David Clifford on fire as Kerry blast past lacklustre Galway
Kingdom made very light work of their opponents as the Clifford brothers ran riot
Kerry’s David Clifford celebrates scoring his second goal with his brother Paudie Clifford during the Allianz League win over Galway. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Kerry 4-21 Galway 0-11
The Clifford brothers stole the show at Austin Stack Park as Kerry comfortably overcame Galway with 22 points to spare in their National League opener in Tralee on Saturday afternoon.
Showing no hangover from their shock defeat to Cork in last year’s Championship, Kerry got the defence of their league title off to a flying start thanks to a one-sided 4-21 to 0-11 defeat of the lacklustre Tribesmen.
Grabbing 4-8 between them, Fossa brothers Paudie and David Clifford ran riot for Peter Keane’s side, showing that the Kingdom will certainly be a force to be reckoned with this summer. David, causing the Galway defence all sorts of problems from the get-go, scored a hat-trick of goals in 40 minutes in a thrilling exhibition of his outstanding qualities.
While it took his brother Paudie just 37 seconds to get his senior debut off to the perfect start, scoring a point from play - a sign of things to come. Damien Comer equalised a minute later but that was as good as it got for the visiting Connacht men.
Kerry were rampant in the first quarter and led 1-7 to 0-2 at the water break thanks to a superb David Clifford goal.
Clifford linked up well with Killian Spillane and the impressive Sean O’Shea before flicking a handpass across goal into the back of the net to open up an early seven-point lead.
The water break didn’t prove to be a momentum breaker for the men in green and gold as Paudie Clifford’s dream debut got even better.
Moments after the restart, the elder of the Clifford brothers met Dara Moynihan’s pass and slipped the ball past Bernard Power to make it 2-7 to 0-3.
The Fossa club man gave the eyes to Power, sending the Galway goalkeeper the wrong way, to fire the ball into the back of the net.
Spillane grabbed his fourth of the game to put 10 points between the two sides at half-time - 2-10 to 0-6 in favour of Peter Keane’s charges.
Spillane and O’Shea linked up well again for David Clifford’s third goal of the afternoon. The East Kerry corner-forward showcased his soccer skills to coolly slot the ball past Power to make it 4-13 to 0-7 at the second water break.
Clifford’s cousin Paul O’Shea, a second-half introduction, even got in on the scoring, marking his senior debut with Kerry’s 14th point.
Power denied substitute Adrian Spillane for Kerry’s fifth goal with a superb low save with five minutes left on the clock, but further scores from Paudie Clifford and Sean O’Shea stretched the Kingdom’s winning margin to 22 points.
Next up for Kerry is a trip to Semple Stadium in Thurles to take on All-Ireland Champions Dublin next Sunday. Galway host Connacht rivals Roscommon at Pearse Stadium - a rehearsal for the Connacht semi-final.
KERRY: K Fitzgibbon, B Ó Beaglaoich, T Morley; J Foley; P Murphy, G Crowley, G White; D Moran, J Barry; D Moynihan, S O’Shea (0-7, 3 frees, 2 marks, 2 45’), P Geaney; D Clifford (3-6, 1 free, 1 mark), K Spillane (0-4), P Clifford (1-2).
Subs: P O’Shea (0-1) for Geaney (41 mins), D O’Connor for Moran, T Walsh (0-1, one mark) for D Clifford (50 mins), A Spillane for Beaglaoich, G O’Sullivan for G White (both 56 mins), M Burns for Moynihan (61 mins), M Breen for Murphy (66 mins)
GALWAY: B Power; J Glynn, S Mulkerrin, L Silke; G O’Donnell, D McHugh, J Heaney; P Cooke, P Conroy (0-2, 1 free); P Kelly, M Tierney (0-1), E Brannigan; D Conneely (0-1), D Comer (0-2), S Walsh (0-2, 1 free)
Subs: C Sweeney for Heaney, R Steede for Cooke (both 27 mins), R Finnerty (0-1 free) for P Kelly, S Kelly (0-1) for G O’Donnell (both h-t), F Ó Laoi for Conroy (49 mins), T Culhane for Conneely (58 mins), K Molloy (0-1) for Brannigan (60 mins).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)