All too easy as classy Kerry tune-up for Westmeath clash

THE crowd of 3,000 at Fitzgerald Stadium for yesterday's fourth round Allianz National Football League tie would at least have expected it to be reasonably competitive.

Kerry 2-18 Fermanagh 0-6

What they witnessed in near summer conditions was a stroll in the park for Kerry, which did them no favours as a preparation for next Sunday's game in Mullingar against Páidí Ó Sé's Westmeath.

! Fermanagh manager Charlie Mulgrew, brought in to take over a squad which twice suffered sucker punches at the hands of Tyrone last season and then saw former manager Dominick Corrigan jump ship at the eleventh hour, was at a loss to explain their poor form. Pointing out that they hadn't been missing any players, he commented: "that's us! We are very disappointed with the performance. It's a terrible setback."

Kerry were vastly superior on a day when they did everything right. Jack O'Connor said it was disappointing from Kerry's point of view as much as it had been for Fermanagh. "It was a bit lackadaisacal. It lacked the intensity of the other three games. But we were happy to put up a big score because scoring average could count at the end of the day."

Kerry had five points on the board before Fermanagh got their first score. That came in the 16th minute from a close-in free taken by their most accomplished performer, Stephen Maguire, who ended up with four points. Interestingly, this amounted to the Fermanagh total in the last meeting of the counties in the 2002 qualifier competition, when Kerry ran up 2-15. Maguire was the only forward who looked strong enough to retain possession and good enough to try for scores regularly, except that his kicking left him down at times.

Declan Quill, who ended up scoring 1-5, had been making an impact from the opening minutes, along with an in-form Mike Frank Russell, whose form has certainly been boosted by his gutsy display in Parnell Park. Kerry controlled the game, being especially confident in the full-back line, where Michael McCarthy did well to limit Maguire.

Donal Daly's form was much improved from the Dublin game, and Tommy Griffin was again very effective at left half-back. As if home supporters needed to be convinced, the freedom being enjoyed by Seamus Moynihan in the half-back line enabled him to make a big contribution. Likewise, Declan O'Sullivan was strongly influential in the half-forward line.

By half-time, Kerry were eleven points clear, 0-13 to 0-2 and the second half was just two minutes in motion when Quill got the first of their goals. It came from a Declan O'Sullivan cross, which corner-back Niall Bogue allowed to hop over his head. Minutes later, goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher did well to save from O'Sulivan. Fermanagh themselves might have had a goal in the 44th minute, when Aidan O'Mahony made a timely block on Mark Little.

The home crowd, basking in the sunshine on the hospital side of the ground, warmly applauded the return of Colm Cooper after injury and Moynihan, too, when he was replaced by Kilcummin's Ronan O'Connor. But the sub who made the biggest impact was John Crowley when he had the ball in the net (courtesy of Russell's pass), a mere 15 seconds after coming on the field.

*Michael Curley had a simple job of refereeing and carried it out very competently.

Scorers: Kerry: D. Quill 1-5 (0-3 frees); J. Crowley 1-0; R. O'Connor 0-3; D. O'Sullivan, M.F. Russell (frees), E. Brosnan and L. Hassett 0-2 each; D. Daly and P. Galvin 0-1 each. Fermanagh: S. Maguire 0-4 (0-3 frees); J. Sherry and L. McBarron 0-1 each.

KERRY: D. Murphy; B. Guiney, M. McCarthy, A. O'Mahony; S. Moynihan, E. Fitzmaurice, T. Griffin; W. Kirby, D. Daly; P. Galvin, D. O'Sullivan, E. Brosnan; D. Quill, R. O'Connor (St Michael's), MF Russell. Subs: R. O'Connor (Kilcummin) for Moynihan and L. Hassett for Brosnan (43rd minute); J. Crowley for R. O'Connor (St Michael's) and C. Cooper for Quill (50th); S. O'Sullivan for Galvin (58th).

FERMANAGH: R. Gallagher; P. Sherry, H. Brady, N. Bogue; R. Johnston, D. Kelly, D. O'Reilly; S. McDermott, J. Sherry; M. McGrath, L. McBarron, K. Donnelly; R. Keenan, S. Maguire, M. Little. Subs: S. Goan for P. Sherry (17th minute); D. Campbell for Kelly (21st); E. Maguire for Donnelly (second half); C. O'Reilly for J. Sherry (30th); E. Sherry for Keenan (63rd).

Referee: M. Curley (Galway).

*A minute's silence was observed in memory of Tyrone captain Cormac McAnallen, who died last week.

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courtsgaaplace: westmeathplace: fitzgerald stadiumplace: mullingarplace: ó séplace: fermanaghplace: parnell parkplace: galwayperson: kerryperson: charlie mulgrewperson: dominick corriganperson: jack o'connorperson: stephen maguireperson: maguireperson: declan quillperson: mike frank russellperson: michael mccarthyperson: donal dalyperson: tommy griffinperson: seamus moynihanperson: declan o'sullivanperson: quillperson: niall bogueperson: ronan gallagherperson: o'sulivanperson: aidan o'mahonyperson: mark littleperson: colm cooperperson: moynihanperson: kilcumminperson: ronan o'connorperson: john crowleyperson: russellperson: michael curleyperson: d. quillperson: j. crowleyperson: r. o'connorperson: d. o'sullivanperson: m.f. russellperson: e. brosnanperson: l. hassettperson: d. dalyperson: p. galvinperson: s. maguireperson: j. sherryperson: l. mcbarronperson: d. murphyperson: b. guineyperson: m. mccarthyperson: a. o'mahonyperson: s. moynihanperson: e. fitzmauriceperson: t. griffinperson: w. kirbyperson: brosnanperson: c. cooperperson: s. o'sullivanperson: galvinperson: r. gallagherperson: p. sherryperson: h. bradyperson: n. bogueperson: r. johnstonperson: d. kellyperson: d. o'reillyperson: s. mcdermottperson: m. mcgrathperson: k. donnellyperson: r. keenanperson: littleperson: s. goanperson: d. campbellperson: kellyperson: e. maguireperson: donnellyperson: c. o'reillyperson: e. sherryperson: keenanperson: m. curleyperson: cormac mcanallenevent: allianz national football leagueorganisation: kerryorganisation: páidíorganisation: tyroneorganisation: fermanaghorganisation: st michael

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