Cooper and Donaghy lead charge for Kerry

Kerry 0-15 Derry 1-9

Kerry 0-15 Derry 1-9

Kerry claimed their first win in Allianz NFL Division 1 as they came from behind to beat Derry in Tralee this afternoon.

The Kingdom turned the screw midway through the second half, with the returning Colm Cooper and David Moran scoring two apiece during a six-point burst.

Eoin Bradley’s 15th-minute goal had spurred Derry into 1-6 to 0-6 half-time lead. His brother Paddy, back from injury, notched three points in the opening half.

But Kerry recovered well, with Cooper and man-of-the-match Kieran Donaghy, who scored three points from play, leading the charge.

Donaghy might have had a goal to add to his tally but Derry goalkeeper Barry Gillis made an excellent save to deny the towering full-forward.

In what was a repeat of last year's league final, Derry had a wind advantage in the opening 35 minutes and the returning Bradley brothers - Paddy fully fit after a heel injury and Eoin back from suspension - shot the visitors ahead.

Corner forward Paddy marked his return with a first minute free and full-forward Eoin added a long range effort in the eighth minute.

Two quick-fire points from Donaghy and David O'Callaghan got Kerry level, and they pushed into the lead thanks to scores from the lively Donaghy and defender Adrian O'Connell.

But that good work was undone on the quarter-hour mark when Eoin Bradley burst through to rifle a right-footed shot low past Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy for the game's only goal.

Cooper, making his first appearance since last September's All-Ireland final, levelled from a free but with the Bradley brothers causing plenty of problems for the Kerry rearguard, the Oak Leafers kept ahead for half-time.

Derry packed their defence and showed a clinical edge up front, with midfielder Fergal Doherty raiding forward to land a terrific point off the outside of his right boot.

Indeed, Doherty might have snatched an injury-time goal but Kealy produced a tremendous save to palm the Derryman's shot onto the crossbar.

However, Kerry, under pressure after opening league defeats by Dublin and Cork, upped it a gear in the early stages of the second half, with Marc O Se a welcome addition in defence.

Centre-forward David Moran used the cross wind to flight over a morale-boosting opening point as the second half began, and Cooper followed up with his third pointed free.

Two frees from Paddy Bradley kept the margin at three points, but then came Kerry's dominant spell as they took over in the engine room and finished chance after chance.

Cooper converted two more frees, Moran bagged a brace and Declan O'Sullivan and Donaghy also found the target as Jack O'Connor's men moved nonchalantly into a 0-14 to 1-8 advantage.

Things were suddenly going against Derry as they had what they thought was a point ruled out by an umpire and Eoin Bradley also picked up a yellow card for complaining to the referee for not awarding the visitors a free.

Aidy McLaughlin did add to Derry's total, firing over a late free, but Kerry had done enough to take the two league points on offer, with substitute Bryan Sheehan finishing off the scoring in the last minute of normal time.

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