Kerry got their revenge on All-Ireland Final conquerors Dublin, with a six point victory in the opening round of the Allianz National Football League on Saturday night.
The Munster side were the better team for much of the game and should have had this tie wrapped up before the interval. As it was,they only led 0-7 to 0-5 at that point. Lack of a competitive outing clearly told against the Kingdom, and their forwards were less than accurate in the early stages. This was only to be expected from a side that had not seen much action since last September. However, ten wides in the first half and sixteen in total was still a very worrying statistic for management to address.
For their part, Dublin hit eight wides as they also saw some opportunities go amiss. The loss of Eamon Fennell to a straight red card in the 67th minute means they will now be without the player for the next few games.
Darran O’Sullivan, Bryan Sheehan and Paul Galvin led the line for the winners, and the first named hit a crucial goal 15 minutes from time,that wrapped up the points for the visitors. Dublin were too dependent on scores from placed balls on the night and it was Mossie Quinn and Stephen Cluxton that kept their hopes alive. The crowd of 45,838 never really got the classic encounter they had hoped for, but it is asking a lot at this stage of the season. Both counties will need to improve as the year goes on but are likely to do so.
Bryan Sheehan hit eight scores for Kerry, including three from play. The St Mary’s man has really grown into his midfield role and is establishing himself as a key member of the side. James O’Donoghue scored three points on his big game debut and the former under-21 star looks set to challenge for a starting berth this season. Mossie Quinn led the way for Dublin with four points.
Scorers – Kerry: B Sheehan 0-8 (5f), J O’Donoghue 0-3 (1f), D O’Sullivan 1-0, BJ Keane 0-3. Dublin: T Quinn 0-4 (3f), K McManamon 0-3, S Cluxton 0-2, (1 ’45’), B Cullen, D Connolly 0-1 each.
Kerry – B Kealy; S Enright, M O Se, P Crowley; T O Se, K Young, B Maguire; S Scanlon, B Sheehan; P Galvin, Darran O’Sullivan, S O’Sullivan; J O’Donoghue, K Donaghy, BJ Keane. Subs: A Maher for S Scanlon (h-t), P Curtin for S O’Sullivan (49), D O’Callaghan for Darran O’Sullivan (inj) 60, A O’Mahony for P Crowley (66), D Bohane for BJ Keane (71)
Dublin – S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, Rory O’Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, G Brennan, C Dias; R McConnell, MD MacAuley; P Brogan, K McManamon, B Cullen; D Connolly, E O’Gara, T Quinn. Subs: P Flynn for P Brogan (44), K Nolan for M Fitzsimons (50), E Fennell for R McConnell (51), D Kelly for E O’Gara (63), S Murray for MD Macauley (64)