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.

The reprieve was short-lived however, as Donaghy grabbed a goal back with the next move of the match. O’Sullivan and Cooper were again involved, sending Sheahan into space and when the big midfielder spotted Donaghy lurking at the back post he floated over a pass for the full forward to palm it home.

O’Neill, carrying an injury, was sent on for Tyrone but it was another replacement who would have a greater impact on the contest. Brian McGuigan’s afternoon latest a matter of minutes as he bundled O’Sullivan over right under the nose of Coldrick and the official had little hesitation in showing a straight red.

Jack O’Connor also used his bench, Darren O’Sullivan’s pace asking more questions of a tiring Tyrone defence. Outgunned, outfought and outnumbered, Tyrone were put to the sword in the final quarter as their championship campaign came to an abrupt end.

In Portlaoise, a late flurry of points got Kildareout of jail against Limerickas Kieran McGeeney’s misfiring side needed extra-time to force their way into the next round winning 0-19 to 0-12. Kildare had trailed by three points with just over 10 minutes on the clock but scores from Johnny Doyle, James Kavanagh brought them within a single score.

Seanie Johnston, thrown into the fray as a second half replacement, thought he had levelled things up but his ‘point’ was adjudged to have gone wide. But Emmet Bolton forced extra-time with virtually the last kick of the game, a surging run resulting with him knocking the ball over from 30 yards.

It was rough justice on Limerick, largely written off before throw-in, who had led for most of the match but a failure to trouble the scorers in the final 20 minutes would cost them dear. And they ran out of steam in extra-time as Kildare turned the screw to run out comfortable winners in the end.

Kildare will be joined in the next phase by Laois, who earned a narrow 1-13 to 1-11 win over Leitrimin Carrick-on-Shannon, late scores from MJ Tierney and Colm Begley keeping the home side at bay.

Earlier at Semple Stadium, Tipperaryadvanced to the next round with Antrimbeaten 0-10 to 0-8 in a tight encounter in front of a disappointing crowd. Three early scores from Alan Maloney helped Tipp open a 0-4 to 0-0 lead but Antrim, who struggled to find the target when presented with opportunities, fought back to level midway through the second half.

But Tipperary, who were never behind in the match, kicked on again and late scores from Brian Mulvihill and that man Maloney opened a two-point gap. The Ulster county did have a late pot at goal but when Michael McCann’s effort flashed wide their chances went with it.

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