Kingdom come good in the summer sun
GAA round-up:Kerry are back up and running in this year’s All-Ireland championship after old foes Tyrone were soundly beaten, 1-16 to 1-6, in Killarney this evening. Once again Jack O’Connor’s side proved that you write them off at your peril as Tyrone were sent north to start preparing for next year.
Following their defeat in Munster to Cork and a lacklustre outing in the qualifiers against Westmeath, the sight of Tyrone arriving in Killarney proved to be the perfect tonic for Kerry. Three times in the past decade Mickey Harte has masterminded famous wins against them, but Tyrone were decidedly second best under the evening sun in the heart of the Kingdom.
Tyrone were dealt a double blow before the ball was even thrown in, with skipper Stephen O’Neill and Cathal McCarron failing late fitness tests. Darren McCurry came into the visitor’s full forward line, where he was welcomed by Marc O Se, while Ronan McNamee slotted into the Tyrone defence.
And it was Kerry who hit their stride first, with Anthony Maher bossing the midfield and Declan O’Sullivan dictating the play up front. O'Sullivan got Kerry up and running as he twisted and turned his way around Dermot Carlin – the defender would go off with a knee injury shortly afterwards – and although Colm Cavanagh hit straight back Kerry were the side playing all the football.
Colm Cooper was able to find space in and around the half forward line while the long ball into Kieren Donaghy was paying dividends. Cooper fired Kerry back into the lead before two Bryan Sheahan frees and a James O’Donoghue, who gave his man the slip more than once, score put some daylight between the sides.
The game wasn’t without an edge, with referee David Coldrick doling out seven yellows in the opening 20 minutes. Paul Galvin and McNamee were among those to have their names taken after conducting a running battle off the ball but when it settled down again Kerry remained in control.
Another fine effort from O’Sullivan helped open an 0-8 to 0-4 half-time lead that actually flattered Mickey Harte’s team who looked ponderous when in possession and ill-equipped to get it back from the green and gold shirts.
Tyrone weren’t helping themselves with some wayward shooting, with Owen Mulligan sending what little ball he saw wide of the target and Harte sent Conor Gormley higher up the park shortly after the break.
That move paid off 10 minutes in, with the veteran defender getting a rare goal that handed his side a lifeline. In truth, Gormley knew little about it. Joe McMahon did the hard work, driving through the Kerry defence and when his shot was parried by Brendan Kealy it rebounded off Gormley and looped into the empty net.