By John Fogarty
Dublin 2-14 Kerry 0-14
A tag team of Paddy Andrews and Dean Rock guided Dublin to a handsome fifth win in their last six league and championship meetings with Kerry.
Watched by a 30,107 crowd in Croke Park, the defending Division 1 and All-Ireland champions were clinical with their goal chances in the second half after being denied in the first half, which had finished 0-7 apiece.
For the second time in over four months, Kerry were made to pay for showing little of a goal threat.
Dublin eventually illustrated theirs: Paddy Andrews, who helped himself to 1-4, found the net first in the 42nd minute when a Diarmuid Connolly ball eluded Shane Enright and Andrews was free to strike at goal.
Connolly added a second from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after Brian Ó Beagloich, otherwise solid on his debut, footblocked James McCarthy.
John Small and Jack McCaffrey hit the woodwork late on but it wasn’t as if either misses were going to prove costly.
Rock added his fourth free and seventh point of the game as Shane Enright followed Donnchadh Walsh in being issued a black card.
Kerry were strongest in the second quarter but for so much of the first half it seemed they were hanging on Dublin’s coat-tails for dear life.
The Kerry goal went a-begging on several occasions particularly in the 20th minute when Andrews’ shot was snuffed out by Brendan Kealy and then six minutes later when it was David Moran who came to the rescue to deny Rock.
Kerry had their own goal chances – Walsh’s effort easily saved after 11 minutes as was Barry John Keane’s attempt in the 18th minute, which was teed up by a Tommy Walsh fetch.
Until Walsh, who had been prominent in midfield in the first quarter, moved to the edge of the square Kerry’s attack had no focal point.
A brace of Rock frees pushed Dublin into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 17 minutes, Kerry’s first score coming in the 11th minute via Stephen O’Brien.
But what followed was a 12 minute period without a Dublin score as they failed to avail of the goal opportunities.
Kerry availed of the respite and their deliberate attacking approach earned them two points in the space of three minutes.
Another three without answer towards the end of the half saw them draw level before Tomás Brady and Moran exchanged points.
Scorers for Dublin: P Andrews (1-4); D Rock (0-7, 4 frees); D Connolly (1-0, pen); P Mannion, T Brady, C Costello (0-1 each)
Scorers for Kerry: BJ Keane (0-4, frees); D O’Sullivan (0-3); D Moran (0-2, 1 free); S O’Brien, J Buckley, D Walsh, T Walsh, B O’Sullivan (0-1 each)
Subs for Dublin: J McCaffrey for Davey Byrne (41); E Ó Conghaile for D Bastick (49); C Costello for T Brady (53); C Reddin for C Kilkenny (57); D Daly for C O’Sullivan (61); C O’Callaghan for P Mannionn (67).
Subs for Kerry: P Kilkenny for M Griffin (41); J Lyne for Walsh (black, 46); B O’Sullivan for J Buckley, P O’Connor for F Fitzgerald (both 53); G O’Grady for BJ Keane (57); C Cox for T Walsh (65). Black card: S Enright (68, no replacement).
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, M Fitzsimons, David Byrne (Naomh Olaf); Davy Byrne (Ballymun Kickhams), C O’Sullivan, J Small; J McCarthy, D Bastick; T Brady, C Kilkenny, D Connolly; P Mannion, D Rock, P Andrews.
KERRY: B Kealy; S Enright, M Griffin, B Ó Beaglaoich; P Murphy, F Fitzgerald, K Young; D Moran, T Walsh; P O’Connor, J Buckley, D Walsh; S O’Brien, D O’Sullivan, BJ Keane.
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)