GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Round 2 – Kerry 2-10 Westmeath 1-12

Kerry toil and get the breaks

IAN O’RIORDAN at Cusack Park for the Irish Times newspaper

Kerry 2-10 Westmeath 1-12: MOVE ALONG, please, move along, nothing shocking here, no one famous dead on the qualifier floor, only a routine scare and the usual innocent bystander. If they didn’t keep getting away with it then maybe Kerry wouldn’t keep doing it, but not for the first time in their qualifier history, they somehow survived against so-called weaker opposition – thanks in no small part to a Darran O’Sullivan cameo in front of a crowd of 6,620.

If Westmeath had really believed they could win it then maybe they wouldn’t be still looking for answers. “I’d love to sit down with somebody, have a look at this, and see, at what stage do the lesser teams get the breaks? Because certainly I don’t think we got them today,” said Westmeath manager Pat Flanagan.

This was unquestionably one victory that got away. “In all honesty, if some of the decisions went a different way, we would have won by four or five points,” added Flanagan, trying hard not to make excuses, but unable to skip over a number of incidents that almost certainly swung the game in Kerry’s favour. Two moments – perhaps the defining ones – stand out. Kerry huffed and puffed their way through the first half – no match for Westmeath’s drive and enthusiasm, which took them in front.

On 30 minutes they’d scored 0-8, and Kerry’s hadn’t scored from play. All that kept them in it was Bryan Sheehan’s penalty, on 12 minutes, after Eoin Brosnan was pushed in front of goal. Pity, because the Westmeath defence did little else wrong. At the other end Kieran Martin, Paul Sherry and Ger Egan were breathing confidence, freely scoring too, while John Heslin was helping to lord midfield. When, on 31 minutes, Colm Cooper scored Kerry’s opening point from play it seemed the worst was over.

Trailing 0-8 to 1-3 at the break, Kerry then conceded a penalty of their own, when Michael Ennis was dragged down in front of goal – and David Glennon gladly obliged from the spot. By then, Kerry were down six points, staring defeat in the face. So to that first moment: after some deft defending, Ronan Foley was running out with the ball, when he was called up for overcarrying. Harsh? Maybe, but the Gooch took a quick free, spotting half-time substitute O’Sullivan in space, who finished to the net.

This turned the entire game on its axis, realigned the stars in Kerry’s favour. James O’Donoghue and Paul Galvin tagged on two quick points, and suddenly Westmeath were on their heels. On 53 minutes O’Donoghue levelled it up, and two minutes later the Gooch kicked Kerry in front. At that stage most people in Cusack Park expected Westmeath to wilt, especially the strong Kerry contingent, and instead things went further down the wire.

O’Sullivan was called ashore again, his hamstring looking a little suspect, and with it Kerry’s momentum was lost again, Heslin helped swing it back in Westmeath’s favour – levelling the sides again with just four minutes to play. Kerry won a couple of frees – and put themselves two points back in front. With time run out, and only two minutes added, that seemed to be that, before Heslin stepped up for a late, late free. He pointed and there was only time for a Kerry kick out, no more. Flanagan was a little surprised about that afterwards, and wasn’t the only one.

“We felt there was another minute to go, and that’s why we told him, take the free,” he said. “Their goalkeeper took about 20 seconds to kick the ball out, so again, some funny decisions. I wonder, if we were winning by two points, would it be only two minutes?”

KERRY: 1 B Kealy; 2 M Ó Sé, 3 A O’Mahony, 4 K Young; 5 T Ó Sé, 6 E Brosnan, 7 B Maguire; 8 A Maher, 9 B Sheehan (1-3 goal penalty, three frees); 10 P Galvin (0-2), 12 D Walsh, Declan O’Sullivan; 13 J O’Donoghue (0-2), 14 C Cooper (0-3, two frees), 15 K Donaghy. Subs: 18 Darran O’Sullivan (1-0) for Walsh (half time), 20 K O’Leary for O’Donoghue (53 mins), 22 P Curtin for Darran O’Sullivan (60 mins), 21 J Buckley for Donaghy (64 mins). Yellow cards: Galvin (24 mins), Maher (55 mins), O’Mahony (65 mins).

