By John Fogarty
Kerry 7-16 Kildare 0-10
Concerns that James O'Donoghue has done further damage to the right shoulder he had surgery on last November overshadowed this comprehensive Kerry All-Ireland quarter-final victory.
Last year's footballer of the year was forced off in the 31st minute having landed awkwardly when unsuccessfully attempting to round Mark Donnellan for a goal. Initial fears are he dislocated the AC joint that ruled him out of last year's Munster semi-final and this season's Division 1 campaign.
After Kieran Donaghy picked up a knock in the warm-up that forced the captain from starting the game, it was the last thing Eamonn Fitzmaurice needed.
The Kerry manager need not have worried about this affair, though. Colm Cooper was excellent in Donaghy's stead and Kerry ended this affair as a contest with two of five second half goals inside the first 10 minutes after the break.
Donnchadh Walsh's first shot from a David Moran shot that dropped short was saved by Donnellan but he found the net with a second bite of the cherry. Cooper then palmed another after he was set up by a Darran O'Sullivan driving run.
Kildare surrendered right there and then and the Munster champions added another three goals in five minutes via O'Sullivan, looking sharp coming off the bench, Barry John Keane and then Cooper again.
Man of the match Stephen O'Brien added a sixth when he easily outran Peter Kelly. O'Sullivan slotted home his second in injury-time.
Kerry led by a handsome seven points at half-time, 0-10 to 0-3, with O'Donoghue having contributed three points, two of them from play as he was beginning to get the better of Ollie Lyons.
But it was O'Brien who was the pick of the Kerry forwards, kicking four points in the first half and assisting another couple as Kevin Murnaghan fell between two stools attempting to sweep and mind his movement.
Kerry's midfield was extremely dominant and provided O'Brien with that platform and it wasn't until the 17th minute that Kildare scored their first point.
In those early stages, Niall Kelly looked sharp and narrowed the gap to two in the 21st minute but the next five points of the half came from Kerry. Even at the interval, the writing was on the wall.
O'Donoghue's injury may give Monaghan or Tyrone further hope in an August 23 All-Ireland semi-final but the professional attitude of Kerry in seeing out the game in his absence won't.
Scorers for Kerry: C Cooper (2-3, 0-1 free); D O'Sullivan (2-1); S O'Brien (1-4); BJ Keane (1-3); J O'Donoghue (0-3, 1 free); D Walsh (1-0); P Geaney (0-2).
Scorers for Kildare: N Kelly, A Smith, P O'Neill (0-2 each), E Doyle, E O'Flaherty (free), O Lyons, F Dowling (0-1 each).
Subs for Kerry: BJ Keane for J O'Donoghue (inj 31); D O'Sullivan for P Geaney (42); P Crowley for M Ó Sé (50); P Galvin for D Walsh (54); J Buckley for B Sheehan (55); T Walsh for A Maher (60).
Subs for Kildare: P Kelly for E Callaghan (43); F Conway for K Murnaghan (51); P Fogarty for N Kelly (54); F Dowling for T Moolick (62); G White for E Bolton (67);
KERRY: B Kealy; M Ó Sé, S Enright, P Murphy; A O'Mahony, K Young, J Lyne; A Maher, D Moran; D Walsh, B Sheehan, S O'Brien; C Cooper, P Geaney, J O'Donoghue.
KILDARE: M Donnellan; O Lyons, C Fitzpatrick, M O'Grady; K Murnaghan, E Doyle, E Bolton; T Moolock, P Cribbin; C McNally, E O'Flaherty, P O'Neill; N Kelly, A Smith, E Callaghan.
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)