Galway squander half-time lead as Kerry up gears

Galway 1-9 Kerry 2-16

Galway 1-9 Kerry 2-16

A knee injury to Michael Meehan proved costly for Galway as All-Ireland champions Kerry collected their second successive league win in Salthill.

The talismanic Meehan scored 1-4 before being forced off with an injury he sustained when scoring Galway's 19th-minute goal.

1-5 to 0-6 behind at half-time, Kerry took control for the remainder with captain for the day, Declan O'Sullivan, cracking home a brilliant goal.

Colm Cooper took his tally to 1-6 after linking with Kieran O'Leary and Galway simply had no answer.

In a hard-fought first half - referee Michael Duffy showed seven yellow cards - Galway made much the better start as Meehan set up a point for Diarmuid Blake and the Caltra star fired over a '45'.

But the Galway backs struggled to keep tabs on Colm Cooper and company in the opening quarter, and the 'Gooch' converted three frees to push the defending league champions in front.

A good run from Marc O Se kickstarted a slick passing movement which ended with a David O'Callaghan score, and Meehan converted a free after he was fouled by Tom O'Sullivan, closing the gap to 0-4 to 0-3.

Meehan kicked two further points and then broke through for a goal, following the flight of a long ball in to nip in ahead of Kerry stopper Brendan Kealy and palm the ball to the net.

However, he injured himself in the act of scoring and had to be replaced. Losing their best attacker on the day was a serious setback for Joe Kernan's men and they never recovered from his loss.

Kerry reduced the arrears by kicking two points in the final twelve minutes of the opening half, with Declan O'Sullivan notching the first from the right wing.

Cooper scored his fourth point on the resumption and Kerry hit the front when David Moran combined with O'Sullivan who thundered through on goal on a 50-yard run and rippled the net with a cool finish past Eoin O Conghaile.

Cooper was showing good early season form in front of goal and he took his tally to 1-6 when his Dr. Croke's club-mate Kieran O'Leary provided the assist for his goal.

It was all Kerry in the second half, and they had added 2-4 to their total before Paul Conroy ended Galway's scoreless spell in the 53rd minute with a shot that just cleared the crossbar.

Conroy added two more points and Fiachra Breathnach also split the Kerry posts, but the Kingdom side were never troubled as midfielder Anthony Maher impressed as a substitute, kicking a single point, and Bryan Sheehan landed his third of the afternoon to bring the Kerry scoring to a close.

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