WESTMEATH: 1 D Quinn; 3 J Gaffey, 4 K Maguire, 2 M McCallon; 15 P Sharry (0-1), 5 D Harte, 6 M Ennis; 8 J Heslin (0-5, four frees), 9 P Bannon; 11 G Egan (0-1), 14 David Glennon (1-0, a penalty), 10 K Martin (0-2, one free); 23 D Corroon (0-1), 13 Denis Glennon (0-1), 20 R Foley (0-1). Subs: 18 B Moran for David Glennon (54 mins), 21 D Gavin for Corroon (62 mins), 7 D McDermott for Foley (62 mins), 23 C McCormack for Bannon (64 mins).

Yellow cards : Sharry (28 mins), Harte (29 mins), Gaffey (50 mins), Martin (63 mins), McDermott (69 mins).

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh)

 

Kerry survive massive scare against Westmeath

Report from the GAA.ie web site

GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers Round 2: Westmeath 1-12 Kerry 2-10

Kerry overcame an almighty scare against Westmeath in Mullingar on Sunday to progress to Round 3 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers, keeping their hopes of winning back Sam Maguire alive for now. However, Westmeath will surely look back on the game with massive regrets as they will feel they should have recorded one of the all-time great scalps against the Kingdom, having led them by six points at one stage in the second half.

David Glennon’s penalty shortly after the restart had Kerry in massive trouble, but substitute Darran O’Sullivan responded almost immediately with a crucial goal for Kerry, and then points from James O’Donoghue and Paul Gavlin brought them back within one. They eventually went ahead, but a John Heslin free brought Westmeath back level again with five minutes to go.

However, points from Bryan Sheehan and Galvin in the closing stages got Kerry over the line – just – although they will need a seriously improved performance in the next round if they are to provide a credible challenge for the All-Ireland this season. Westmeath got off to a blistering start in the game, and were 0-4 to 0-1 up after 15 minutes. Sheehan’s penalty brought Kerry back level at that stage but Westmeath were by far the better side for the rest of the first half, and led 0-8 to 1-3 at the break.

Glennon’s penalty a few minutes after the restart was a massive shock to Kerry, and suddenly there was a very real possibility that they would be knocked out. But O’Sullivan’s goal followed swiftly, and Kerry were level with about 20 minutes to go when O’Donoghue fisted over the bar. Kerry went in front shortly after this, and although Westmeath got level again before the end, Kerry’s experience told in the final stages as they got the scores they needed to win a game that could so easily have been one of their most famous defeats.

Match Preview

A first championship clash between the counties. They last met in the Allianz League in March 2009 when Kerry won by 1-12 to 0-6 in a Division 1 clash in Tralee. Westmeath beat Louth by 1-15 to 0-12 in the first round of the qualifiers while Kerry will be having their first outing since losing to Cork in the Munster semi-final.

2012 Championship

Louth 2-9 Westmeath 0-14 (Leinster first round); Westmeath 1-15 Louth 0-12 (Qualifiers Round 1)

Kerry 0-16 Tipperary 0-10; Cork 0-17 Kerry 0-12 (Munster semi-final)

Team News

The Kerry Senior Football team to play Westmeath on Sunday July 8th

1. Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)

2. Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)

3. Aidan O’Mahony (Rathmore)

4. Killian Young (Renard)

5. Tomás Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)

6. Eoin Brosnan (Dr Crokes)

7. Brian Maguire (Listowel Emmett’s)

8. Anthony Maher (Duagh)

9. Bryan Sheehan (St Mary’s)

10. Paul Galvin (Finuge)

11. Declan O’Sullivan (Piarsaigh Na Dromada)

12. Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane)

13. James O’Donoghue (Legion)

14. Colm Cooper (Captain) (Dr Crokes)

15. Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks)

16. Brian Kelly (Legion)

17. Peter Crowley(Laune Rangers)

18. Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar)

19. Shane Enright (Tarbert)

20. Kieran O’Leary (Dr Crokes)

21. Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes)

22. Patrick Curtin (Moyvane)

23. Jonathan Lyne (Legion)

24. Seamus Scanlon (Currow)

25. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)

26. Fionn Fitzgerald (Dr Crokes)

27. Michael Geaney (Daingean Uí Chuis)

Bainisteóir: Jack O’Connor (Piarsaigh Na Dromada)

Traenálaí: Alan O’Sullivan (Kerins O’Rahillys)

Roghnóirí: Ger O’Keeffe (Austin Stacks)

Diarmuid Ó Murchú (Daingean Uí Chúis) and Eamon Fitzmaurice (Finuge)