Kerry scored six goals to steamroll a shocked Tyrone side on their way to retaining the Division 1 football title at Fitzgerald Stadium in the Allianz football on Saturday afternoon. Although, due to Munster championship commitments, they will share the honour with All-Ireland champions Dublin.
Tyrone, coming into this game were in need of a much-improved performance after drawing with Monaghan at Healy Park in Omagh. As soon as the ball was thrown in at 5:00 pm sharp, The O’Neill County were in for a rude awakening and must have hoped they had another week to prepare that came upon them.
After a few minutes, it was apparent that Kerry was in a superior outfit. With Tyrone leading by a point after five minutes, Kerry was awarded a penalty after David Clifford was deemed to be foul after his shot was saved by Joe O’Connor and the Fossa man made no mistake, driving the ball low and hard to the right-hand side.
From then on, the saying of when it rains, it pours would be sufficient to sum the rest of the first half.
A further four more goals in the first half laid down a marker for Kerry. With wing-back, Gavin White notching a picture-perfect lob from 40 metres out, after Niall Morgan’s restart gave White the ball.
Their second goal led to three quick-fire goals and the Kingdom dominantly led 3-1 to 0-3 prior to the much-needed water break.
Shortly after, Tyrone conceded another goal, after Clifford assisted Dara Moynihan who slotted the ball past Morgan.
As Kerry blossomed, Tyrone where hopeless going forward. Often kicking the infamous high ball in towards Conor McKenna and Paul Donaghy in the hope to shake up Kerry but to no avail.
The first half scoreline was an embarrassing one, with Kerry leading by a massive fourteen points at the interval.
A further two points from Killian Spillane and Michael Burns made Tyrone give up on any hope to salvage the game, and after Jack Barry scored the sixth goal into an empty net. It put an exclamation mark on proceedings.
Kerry will now have to share the League title with rivals Dublin, and with a Munster Championship quarter-final against Clare on the horizon, they will be a hard side to stop this summer.
For Tyrone, it’s back to the drawing board. Having to prepare for a recently relegated Cavan side, but are also the reigning Ulster champions. They should have enough but based on this performance, it is well and truly up in the air.
Kieran Fitzgibbon, Brian O Beaglaoich, Jason Foley 0-01, Tom O’Sullivan, Mike Breen 0-01, Gavin Crowley, Gavin White 1-00, Diarmuid O’Connor, Adrian Spillane, Stephen O’Brien, Sean O’Shea 0-03, Paul Geaney 2-00, David Clifford 1-06 (1-00 pen, 0-04f), Dara Moynihan 1-00, Paudie Clifford.
Niall Morgan, Cormac Monroe, Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey, Michael McKernan, Peter Harte 0-01, Liam Rafferty, Matthew Donnelly 0-01, Frank Burns, Kieran McGeary 0-03, Darragh Canavan, Conor Meyler, Darren McCurry 0-03 (0-01f) , Conor McKenna, Paul Donaghy 0-01 (0-01f).