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Allianz NFL Division 1 – Kerry 1-16 Monaghan 1-12
Kerry defeated Monaghan by 1-16 to 1-12 in the last round of the Allianz GAA Football National League Division 1 at Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney on Sunday.
Kerry cloud has silver lining for relieved Farney
Kerry 1-16 Monaghan 1-12
By Colm Keys for the Irish Independent newspaper
Monday April 12 2010
Sometimes you get what you deserve. When the final whistle sounded in a sun-kissed Fitzgerald Stadium, Monaghan stood helplessly, suspended briefly in their own place of purgatory. Had they done enough? Had they survived? Had their hooks and their crooks kept them in the top flight? For the previous 10 minutes, their fate had ebbed and flowed on events in Pearse Stadium where Derry’s commanding early lead was being eaten into by a resurgent Galway. The gap in Salthill closed to three around the same time as Darren Hughes belted over a thundering 47-metre free from the ground to reduce Monaghan’s deficit to three. With Tyrone so adrift of Dublin, their fate already looked assured, so it was between two. Then Kieran O’Leary surged and pointed for Kerry. Four points behind again. Derry themselves re-opened a four-point cushion and that’s how it ended, both sides locked on four League points with Tyrone, both sides with a scoring aggregate deficit of 11 points.
It took time for the news to seep through after that. Monaghan’s greater ‘score for’ aggregate had preserved them. The large travelling contingent on the stand, many clinging to radios, began to cheer when confirmation of the permutations were fully signed. The players breathed a collective sigh of relief. It was against their instinct to celebrate a defeat, particularly as they had been so comprehensively beaten. The Hull City manager Phil Brown did it with a song at the KC Stadium last season but Seamus McEnaney hadn’t the mike, the tan or indeed the neck to commit to it on the Fitzgerald Stadium surface! Still, they had picked a good time and better place to ‘overnight’ on the Sunday and McEnaney was nonetheless ebullient as news filtered through. It was a cause for celebration given how they have consistently punched above their weight.”
“The day we bet Tyrone in Inniskeen, I told the interviewers that day that it didn’t make any difference if it came down to the last game in Killarney for us to stay in Division One, by hook or by crook we were going to stay there,” he mused. “I think it’s very important for the future of Monaghan football and our travelling support here. We had a lot of long journeys. We had Mayo, we had Galway, we had Dublin, we had Kerry. That was a lot of time on the road. “The lads showed serious commitment but, never mind the last five months, what about the last 17 minutes with 14 men (Rory Woods was sent off for two yellow cards) and they stuck to their job and we got our just rewards. We beat Tyrone, we beat Derry and we’re entitled to stay up.”
They did indeed beat Tyrone and Derry, albeit at home, and that entitled them to some justice on a day when otherwise Kerry showed much of their old style and panache. Glorious days in Killarney like this are few and far between but they are made for football and in that regard they didn’t disappoint. The scintillating form of Paul Galvin and Kieran Donaghy here will ensure a giddy anticipation of the championship to come that wasn’t there a few months ago. Galvin, back after his two-month suspension, hopped off the ground all day and left his mark as much for the vision of his passes as the accuracy of the kicks that helped him amass three first-half points. When his influence waned slightly, Donaghy perked up. He looked slim and sharp and he too kicked with sublime accuracy to match Galvin’s tally.
But it was their hand in the Kerry goal on 51 minutes that really had the home support in the 6,314 crowd purring with appreciation. Galvin set the move in motion with a pinpoint delivery to Barry John Keane whose cross-field punt was tailor-made for a trademark Donaghy catch. The full-forward obliged, offloaded over the top to Bryan Sheehan who had the momentum and the proximity to close the deal on a 1-12 to 1-7 lead. It was textbook stuff that every coach should seek an action replay of, not just those tasked with facing the Kingdom at some stage later this year.
With Seamus Scanlon and later Mike Quirke ruling the skies and pulling down marks (nine between them), it was a matter of how much Kerry would win by. Throw in Tomas O Se’s competitive return — his second-half point rose the most audible cheer of the day — and Kerry were close to full strength. They lost Colm Cooper to an eye injury after only seven minutes, were denied a clear penalty when Sheehan was clearly tugged on 15 minutes and were unlucky to concede a goal just before half-time when a dubious penalty, taken by Conor McManus, was parried by Brendan Kealy but only into McManus’ path for a simple rebound. A 0-9 to 1-4 interval lead was precarious but Kerry always had too much in hand and had the measure of Monaghan’s forwards once Tommy Freeman limped off injured and later Woods, his replacement, walked. To their credit, Monaghan never let the game get away from them as it might have on such a day, Damien Freeman and Dermot McArdle adding steel to their defence for the second half.
Late on, Declan O’Sullivan picked up a straight red card for an apparent incident with Monaghan midfielder Dick Clerkin but neither side will dwell on it for long, if at all. For both, it was mission accomplished. “I think this league in many ways has been better for us than last year’s league because we have found out more about players,” acknowledged Jack O’Connor afterwards. “This has been a massively competitive league. There were one or two teams in it last year that weren’t competitive. Every team this year certainly gave a great account of themselves.”
Scorers — Kerry: B Sheehan 1-4 (2f), K Donaghy, P Galvin 0-3 each, Darran O’Sullivan 0-2, C Cooper, D Bohan, T O Se, K O’Leary 0-1 each. Monaghan: C McManus 1-3 (2f ), R Woods, D Hughes (1f), P Finlay (1f) 0-2 each, C Hanratty, D Clerkin, D Freeman all 0-1 each.
Kerry — B Kealy; M O Se, T Griffin, T O’Sullivan; D Bohan, T O Se, K Young; S Scanlon, A Maher; Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, P Galvin; C Cooper, K Donaghy, B Sheehan. Subs: B J Keane for Cooper (7 mins), M Quirke for Maher (47), A O’Connell for Bohan (55), B Guiney for T O’Sullivan (64), K O’Leary for Darran O’Sullivan (70).
Monaghan — S Duffy; N McAdam, J P Mone, D Mone; D Hughes, V Corey, C Walshe; D Clerkin, P Finlay; S Gollogly, D Malone, K Hughes; Ciaran Hanratty, C McManus, T Freeman. Subs: R Woods for Freeman (7), M McElroy for Malone (27), D Freeman for McAdam (ht), D McArdle for K Hughes (ht), F Caulfield for Gollogly (56).
Ref — M Condon (Waterford)
Last gasp point ensures Farney survival
From the GAA.ie web site
Kerry retained their Division 1 status thanks to a 1-16 to 1-12 defeat of Monaghan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Sunday. Despite the four points defeat, Seamus McEnaney’s Monaghan will also play in the top flight in 2011 after finishing level on four points with Derry and Tyrone at the foot of the table. In the end, a late point saved Monaghan as they were locked on the same scoring average (-11) as Derry, but their slim advantage in the points scored column saved them from the drop. Bryan Sheehan scored 1-4 for the Kingdom who led by 0-9 to 1-4 despite dominating the first half. Sheehan, the Kerry captain, hit the back of the net at the start of the second half before Monaghan were reduced to 14 men after Rory Woods was dismissed for a second yellow card.
Paul Galvin, back in the Kerry team after serving an eight-week ban, started at wing-forward rather than at centre-back, and the Finuge man proved how invaluable a player he is for the Kingdom with two early points from play. Paul Finlay responded with two points from placed balls for the Farney men, but they were dealt a serious blow when attacking talisman, Tommy Freeman, was forced off with an ankle injury in the opening quarter. Colm Cooper and Sheehan got their names on the scoresheet to give the home side a 0-5 to 0-3 lead by the 22nd minute. However, the gloss was taken off Kerry’s bright start when Cooper had to be substituted after suffering an unfortunate head injury. Galvin’s influence on the game increased as Jack O’Connor’s men took complete control of the game to lead by 0-9 to 0-4.
