Brilliant Sean O'Shea stars as Kerry see off Cavan

Picture: Sportsfile

Kerry 0-16 - 0-13 Cavan

Former minor star Sean O'Shea answered Kerry's call with a brilliant 0-12 at Kingspan Breffni to secure back to back Allianz NFL Division 1 wins.

Peter Keane's side were in a difficult spot at half-time, trailing by four points away from home, but dominated the second-half to maintain their 100 per cent record.

The 2014 All-Ireland champions upped the ante considerably in the second-half and outscored Cavan by 0-9 to 0-2.

But they were made to fight all the way and only took the lead for the first time in the 68th minute as Cavan fought to avoid back to back defeats.

Two-time All-Ireland minor medallist O'Shea was terrific from placed balls, converting 10 of them, while he also scored two points from play.

David Moran came on late in the second-half and won a free that O'Shea converted while Paul Geaney and Mark Griffin struck important points, teeing the Munster champions up nicely for the Round 3 visit of Dublin.

Kerry might have suspected that having taken care of Tyrone last weekend, this would be a simpler assignment against a side just promoted from Division 2.

Yet the 2017 league winners trailed for virtually all of the first-half and looked entirely out of ideas for long spells when going forward.

Picture: Sportsfile

The Kingdom took a surprisingly conservative approach initially and struggled for numbers in attack, resulting in just one point from play in the first-half.

The rest of their seven points in that period came from the boot of O'Shea whose kicking from placed balls was the one positive for Kerry.

Cavan were far more direct and incisive and mixed their play up superbly, consistently taking the right options from the edge of the scoring zone.

They either used the wind advantage to kick points from that area, from Ciaran Brady and Niall Murray, or took advantage of the accurate kick-passing of players like Cian Mackey to pick out players closer to goal.

Conor Madden got out ahead of his man to collect two balls in and was able to spin clear and kick both over the bar.

Cavan weren't flattered by their 0-11 to 0-7 half-time lead which, incidentally, was the exact scoreline at the end of Kerry's Round 1 win over Tyrone.

Kerry brought on towering Tommy Walsh for his first league action since 2016 and the former Aussie Rules player was immediately stationed at full-forward.

It suggested Kerry would attempt more long deliveries into the danger area though Walsh only went head to head with Faulkner once in the air and came off second best.

The quality dipped in the third quarter but back to back points from O'Shea in the 55th and 56th minutes somehow hauled Kerry back to just one down, 0-12 to 0-11.

Picture: Sportsfile

Cavan were the ones facing into the stiffening breeze now and struggled to create meaningful openings.

O'Shea's 10th point of the afternoon levelled it up at 0-12 apiece and a free flowing Kerry took the lead for the first time two minutes from time.

Griffin was the unlikely point scorer and further scores from O'Shea and Geaney in the closing minutes capped Kerry's rousing comeback.

Scores for Kerry: S O'Shea (0-12, 9 frees, 1 45), P Geaney 0-2, S O'Brien 0-1, M Griffin 0-1.

Scores for Cavan: C Madden (0-4, 1 mark), C Brady (0-2), M Reilly (0-2, 2 frees), R Galligan (0-1, 1 free), N Murray (0-1), D McVeety (0-1), C Rehill (0-1), J Brady (0-1, 1 mark)

Kerry: S Ryan; P Crowley, J Sherwood, B O Beaglaoich; T Morley, P Murphy, T O'Sullivan; J Barry, A Spillane; D O'Connor, S O'Shea, J Lyne; K Spillane, P Geaney, S O'Brien.

Subs: Dara Moynihan for K Spillane (35+2), T Walsh for Lyne (h/t), G O'Brien for A Spillane (46), M Griffin for O'Connor (64), M Geaney for Crowley (67-69), D Moran for O'Brien (69).

Cavan: R Galligan; P Faulkner, K Clarke, J McLoughlin; C Rehill, C Brady, N Murray; T Galligan, P Graham; M Reilly, P Smith, D McVeety; C Mackey, J Brady, C Madden.

Subs: L Fortune for McVeety (40), S Smith for J Brady (51), S Murray for C Brady (61), M Argue for Graham (67), K Tierney for Mackey (72).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford.

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