Donaghy leads by example
Kerry 1-13 Monaghan 0-13: Kieran Donaghy's second half goal proved the difference as defending champions Kerry denied Monaghan in a high-tempo All-Ireland SFC qualifier at Croke Park this afternoon and will now take on Connacht champions Galway in the quarter-finals.
Donaghy led by example all afternoon and his 1-02 personal tally only tells part of the story. When necessary the big forward dropped off the front line and was involved in much of the physical battles in the middle of the park.
Pat O'Shea may look back at the tapes and say there is still work to be done before next week, but today they overcame a well organised Monaghan side who refused to lie down.
Although Kerry went into the break 0-06 to 0-03 ahead the match was back on level terms (0-10 to 0-10) 15 minutes after the restart when Paul Finlay fired over a Monaghan free.
With the match entering a crucial period Ciaran Hanratty missed a guilt edged chance to put Seamus McAnaney's men ahead. After a slick move down the left flank, Hanratty cut inside but pulled his effort across the Kerry goal.
The telling moment of the game came just before the hour mark when Donaghy scored the all-important goal after some fine work by Tommy Griffin and Eoin Brosnan. The two half time substitutes combined with great effect to cut the Monaghan defence open before Brosnan cleverly off loaded to Donaghy, who blasted home from close range to put Kerry five in front 1-12 to 0-10.
A Thomas Freeman free and a Gary McQuaid point from play reduced the deficit, but Brian Sheehan scored his fifth point for Kerry while Freeman soon added his fifth for Monaghan.
The talking point of the first half came when Kerry's Colm Cooper (0-02) pulled his penalty effort wide of the post after Dessie Mone was harshly judged to have brought down Tommy Walsh.
Kerry may not be the finished article yet but they are simply glad to have another chance against Galway in next week's quarter-final.
"A lot of people have been doubting this Kerry team," said man-of-the-match Donaghy after the game. "We learned hard lessons from the league defeat to Derry and the Munster final to Cork.
"It was time to stand up for ourselves and I think we did that today against a good Monaghan side. All credit to Monaghan they pushed us all the way and we're just delighted to come through it.
"There has to be more to come from this Kerry team and right now we're just looking forward to next week."
O'Shea was equally thankful to come through such a tough match. "It was important for us to bounce back from the Munster final," he said. "Although we still showed some rustiness out there we still got important scores when it mattered.
"We still need to improve before next week but the important thing is there is still more to come from this Kerry team."
The quarter-final draw was made shortly after today's final qualifier and Munster champions Cork will take on Kildare, who beat Fermanagh earlier today.
Leinster champions Dublin are in line to play Tyrone who narrowly came through by one point against Mayo yesterday, while Ulster champions Armagh should fancy their chances against Wexford, who defeated a poor Down side yesterday.
Points: Sheehan 5, Cooper 2, Walsh 2, O'Mahony, Scanlon, Donaghy 2
Points: Corry, McQuaid 2, Freeman 5, Lennon, Woods 2, Finlay 2
All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final Draw
Cork v Kildare
Dublin v Tyrone
Armagh v Wexford
Galway v Kerry
Weekend SFC Qualifier Results
Wexford 2-13 Down 0-12
Tyrone 0-13 Mayo 1-09
Kildare 0-11 Fermanagh 0-5
Kerry 1-13 Monaghan 0-13