Kerry make capital as Dubs implode

Kerry 1-15 Dublin 1-8

Produced by the combined excellence of Colm Cooper and Dara Ó Cinnéide, its execution highlighted the essential difference between these great rivals in a very disappointing contest.

In varying circumstances, the home side were denied four possible goals in the first half and from the unsatisfactory situation of being on level terms at the break, their play rapidly deteriorated. First, Alan Brogan was unfortunate not to goal within eight minutes of the resumption and shortly afterwards came the goal from Ó Cinnéide.

The pain of defeat showed on the face of manger Tommy Lyons as he made his way to the Kerry dressingroom to offer congratulations. Co-selector Paul Caffrey didn't offer any excuses. "Big games turn on goal chances," he commented. "We missed a lot of them before Kerry got their goal. The game was dead from there."

For his part, Kerry manager Jack O'Connor admitted to being concerned that his team didn't win enough possession in the 'middle third of the field' in the fist half. But they did in the second half.

In the context of the way the game opened up for Kerry after the break and how a number of individuals - Colm Cooper notably - were more involved, it was noteworthy that their early forward play was poor. Declan O'Sullivan, returning after injury, offered more attacking options, except that his play lacked real sharpness. The half-forwards struggled and the inside players suffered from a lack of decent possession against an in-form Dublin full-back trio.

It was a different story with the Kerry defence which, by and large, acquitted itself very capably over the 70 minutes. And, appropriately because of the fact that he was one of the first to make an impact - and play superbly throughout - Marc Ó Sé was RTE's man-of-the-match.

Indicative of the weakness in their attack, Kerry went 22 minutes without a score after gaining the two opening points inside three minutes.

Sherlock was narrowly off target in the 10th minute and shortly afterwards Diarmuid Murphy made a vital save from Brogan. Dublin were denied what seemed a definite penalty for Sherlock late in the half before team captain Ciarán Whelan (well policed by Eamonn Fitzmaurice) hit the crossbar. While Kerry did show signs of improvement approaching the break, they were flattered to finish the half level, 0-5 each.

Re-starting in more positive mood and going two points clear after four minutes, they gained an advantage on the scoreboard. Yet, they were lucky in the 43rd minute, when Brogan (well marked all through by a tenacious Tom O'Sullivan) side-footed a shot outside the post. It proved to be the defining moment for Dublin. In another three minutes Ó Cinnéide got his goal and it altered the course of the game irredeemably.

"I am usually out the field a bit, I just happened to be in there. In that split second the ball bounced into my hands and I had to put it on my left leg because Cluxton was out and he would have blocked it on the right" he commented.

Cooper really blossomed in the second half, explaining that playing into a slight wind meant that the ball was holding that bit more. The backs increased their grip, with Michael McCarthy totally dominant and there was a steady improvement at half-forward, resulting in Brosnan winning ball for the first time and being much more effective. Paul Galvin got through a terrific amount of work and while scoring isn't his forte, he put over a very good point near the end.

Kerry were nine points ahead before Sherlock's persistence earned him a goal in the last minute, to make the scoreboard a bit more respectable. But, it was depressing for the management and worrying for the GAA hierarchy which recognises the need for Dublin to be successful more often.

Scorers: Kerry: D. Ó Cinnéide 1-5 (0-3 frees); C. Cooper 0-5 (0-2 frees); W. Kirby 0-2; D. O'Sullivan, P. Galvin and L. Hassett 0-1 each. Dublin: S. Connell 0-4 frees; J. Sherlock 1-0; D. Homan 0-2; C. Keaney (free) and A. Brogan 0-1 each.

KERRY: D. Murphy; M. Ó Sé, M. McCarthy, T. O'Sullivan; A. O'Mahony, E. Fitzmaurice, T. Ó Sé; D. Ó Sé, P. Kelly; E. Brosnan, D. O'Sullivan, P. Galvin; C. Cooper, D. Ó Cinnéide (capt.), M.F. Russell. Subs: L. Hassett for Russell (47th minute); W. Kirby for Kelly (51st); J. Crowley for O'Sullivan (63rd); J. Sheehan for T. O Se (68th); S. O'Sullivan for O'Mahony (72nd).

DUBLIN: S. Cluxton; B. Cahill, P. Christie, P. Griffin; S. Ryan, B. Cullen, P. Casey; D. Homan, D. Magee; C. Keaney, C. Whelan (capt.), S. Connell; A. Brogan, I. Robertson, J. Sherlock. Subs: T. Quinn for Keaney (53rd); R. Cosgrove for Robertson (57th); J. Magee for Whelan (injured, 60th); D. O'Mahony for Homan (63rd).

Referee: P. McEnaney (Monaghan).

*Attendance: 69,012.

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