Brilliant first-half fires Kerry to deserved win over Dublin

Kerry 1-15
Dublin 0-11

Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park

FIRST BLOOD OF the season to Kerry in what might or might not be a two-game series this year if, as still expected, they meet Dublin in an All-Ireland semi-final down the road in July.

What, if anything, this seven-point win will mean in high summer is anyone’s guess, but as making statements in early February go, this was pretty emphatic from Kerry. Sure, they lost the second half by 0-7 to 0-1 – yes, Kerry managed just a single Paul Geaney point in the second period – but context is needed.

Kerry won this game in the first half, taking a 13-point lead to the interval, and thereafter it was all about saving face for Dublin. Dessie Farrell might take some consolation for that second half revival but it is the first 35 minutes that will haunt the Dublin manager.

For Kerry it was almost all good, so good in fact that they could afford the luxury of a missed penalty from David Clifford in the first half.

The penalty miss came just after Sean Bugler had pointed for Dublin to have them trail 0-4 to 0-5, and it prefaced a Kerry assault on the Dublin posts in the driving wind and rain.

David Clifford takes on Lee Gannon.

Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

Dublin did have the ball in the Kerry net in the first half when Dean Rock’s shot went in through a combination of the post and Shane Murphy’s hand, but a foul by Niall Scully in the build-up saw him black carded and the goal scratched off.

It was a let-off Kerry were happy to play, and thereafter they went to town on the Dubs for the remainder of the half.

In the 26th minute Loran O’Dell overcooked his pass to Rock with just Murphy providing the Kerry cover at that stage, but Kerry weren’t nearly as wasteful. 

Points from Moynihan, Paul Geaney, David Clifford (two) and a Sean O’Shea free made it 0-12 to 0-4 and then David Clifford’s handpass into Moynihan got the finish it deserved: a right-footed shot to the top corner of Comerford’s goal that made it a 12-point game on the 35-minute mark. 

The half finished with a Geaney point, a Jack Barry black card, and Dublin reeling from a 13-point deficit going to the dressing room.

If most of the drama was squeezed into that second quarter, the second half wasn’t nearly as much fun. The best that can be said for Dublin is that they won the second period by six point; while Kerry probably won’t – nor should they – beat themselves too much for managing just that one point, from Geaney in the 47th minute.

Thereafter the game petered out with black cards for Tom Lahiff and then Paudie Clifford, while Ciaran Kilkenny, Brian Howard, Brian Fenton, Ryan Basquel and Dean Rock (three frees) restored some bit of respectability for Dublin in what was their second wash-out in a week. 

Watch the Full-Time Highlights of @Kerry_Official v @DubGAAOfficial in The Allianz Football League here! #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/WhmocBrhUW

— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 5, 2022

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Scorers for Kerry: S O’Shea 0-5 (3f), D Moynihan 1-1, D Clifford 0-4, P Geaney 0-3 (1m), D O’Connor 0-1, P Clifford 0-1

Scorers for Dublin: D Rock 0-5 (4f), E Comerford 0-1 (f), B Howard 0-1, B Fenton 0-1, S Bugler 0-1, C Kilkenny 0-1, R Basquel 0-1 

Kerry

1. Shane Murphy (Dr Crokes)

2. Dan O’Donoghue (Spa), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Brian Ó Beaglaioch (An Ghaeltacht)

8. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil) 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe) 11. Seán O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks) 12. Dara Moynihan (Spa)

13. Paudie Clifford (Fossa) 14. David Clifford (Fossa), 15. Paul Geaney (Dingle) 

Subs

24. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks) for A Spillane (54)

20. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes) for P Geaney (63)

18. Micheal Burns (Dr Crokes) for D Moynihan (65)

22. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys) for P Clifford (temp, 70)

19. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe) for T Morley (70)

17. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for D Clifford (temp, 71)

23. Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks) for D O’Donoghue (72) 

Dublin

1. Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams)

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2. Lee Gannon (Whitehall Colmcilles), 3. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf), 4. Sean McMahon (Raheny)

17. Darragh Conlon (Ballymun Kickhams), 6. Brian Howard (Raheny), 7. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny), 9. Tom Lahiff (St Jude’s)

10. Sean Bugler (St Oliver Plunkett’s ER), 11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock), 12. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)

24. Lorcan O’Dell (Templeogue Synge Street), 20. Cameron McCormack (Ballymun Kickhams), 26. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams) 

Subs

14. Ciaran Archer (St Maurs) for L O’Dell (50)

13. Ryan Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for C McCormack (50)

15. Ross McGarry (Ballyboden St Enda’s) for N Scully (65)

21. Killian McGinnis (Skerries Harps) for J Small (67)

5. CJ Smith (Lucan Sarsfields) for D Conlon (73)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork) 

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