in midfield and Tommy Walsh later becoming a focal point at the edge of the square – were crucial in Kerry turning the tide.
But then the marking job by Tom O’Sullivan on Peter Harte and class of Seán O’Shea, Paul Geaney and David Clifford were major too.
In front of a poor 33,848 crowd, Geaney was so clever in setting up O’Brien for the 56th-minute goal and the Kenmare man added a point a minute later.
The goal had in fact put Kerry up for the first time in the game and from there they never looked back.
Shane Ryan did have to save from a Harte palmed effort in the 61st minute but the closest Tyrone got to Kerry was two points as they ran out of ideas and lost their indiscipline.
The absence of people from Croke Park was matched by the absence of entertainment as Kerry fell into the trap of committing too many players forward and running out of space. When attacks were
constricted by Tyrone, they broke quick and it was little surprise that they led 0-9 to 0-5 at the interval.
Keener on keeping possession than kicking into the full-forward line, they suffered and at no stage did they go ahead in the first half although they levelled the game on two occasions.
With all the space around him and Jason Foley isolated, Cathal McShane was looking like a hero at the edge of the square. By the break, he had three points to his name as well as a couple of assists.
Niall Sludden’s stealth runs were also not being picked up by Kerry, who were looking far too obvious in what they were trying to do. O’Brien did attempt to engineer a couple of openings with his flight of foot but wasn’t given enough support but then there were far too many occasions when Kerry’s forwards were being backed up.
After an O’Shea 45, the last three scores of the half came from Tyrone – McShane, Mattie Donnelly and Sludden. Kicking six wides and just three points from play, Kerry were in bother. But not for too much longer.
Scorers for Kerry: S. O’Shea (0-6, 5 frees, 1 45); D. Clifford (0-5, 1 free); S. O’Brien (1-2); P. Geaney (0-3); J. Sherwood, D. Moran (0-1 each).
Scorers for Tyrone: C. McShane (0-7, 3 frees); M. Donnelly, M. Sludden, N. Morgan (45s) (0-2 each); M. McKernan, R. Donnelly, D. McCurry, C. McAliskey, P. Harte (free) (0-1 each).
KERRY: S. Ryan; J. Foley, T. Morley; P. Murphy; S. Enright, T. O’Sullivan, G. Crowley; D. Moran, A. Spillane; B. Ó. Beaglaoich, S. O’Shea, S. O’Brien; P. Geaney, D. Clifford, K. Spillane.
Subs for Kerry: J. Sherwood for A. Spillane, G. White for S. Enright (h-t); T. Walsh for J. Foley (51); D. Moynihan for K. Spillane (57); J. Lyne for G. Crowley (70+1); J. Barry for T. O’Sullivan (70+5); S. O’Brien (black, 70+7).
Galway end Kerry’s 34-game winning streak in minor football championship
TYRONE: N. Morgan; R. Brennan, R. McNamee, P. Hampsey; C. Cavanagh; K. McGeary, C. Meyler, M. McKernan; R. Donnelly, M. Cassidy; F. Burns, P. Harte, N. Sludden; M. Donnelly (c), C. McShane.
Subs for Tyrone: C. McAliskey for N. Sludden (53); T. McCann for K. McGeary (58); D. McCurry for M. Cassidy (inj 65); B. Kennedy for C. Cavanagh (69).
Referee: M. Deegan (Laois).
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