First-half blitz sees Kerry advance past Roscommon into Division 1 final

First-half blitz sees Kerry advance past Roscommon into Division 1 final

Kerry 3-15 Roscommon 0-14

Kerry qualified for their first AFL Division 1 final in seven years after tearing Roscommon apart in the first half of a lacklustre semi-final, writes John Fogarty.

Admittedly, they were aided by a strong wind in the opening period, which they finished 3-8 to 0-5 ahead of their opponents who beat them in February’s round two game in Killarney.

But Colm Cooper and Darran O’Sullivan were in merciless form as they helped end the game as a contest before the teams changed ends.

Spectators in Croke Park were forced to witness an excruciatingly processional second half as Kerry were happy to sit back and restrict Roscommon largely to frees.

Having lost the toss, Roscommon were going to be up against it in the first half and so it panned out as they found themselves 1-6 to 0-2 down after 16 minutes, Kerry’s opening goal in the 13th minute coming courtesy of Cooper after a piercing run and sublime hand-pass by Stephen O’Brien.

Kerry were again celebrating a goal in the 29th minute when Cooper found Donnchadh Walsh isolated at the edge of the square with his marker. Walsh took nine steps before dispatching the ball to the net but referee Padraig Hughes deemed the score good.

O’Sullivan added a goal to his earlier brace of points in injury-time when he took full advantage of Sean McDermott’s failure to gather a high ball. O’Sullivan made a bee-line for the goal and despite being brought down by goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey, who was spared a black card, was able to compose himself to score.

Scorers for Kerry: C Cooper (1-5, 0-5 frees); D O’Sullivan (1-4); D Walsh (1-0); P Murphy (0-2); M Ó Sé, J Buckley, BJ Keane, B O’Sullivan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Roscommon: C Murtagh, D Murtagh (0-4, 3 frees each); N Collins (0-2); G Claffey (45), D Shine (45), C Devaney, S McDermott (0-1 each).

KERRY: B Kelly; M Ó Sé, M Griffin, S Enright; A O’Mahony, P Crowley, F Fitzgerald; K Donaghy, D Moran; D Walsh, P Murphy, J Buckley; D O’Sullivan, C Cooper, S O’Brien.

Subs for Kerry: B Sheehan for J Buckley (inj 19); K Young for F Fitzgerald (47); A Fitzgerald for S O’Brien (48); BJ Keane for D Walsh (54); B O’Sullivan for D Moran (57); P O’Connor for P Crowley (63).

ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; S McDermott, N Collins, N McInerney; S, Mullooly, S Purcell, D Murray; N Daly, C Shine; F Cregg, C Murtagh, C Devaney; D Murtagh, S Kilbride, C Cregg.

Subs for Roscommon: R Stack for S Purcell, D Shine for C Shine (both h-t); D Keenan for S Mullolly (47); R Daly for C Devaney, N Kilroy for C Cregg (both 56); J McDermott for N Daly (66).

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)

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