Kerry book final berth while condemning Roscommon to the drop

Kerry book final berth while condemning Roscommon to the drop
Tempers flare between the two sides. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Roscommon 0-13 - 2-17 Kerry

Kerry have franked a hugely encouraging league campaign by claiming a berth in this season's Division One decider - against Mayo - thanks to a comfortable ten-point victory away to Roscommon on Sunday afternoon.

The defeat for the home side means that they will winter in the second tier next year and, in truth, they never looked like saving themselves against a Kerry side that put together some superb passages of play at the Hyde.

Tadgh O'Rourke of Roscommon in action against Dara Moynihan of Kerry during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 7 match between Roscommon and Kerry at Dr. Hyde Park in Roscommon. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Tadgh O'Rourke of Roscommon in action against Dara Moynihan of Kerry during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 7 match between Roscommon and Kerry at Dr. Hyde Park in Roscommon. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The return to the starting line-up of David Clifford, last year's Young Footballer of the Year, was always going to create interest in this one, regardless of the result, but he was far from alone in putting Roscommon to the sword.

Clifford could have given Kerry the perfect start inside the first minute when he was played in by Diarmuid O'Connor but the returning forward's low strike at the net was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Colm Lavin.

Clifford would have another great goal chance midway through the half when his rising effort clipped the top of bar on its way over. An extra touch of match sharpness and you would imagine at least one of those would have raised a green flag.

Clifford was still excellent, almost every touch he made highlighting the man's genius, and he had the luxury of blending back in with a forward line replete with class and the Roscommon rearguard struggled throughout to maintain its footing.

Roscommon needed to keep the supply limited, especially in a first-half in which they played with a strong wind at their backs, but the home side never quite managed it and depended in the main on dead balls to keep themselves ticking over.

Still, five of six points midway thrugh the first-half left them three to the good before Kerry hit a purple patch that delivered 1-4 without reply – including a brilliantly-worked Sean O'Shea goal on 29 minutes – that effectively took the game away from their opponents.

A three-point interval lead – against that wind – was always going to be a comfortable buffer for a Kerry side that was so dangerous going forward and they killed the contest stone dead in the next ten minutes with a blitz of 1-3 that was topped by a Stephen O'Brien goal that was the culmination of a wonderful team move.

All in all, about as straightforward an away game as you will see in Division One.

Scorers for Roscommon: C Cox (0-4 frees); D Smith (0-2 frees); D Murtagh (0-2, 1 free); R Daly (0-2); S Killoran, N Kilroy, C Cregg,

Scorers for Kerry: S O'Shea (1-5, 0-4 frees); D Clifford (0-5, 0-3 frees); S O'Brien (1-2); D Moynihan (0-2); T O'Sullivan, J O'Donoghue and D 'O'Connor (all 0-1).

Roscommon: C Lavin; D Murray, S Mullooly, C Daly; C Hussey, N Daly, R Daly; T O'Rourke, S Killoran; N Kilroy, C Cregg, U Harney; D Smith, C Cox, A Lyons. Subs: E Smith for Lyons (HT); D Murtagh for D Smith (45); C Devaney for Kilroy (48); H Darcy for Cregg (57); G [Patterson for N Daly (67);

Kerry: S Ryan; J Sherwood, P Crowley, G O'Sullivan; G Crowley, P Murphy, T O'Sullivan; J Barry, D O'Connor; D Moynihan, S O'Shea, S O'Brien; D Clifford, T Walsh, K McCarthy. Subs: K Spillane for McCarthy (5); J O'Donoghue for Walsh (50); J Foley for Sherwood (52); M Griffin for (Crowley (57); C Geaney for Clifford (65);

Referee: J Devlin (Galway).

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