Allianz Football League Division 1
Saturday 15th May 2021. Austin Stack Park, Tralee
Kerry 4-21 Galway 0-11
Peter Keane’s Kerry came out with a point to prove after a disappointing end to their Munster championship campaign last year. One got the impression that winter in the Kingdom was spent dwelling on that dramatic exit. The Tribesmen struggled badly to keep pace with Kerry’s tempo, particularly in the first half. To be honest this game was done and dusted by the interval as Kerry led by ten points despite playing against the wind.
Paudie Clifford got the scoring underway with a point into the teeth of the wind. Damien Comer fisted over a quick leveller from the kick out. David Clifford showed that anything his brother could do he could replicate. Killian Spillane notched Kerry’s third point. A Matthew Tierney free came back off the post at the far end as Galway struggled to cope with Kerry’s pace and movement in the early stages. David Clifford kicked his second of the game and Kerry led by 0-4 v 0-1 inside the opening five minutes.
The pace of scoring slowed down after the frantic opening spell. Galway’s Damien Comer saw an effort from the left get pushed wide by the strong cross-field breeze. Kerry’s next score came from a well struck 45’ from David Moran which was dubiously awarded after Seán Mulkerrin knocked the ball off Seán O’Sheas hip. David Clifford drilled over his third from play on twelve minutes.
A sustained spell of Galway possession inside the Kerry half led to Dessie Connelly wining a free which Shane Walsh duly converted.
The game was even enough in this early stage, however, that all changed dramatically on the arrival of Kerry’s first goal. A quick free caught out the static Galway defence. Quick hands from Seán O’Shea and Killian Spillane set up an effort which David Clifford calmly palmed into the net. Killian Spillane fisted over a point after Bernard Power made a point blank save from Dara Moynihan to prevent a second Kerry goal in as many minutes.
Water break: Kerry 1-7 Galway 0-2
Paul Conroy sent over a point from distance for Galway after a patient build up. Paudie Clifford drilled home the second Kerry goal after a clever reverse pass from Moynihan. Shane Walsh hit another poor wide for Pádraic Joyce’s side. Gavin White missed a superb chance for a third Kerry goal as the Kingdom were cutting the Galway defence open at will. Paudie Clifford’s initial effort was well saved and White slipped at the crucial moment when the goal appeared at his mercy.
Paul Conroy kicked his second and Galway’s fourth score. Joyce could see his side were struggling and he was quick to make changes on the sideline as Cooke and Heaney were replaced by Ronan Steed and Cathal Sweeney on 25 minutes. David Clifford was proving a handful for the Galway defence as he added another stylish point with his left foot from the right hand side.
Dara Moynihan set up another goal chance for Paudie Clifford. This time the Fossa man dragged his right footed effort across the face of goal and wide.
The Galway defence couldn’t lay a glove on their Kerry counterparts. Killian Spillane kicked over another score for Peter Keane’s men after a passing move which probed and tested for a gap before the space was created for Spillane.
Dessie Connelly brought the Galway return for the half to five and Matthew Tierney made it six from the opposite side in first half stoppage time. There was still time for Spillane to add his fourth before the whistle for the interval. A ten point lead at the break was a fair reflection of the one sided nature of the half.
Half-time: Kerry 2-10 Galway 0-6
The heavens opened in Tralee at the interval. Not that it bothered the home side. Kerry took up where they left off on the resumption. Sean O’Shea clipped over another free before David Clifford struck his second goal of the game. Damien Comer was repelled by debutant Fitzgibbon at the other end. The young shot stopper was a late replacement for Shane Ryan. The hat-trick was completed three minutes later with a soccer style goal. Clifford dummied his initial shot and a Cruyff style drag back left the defence bamboozled. Clifford then slotted the ball into an empty net.
“That is special!”
Now, this is special! David Clifford scores a hattrick for @Kerry_Official
— eir Sport (@eirSport) May 15, 2021
Peter Keane then emptied his bench and replaced David Moran with debutant Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin), a cousin of the Clifford’s. Brian O’Beaglaoich was black carded for a foul on Shane Walsh on 45mins. Damien Comer clipped over a point for Galway. Finian O’Laoi came in for the injured Paul Conroy as the day went from bad to worse for the tribesmen.
David Clifford dispatched another free from the left to bring his personal tally to 3-06 prior to the whistle for the second water break. It was to be his final contribution of a superb personal display as Tommy Walsh replaced the younger Clifford.
Second water break: Kerry 4-13 Galway 0-7
Substitute Paul O’Shea kicked his first senior point for the Kingdom as the drubbing continued. Shane Walsh who had been unusually quiet kicked his first score from play with a booming left footed kick. Tommy Walsh kicked a point from a mark as the game ticked towards 60 minutes.
Sean Kelly pointed and brought Galway’s tally into double figures. A brace from Sean O’Shea and another from Paudie Clifford rounded out the scoring as Kerry opening their league campaign in stunning fashion. Bernard Power made another point blank save from Sean O’Shea to prevent a fifth Kerry goal. The resulting wind assisted 45’ was sent over by O’Shea. Robert Finnerty won a late free for Galway which he converted himself. The final whistle which sounded shortly after came as relief to the by now dispirited Tribesmen.
Full-time: Kerry 4-21 Galway 0-11
Kerry: S Ryan; B Ó Beaglaoich, T Morley, J Foley; P Murphy, G Crowley, G White; D Moran, J Barry; Dara Moynihan, S O’Shea, P Geaney; D Clifford, K Spillane, P Clifford.
Replacements: K Fitzgibbon, G O’Sullivan, D O’Connor (for Geaney 50’), P O’Shea (for Moran 50’), A Spillane (for Gavin White 60’), T Walsh, M Breen (for P.Murphy 65’), R Buckley, J O’Connor, M Burns (for Moynihan 62’), K O’Sullivan (for O’Beaglaoich 60’).
Galway: Bernard Power, Jack Glynn, Seán Mulkerrin, Liam Silke, Gary O’Donnell, Dylan McHugh, Johnny Heaney, Peter Cooke, Paul Conroy, Paul Kelly, Matthew Tierney, Eamonn Brannigan, Dessie Conneely, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh. Replacements: Connor Gleeson, Johnny Duane, Sean Andy Kelly, Cathal Sweeney (for Heaney 25’), Kieran Molloy (for , Ronan Steede (for Cooke 25’), Mattius Barrett, Robert Finnerty 0-1, Finnian Ó Laoi, Tomo Culhane, Liam Costello.