Three moments that made the difference for Kerry as they advanced to the All-Ireland final.
Mickey Harte was convinced afterwards that Kerry’s substitutions had not made a material difference to the result yesterday. On reflection he will think differently. When Kieran Donaghy pointed just before the break, it must have given Kerry management pause for second thought in terms of replacing him at the break. But they pressed on with the change, bringing in Paul Geaney, who wasn’t fully fit to start with a back problem. The Dingle man claimed three points, none more important than the 66th minute effort that edged Kerry 0-16 to 1-11 ahead.
Brendan Kealy hasn’t always had a joyful existence between the posts for Kerry. He’s been questioned under the high ball — justifiably — and his kick-outs have been erratic on occasions. But no one has every doubted his shot-stopping ability. It’s the reason he was called in the first place. In the 45th minute yesterday, he made a blinding reflex save to his left from Mark Bradley when Kerry were two points ahead. “I saw it on the big screen, it wasn’t that it hit him, it was a great stretch to get to it, beamed Eamonn Fitzmaurice afterwards.
David Moran’s been winning the plaudits all summer while the other half of Kerry’s M&M, Anthony Maher, has been shovelling away in the trenches.
This time it was the Duagh man fronting up big, never more so than with seven minutes remaining, and the tide surging in Tyrone’s favour after levelling the match. Maher’s point-scoring opportunity was not the angle he’d have wished for, but he aced the most psychologically important of Kerry’s 18 points.
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