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Allainz NFL Division 1 – Kerry 0-15 Derry 1-9
Kerry defeated Derry by 0-15 to 1-9 in Round 3 of the Allianz National Football League on Sunday at Austin Stack Park Tralee.
Kingdom put a spring in their step
Kerry 0-15 Derry 1-9
By Jim O’Sullivan for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Monday, March 08, 2010
IN order of priority, Kieran Donaghy’s excellence at full-forward, outstanding free-taking from the returning Colm Cooper and a marvellous save from goalkeeper Brendan Kealy just before half-time were the primary factors in Kerry avoiding a three-game losing sequence in Tralee yesterday. Factor in the cumulative effect of Michael Quirke’s play at midfield, David Moran’s second-half improvement and the introduction of Marc O Sé and others and it accounted for a re-assuring outing in the Allianz NFL for manager Jack O’Connor. In contrast, Derry manager Damien Cassidy regretted errors in the first-half which he felt gave Kerry ‘an impetus’ and a poor ten-minute spell midway through the second-half.
Just as Paddy Bradley returned to action with the northerners after a five and a half month absence, Kerry went into the game with their strongest panel to date, with Tom and Darran O’Sullivan having their first outings, along with Cooper. Additionally, Marc O Se (at half-time), Anthony Maher and nominated team captain Bryan Sheehan were brought in as substitutes. But, as events turned out, the real benefit came over the last 20 minutes, when it mattered most. Derry had the backing of the wind from the start – the Kerry boss commented later that it was as hard to play ‘with as against’ – and the visitors didn’t take long to realise that it wasn’t that much of an advantage.
They had two points on the board inside nine minutes (from Bradley and younger brother Eoin), but their scoring return from majority possession over the first quarter was minimal. By half-time they had racked up 11 wides and other than a well-worked goal from Eoin Bradley in the 16th minute, the best they could offer was four points in the second quarter, one of them a superb score from midfielder Fergal Doherty. Kerry struggled until Michael Quirke began to assert himself in the middle and Declan O’Sullivan foraged successfully for possession. After drawing level by the 13th minute, they led briefly with points from Killian Young and Kieran Donaghy. After the goal they added on a further two points. Notably, as Donaghy remarked afterwards all of their scores came from play, whereas Derry were confined to three frees against the wind!
With the wind limiting the flow of ball into the forwards – where Donaghy won his aerial battle with Kevin McCloy – Kerry weren’t over-impressive in defence. Eoin Bradley’s strong play forced a re-arrangement which brought Pádraig Reidy to full-back and an off-form Tommy Griffin to right-half, but it didn’t achieve much. Instead, Derry undid a lot of good work outfield through their bad finishing (with Doherty on top at stages and Mark Lynch forceful at centre-back).
Understandably, Kerry were relieved to be only a goal behind at the break (1-6 to 0-6), but it could have been different had not Kealy made a great save from a Doherty pile-driver in the last minute, when he managed to push against the underside of the crossbar. A major a boost for the All-Ireland champions, it denied Derry the six-point lead which could have made a significant difference to the outcome. While Kerry resumed with two quick points, these were negated by two Bradley frees and it took Kerry a bit of time to get their game properly organised. Moran, placed by Donaghy, might have had a goal but slipped and Donaghy went close with a half-shot which replacement ‘keeper Martin Dunne did well to deflect outside the post.
But, given the way the defence was tightening up, the growing influence of Quirke and later Moran and outstanding free-taking from Cooper from a variety of distances, Kerry were in the mood for a takeover. Level by the 54th minute (through Moran), Declan O’Sullivan had them back in front in another minute. And after that, Derry didn’t look capable of saving the game. “It’s a boost – and it lifts morale,’’ said a delighted Kerry manager.
Scorers for Kerry: C. Cooper 0-5 frees; K. Donaghy and D. Moran 0-3 each; D. O’Callaghan, K. Young, Declan O’Sullivan and B. Sheehan (free) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Derry: P. Bradley 0-5 frees; E. Bradley 1-1; B. Mullan, F. Doherty and G. O’Kane 0-1 each.
Subs for Kerry: M. O Se for Griffin (second half); A. Maher for Scanlon (47th); B. Sheehan for Darran O’Sullivan (55th); K. O’Leary for O’Callaghan (62nd).
Subs for Derry: M. Dunne for Gillis (injured, 27th minute); S.L. McCormack for Kielt (57th); J. Kielt for McGuigan (62nd); J. Diver for McLoughlin (67th).
Referee: G. O Conamha (Galway)