NHL DIVISION TWO FINAL:
Dublin 0-17 Kerry 1-06, Semple Stadium
Dublin’s hurlers have won promotion back to Division One of the National League - despite a lacklustre display in today's Division Two final against Kerry.
Tommy Naughton's Dubs ran out convincing 0-17 to 1-06 winners in Thurles, but they amassed 17 wides in the process and evidently have a lot of work to do before their Leinster championship quarter final against Offaly on May 21.
The Dubs can count themselves lucky that Kerry, the Division 2B table-toppers, had an off day with their talisman Shane Brick claiming just 0-03.
Relegated from the top flight last season, Dublin were hot favourites to gain promotion this afternoon. The Metropolitans made the better start at Semple Stadium, racing into a 0-03 to no-score lead.
Kevin Flynn, Keith Dunne and Stephen McDonnell were all on target in the opening quarter hour. A goal chance was missed on 11 minutes when David Curtin’s point attempt came back off the post and Kerry keeper PJ O’Gorman did well to bat away Alan McCrabbe’s scrambled shot.
At the other end, Kerry were struggling and without John Egan’s opportunist goal in the 16th-minute, they would have taken in half time with only three points to their name.
Corner forward Egan managed to level matters when his low shot hit the Dublin net after a Brick sideline cut had troubled Gary Maguire. Midfielder Aidan Boyle tagged on a point as Kerry went 1-01 to 0-03 in front, but the Dubs outscored Jerry Molyneaux’s men by 0-08 to 0-02 – a Brick free and point from play – for the remainder of the half.
Flynn added three points from play to his tally, and was unfortunate to find O’Gorman in excellent form again on 31 minutes when the Kerry stopper brilliantly blocked a Flynn rasper over the bar.
Curtin scored three first half frees for Naughton’s side, who also had last year’s minor captain John McCaffrey and Eoin Moran on target before the half was out.
With the rain beginning to spit down and Dublin undoubtedly the better side, the second half took on a target-practice feel. It was a slow burner though as by the 50th-minute, the Dubs had only turned their 0-11 to 1-03 half time advantage into a 0-14 to 1-05 lead.
Scores were certainly at a premium – McCaffrey sent over another beauty from midfield to open the second half, Brick replied, Curtin and Kerry substitute Ivan McCarthy then exchanged points before impressive Dublin sub Liam Ryan hit three on the bounce to move his side 0-16 to 1-05 clear.
Another sub Aidan Cronin notched Kerry’s final point in the 57th-minute and three subsequent wides off the hurls of McDonnell (2) and Curtin did little to raise the standard in the closing ten minutes. Curtin did add a 68th-minute free, pushing his tally to 0-05 and bringing to an end Dublin’s seventh straight win of the League campaign.
DUBLIN: G Maguire; P Brennan (capt), K Ryan, T Brady; T Moore, R Fallon, M Carton; D Sweeney, J McCaffrey; E Moran, S McDonnell, D Curtin; K Dunne, K Flynn, A McCrabbe.
Subs used: L Ryan for Moran (41 mins), S Lehane for McCrabbe (44), G O’Meara for Sweeney (65), T McGrane for Curtin (68)
KERRY: PJ O’Gorman; J Fitzgerald, M Lucid, M Quilter; K O’Sullivan, A Keane, C Harris; A Boyle, J Griffin; S Brick, M Conway (capt), D Young; J Egan, JM Dooley, M Slattery.
Subs used: I McCarthy for Young (16 mins), B Flaherty for Griffin (20-24, blood sub), K Hannifin for Egan, A Cronin for Griffin (both 52), D Dineen for Slattery (57), P McCarthy for O’Sullivan (63)
Yellow cards: K Dunne (Dublin) (63 mins), P Brennan (Dublin) (69); A Cronin (Kerry) (65); HT: Dublin 0-11 Kerry 1-03.
Referee: Brian White (Tipperary)
Dublin: D Curtin 0-05 (4f), K Flynn 0-04, L Ryan 0-03, J McCaffrey 0-02, K Dunne, S McDonnell, E Moran 0-01 each
Kerry: J Egan 1-00, S Brick 0-03 (1f), A Boyle, I McCarthy, A Cronin 0-01 each