Late points from Eoghan O’Gara and Diarmuid Connolly landed Dublin their fourth consecutive championship win over Kerry and their place in an All-Ireland final against Mayo on September 18, writes John Fogarty.
Substitute O’Gara had put Dublin ahead in the third minute of additional time after Stephen O’Brien had cancelled out a Kevin McManamon point. Kerry were attacking when David Gough deemed a rattling challenge by McManamon on Peter Crowley to be legitimate much to the chagrin of the Kerry following. The ball was transferred to the other end where Connolly sealed the victory for the All-Ireland champions. Kerry may have reason to gripe about that as a Paul Murphy 45 claim that was ignored earlier in the second half.
In an absorbing contest, Kerry had led by five points at half-time but that was cancelled out in the 49th minute only for them to fire back with three points in succession, Barry John Keane, Paul Geaney and James O’Donoghue. Kerry still led by three going into the 63rd minute but scores from Philly McMahon and a brace of frees from Rock tied up the game before McManamon had threatened to kill off Kerry once again.
The first half couldn’t have been more polarised. For 25 minutes, Dublin looked the superior side, feasting on Brian Kelly’s kick-outs. At least four of their nine points came from Kerry restarts and Brian Kelly had to be at his best to deny Philly McMahon a goal in the sixth minute.
At the other end, Jonny Cooper was winning his battle with his namesake Colm and it wasn’t until the 14th minute that Kerry opened their account when David Moran shot over from an acute angle.
Kerry were within two points when Stephen Cluxton was blown up for restarting too short in the 19th minute but Dublin drove on with four of the next five scores, three of them the consequence of Dublin winning Kerry kick-outs.
Connolly’s 24th minute point, though, was Dublin’s last of the half as Kerry shot an unanswered 2-4 in the final 13 minutes of the half. Kerry’s full court press on Cluxton’s kick-out on the half hour mark worked wonders when Geaney seized the goalkeeper’s stroke to John Small. Geaney then found Donnchadh Walsh whose subtle touch in Darran O’Sullivan’s path was all he required before finishing.
A second goal came two minutes into additional time when Geaney’s touch on an Anthony Maher point attempt that went short was enough to beat Cluxton who couldn’t manage to stop it passing the goal-line. Cooper then added a free for an off-the-ball foul by Small on himself and Kerry were 2-8 to 0-9 to the half-time good.
Scorers for Dublin: D. Rock (0-12, 8 frees, 2 45s); D. Connolly (0-3); B. Brogan, K. McManamon (0-2 each); B. Fenton, P. McMahon, E. O’Gara (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kerry: P. Geaney (1-4); C. Cooper (0-5, 4 frees); D. O’Sullivan (1-0); D. Moran, B.J. Keane, J. O’Donoghue, P. Murphy, S. O’Brien (0-1 each).
DUBLIN: S. Cluxton; D. Byrne, P. McMahon, J. Cooper; J. McCarthy, C. O’Sullivan, J. Small; B. Fenton, M.D. Macauley; P. Flynn, D. Connolly, C. Kilkenny; D. Rock, B. Brogan, K. McManamon.
Subs for Dublin: P. Andrews for P. Flynn (inj 46); P. Mannion for J. Small (50); E. O’Gara for M.D. Macauley (60); M. Fitzsimons for J. Cooper (67); C. Costello for B. Brogan (70); C. Costello (black 70+5 not replaced).
KERRY: B. Kelly; K. Young, S. Enright, M. Griffin; A. O’Mahony, P. Murphy, P. Crowley, T. Morley; A. Maher, D. Moran; D. Walsh, D. O’Sullivan; C. Cooper, K. Donaghy, P. Geaney.
Subs for Kerry: S. O’Brien for D. O’Sullivan (inj 39); J. O’Donoghue for K. Donaghy (50); B.J. Keane for D. Walsh (52); B Ó Beaglaoich for T. Morley (56); B. Sheehan for A. Maher (59); M Ó Sé for P. Geaney (67).
Referee: D. Gough (Meath).