If anything this scoreline was kind to the Kingdom

Kerry 0-4 Dublin 1-11
The records keep on tumbling for Kerry but depressingly so.

While last week’s defeat to Mayo had us scrambling for the history books for the last time Kerry didn’t score in a half of competitive football, yesterday’s statistics were more forthcoming. We were forewarned and forearmed.

Not since a league semi-final against Cork in April 1989 had Kerry last recorded just four points in a game when they lost by six points.

Yesterday’s reverse in front of a 5,400 crowd in Fitzgerald Stadium was four points worse than that defeat all of 24 years ago and it also marked Dublin’s largest win over Kerry since their 0-18 to 1-3 league win in March 1998.

Not to forget either that Patrick Curtin’s 22nd minute point, Kerry’s opening success in the game, was also the team’s first score in 65 minutes of league football.

Was it worse than Castlebar? Perhaps a slight improvement but the stark fact is yesterday’s 10-point margin was probably as good as it could have got for the home team.

But for Dublin’s 10 wides and Brendan Kealy denying Paddy Andrews in both halves when Bernard Brogan was better positioned, the scoreline could have been embarrassing for Kerry.

Brogan was in mean form for Dublin and had six of his seven points, four coming from play, clocked up by half-time when Kerry had the benefit of the wind.

Kerry trailed 0-2 to 0-8 at the break and were relieved to see Dublin shoot six wides in the second half.

The sum of Kerry’s efforts in the second half amounted to two frees, one a dubious one awarded to Tomás Ó Sé when he was swarmed by the Dublin defence. Ó Sé was one of his team’s best players on another afternoon to forget, especially for wing-forwards Michael Geaney and Michael O’Donoghue who disappointed with their passing.

Kerry’s display was perhaps best summed up by Paddy Curtin in the 24th minute when he appeared to give up on a ball heading for the end-line. The crowd certainly felt he could have done better to retrieve it.

Dublin, like Mayo, weren’t spectacular but their best on the day was more than enough to see off this struggling Kerry outfit, who at least saw Declan O’Sullivan and Kieran Donaghy brought into the fray as second half substitutes. Donaghy was yellow-carded for his involvement in a 58th-minute incident, which saw Michael Darragh Macauley dismissed after referee David Coldrick consulted with his umpires.

Jim Gavin made no excuses for Macauley, who is his second midfielder to pick up a straight red card in three games following Denis Bastick’s sending off in the O’Byrne Cup final.

However, he did point out his player was cut on his face. “He has got a facial wound, shall we say. He reacted, which isn’t the right thing to do, I don’t accept it but he reacted so the two guys obviously were striking.

“I didn’t see it myself because that dugout is quite low. If he says he struck, he deserves to go off.”

Macauley’s sending off and Diarmuid Connolly’s first-half ankle injury were the two setbacks on an otherwise good day for Dublin, who are now top of the league along with Tyrone and Kildare.

Gavin said of Connolly: “He’s on crutches. He’s icing it. He will probably get a scan in the next 24 hours. He’ll wait until the swelling goes down to see what damage is done but he’s in good spirits.”

The Dublin manager admitted they could have inflicted a much more emphatic defeat on Kerry.

“We have a lot of work to do on the training field on their shooting. The quality was questionable at times but I suppose from a coaching perspective at least we created those opportunities. But the Kerry defence played quite well, they were tight on their guys, every time there was a shot going off there was pressure being put on so you have to give them credit as well.”

Fitzmaurice now has three weeks to regroup and, after six weekends out on the trot, convalesce. He might lose some of his players to Munster when they face Ulster in next Sunday’s M Donnelly Interprovincial semi-final but at least he can batten down the hatches.

There is a broad understanding in Kerry that he has been working with slim pickings since the start of the year but it has a limit.

Scorers for Kerry: P Curtin, T Ó Sé, J O’Donoghue (f), M O’Donoghue (f) 0-1 each.

Subs for Kerry: Declan O’Sullivan for Walsh, K Donaghy for Keane (both 42); B Sheehan for Geaney, BJ Walsh for M O’Donoghue (both 54); C Cox for Curtin (68).

Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan 0-7 (3f); P Andrews 0-3; C Dias 1-0; P Ryan 0-1 (f).

Subs for Dublin: P Ryan for Connolly (inj 28); C Dias for Reddin (h-t); D Nelson for Daly (48); D O’Mahony for Ryan (63).

Red card: MD Macauley (58, straight)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

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