It was looking increasingly bleak for the sizeable travelling Monaghan support, but their spirits were significantly raised when they were awarded a penalty before the break. Conor McManus stood up and saw his strike saved well by the Kerry goalkeeper, Brendan Keally, but the Monaghan corner forward reacted quickest and fired the rebound to the back of the net. The goal completely changed the outlook of the game and Kerry led by just 0-9 to 1-4 despite dominating the first half. The Kingdom started the second half well and Darran O’Sullivan opened the scoring, before Tomás Ó Sé, making his seasonal debut at centre-back, crept up from defence and slotted the ball over the bar from 40 yards out. Kerry added the goal their dominance deserved when BJ Keane sent a high, diagonal point into Kieran Donaghy on the edge of the square and the Kerins O’Rahillys man found team captain Sheehan, who hit the back of the net. Monaghan were dealt another hammer blow minutes later after Rory Wood, who scored two points after replacing Tommy Freeman in the first half, was dismissed on second yellow card. Kerry were in control in the closing stages, but a late, late Monaghan point guaranteed they will play Division 1 football next year.
Tralee: Kerry v Monaghan, 2.30pm
The relegation permutations at the foot of the Division 1 table are endless, but the winner of this game is guaranteed to maintain their top flight status next year. This time last year, the Kingdom were on the way to winning the Allianz GAA National League title, while the Farney men were denied by Cork in the Division 2 decider. Twelve months is a long time in football!
Monaghan, however, were always expected to struggle in the top tier and have surprised many observers with some of the superb performances they have put in after losing in the first two rounds. They turned their season around with a win over Tyrone in Round 3 and gave themselves every chance of survival with a victory at home to Derry. However, there is no escaping the fact that Monaghan have been beaten heavily on the road three times this year and Tralee is not the place you would choose to go desperately searching for two points to avoid the drop.
Dublin, however, can do them a favour if they beat Tyrone, which would guarantee their survival no matter the outcome in Tralee. Farney manager Seamus McEnaney will be keen to ensure that their fate remains in their own hands, but it is a big ask to topple the reigning champions in their own back yard.
Monaghan’s two wins to date in the league have come against Ulster opposition and they have lost three times to the Kingdom during McEnaney’s reign. However, they have always competed well against Kerry and only lost to them by a point in the 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final, before a goal separated the sides a year later in the Qualifiers.
Monaghan hope to have captain Vincent Corey back, having featured as a half-time sub in the defeat to Mayo, while JP Mone and Rory Woods are both continuing to return to full fitness. Damien Freeman is also available having missed a chunk of the campaign to concentrate on looking for employment. Owen Lennon, Gary McQuaid and Mark Downey are all ruled out because of injury.
Kerry, the reigning champions, should, in reality, be safe from the drop by now, but a lapse in concentration in injury time against Tyrone saw Colm Cavanagh steal in for a winning goal that has thrown them into a relegation dogfight.
Jack O’Connor’s side should be refreshed and ready for a real battle after spending a week at a training camp in Portugal, where, according to reports, Paul Galvin was deployed at centre-back in intra-squad practise games. Galvin is available after serving an eight-week ban and could slot back into the number six jersey in place of Aidan O’Mahony (suspended) with Mike McCarthy unlikely to return to the fold this year.
O’Connor is expected to have Tomás Ó Sé available after the wing-back experienced a scare with a calf muscle injury, although David Moran is ruled out after breaking a thumb in a training match in Portugal.
However, O’Connor still has an embarrassment of attacking riches available to him, with Colm Cooper, Declan O’Sullivan and Kieran Donaghy all capable of doing serious damage to the Monaghan defence. The odds are stacked against Monaghan, given their poor record on the road and their head-to-head record against Kerry, so the Kingdom will be expected to emerge safely from the drop zone, although the Farney men could join them if Dublin oblige by beating Tyrone.