By John Fogarty
Down 0-6 Kerry 0-22
A composed performance from Kerry saw them pick up their first Division 1 points in Newry today, although the challenge presented by Down left a lot to be desired.
Darran O’Sullivan was excellent and Paul Murphy showed plenty of promise at centre-forward in a facile win, which was on the cards from as early as half-time when they lead 0-9 to 0-3.
Down goalkeeper Michael Cunningham’s line wasn’t breached although he had to make himself big to deny O’Sullivan a goal in the 50th minute and then Gerard McGovern cleared a Steven O’Brien follow-up shot off the line.
Kerry were 0-3 to 0-0 after 10 minutes as Down struggled to deal with Murphy’s movement and playmaking.
The home side did though draw level seven minutes later, two of their scores coming from frees, as they made Kerry pay for some indiscipline.
But Barry O’Hagan’s brilliant point, their only score from play in the first half, was Down’s last before the interval. Kerry pushed on, kicking over six points without reply.
O’Sullivan was a nuisance in the Down back-line, adding another brace and winning a free converted by Alan Fitzgerald.
Murphy had a goal chance in injury-time when Donnchadh Walsh squared a hand-pass across the parallelogram in his direction but he palmed the ball wide.
Scorers for Down: C Harrison (frees), B O’Hagan (0-2 each); C Maginn, R Mallon (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kerry: B Sheehan (0-6, 2 frees, 2 45s); D O’Sullivan (0-4); A Fitzgerald (2 frees), C Cooper (2 frees), BJ Keane (1 free) (0-3 each); B O’Sullivan (0-2); S O’Brien (0-1).
DOWN: M Cunningham; L Howard, G McGovern, D O’Hagan; D O’Hanlon, A Carr, C McGovern; P Turley, M McKay; M Poland, K McKernan, J Murphy; B O’Hagan, C Harrison, C Maginn.
Subs for Down: J Flynn for A Carr (27); R Mallon for J Murphy (inj 37); R Boyle for L Howard, M Magee for D O’Hagan (both 42); H Brown for P Turley (53); D O’Hare for B O’Hagan (57).
KERRY: B Kealy; M Ó Sé, M Griffin, S Enright; P O’Connor, A O’Mahony, F Fitzgerald; K Donaghy, B Sheehan; D Walsh, P Murphy, A Walsh; D O’Sullivan, A Fitzgerald, S O’Brien.
Subs for Kerry: C Cooper for A Walsh (42); P Crowley for P O’Connor (48); BJ Keane for A Fitzgerald (59); P Kilkenny for M Ó Sé (60); T Walsh for K Donaghy (63); B O’Sullivan for D Walsh (64).
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo)