The Glenbeigh-Glencar man posted six points and his side were grateful to his input, particularly in the second half as they staved off the challenge of a determined Dingle side.
The west Kerry club held the momentum early in the second half with a 0-8 to 0-6 lead and nearly grabbed a goal when David Geaney broke clear but Mike Moriarty was alert to the danger and smothered his shot.
Mid Kerry, who had struggled in the opening half, then began to gain a grip in crucial areas with Fergal Griffin and Ciaran Kelliher anchoring their defence while Mike Burke got through an amount of work at midfield. Springing Sean O’Sullivan from the bench was a shrewd move yet it was Darran O’Sullivan who was the real star.
He kicked three points between the 44th and 51st minutes, as he showed outstanding accuracy from play and frees. Sean O’Sullivan chipped over another and Mid Kerry were 0-10 to 0-8 to the good. They packed their defence with bodies in the closing stages to suffocate Dingle’s attackers and raided downfield for late points by O’Sullivan and substitute Jerome Flynn to clinch victory.
Dingle, semi-finalists in this championship last season, were left to rue the fact that a Geaney free in the 38th minute was their final score of the game. David’s cousin Paul was unable to start due to injury and did not enter the fray until midway through the second half. His return to full fitness will boost Dingle’s options later on this season, while Tommy Griffin was another notable absentee through injury.
Dingle led 0-6 to 0-5 at the break with David Geaney shooting five of those scores. Their ability to win breaks around the middle was integral to their dominance of the first half and a great point by Mikey Geaney in the 29th minute left them 0-6 to 0-3 ahead.
But Mid Kerry grabbed two crucial points before the break courtesy of Gary Sayers and O’Sullivan.
That was a vital burst and inspired by their county star, they took over in the second half.
Scorers for Mid Kerry: D O’Sullivan 0-6 (3f); G O’Grady 0-3 (2f); G Sayers, S O’Sullivan, J Flynn 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dingle: D Geaney 0-7 (6f), M Geaney 0-1.
MID KERRY: M Moriarty (Beaufort); A Cahillane (Keel), F Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar), G Hartnett (Beaufort); P Kilkenny (Glenbeigh/Glencar), C Kelliher (Milltown/Castlemaine), B Murphy (Glenbeigh/Glencar); M Burke (Milltown/Castlemaine), C McGillicuddy (Glenbeigh/Glencar); L Sheehan (Keel), D O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar), D Walsh (Cromane); G O’Grady (Glenbeigh/Glencar), B Delaney (Milltown/Castlemaine), G Sayers (Keel).
Subs: S O’Sullivan (Cromane) for Sheehan (39), J Flynn (Milltown/Castlemaine) for O’Grady (52), T Ladden (Keel) for Delaney (56).
DINGLE: D Murphy; E Murphy, T Brosnan, G Curran; P Devane, B Kelleher, P Quaid; L Óg Higgins, B O’Connor; M Guiteen, M Geaney, A O’Neill; P Murphy, J Sheehy, D Geaney.
Subs: P Geaney for Murphy (46), S O’Dowd for Higgins (55).
Referee: Paul O’Sullivan (Drom’ Pearses).