David Clifford to the fore as Kerry relegate Kildare
Kingdom starlet impresses as Kerry do enough at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
David Clifford poses for photographs with Kerry fans after the match. Photograph: Inpho
Kerry 0-19 Kildare 0-14
Kerry hammered the final nail in the Kildare’s coffin as the threat of relegation - which has been hanging over Cian O’Neill’s team for much of the season - was finally confirmed at a bitterly cold Austin Stack Park in Tralee.
It’s Kildare sixth successive defeat in Division One this season and means an immediate return to the lower division, their third relegation in five years.
David Clifford scored six points to ease the home team’s own relegation worries in another display that only emphasises the youngster’s immense talent.
The first 15 minutes were evenly contested and the scores were level at 0-4 each but with Clifford and Paul Geaney leading the way in attack, Kerry scored the next seven points to take a grip of the game.
Kildare’s cause wasn’t helped when influential midfielder Kevin Feely, who had been struggling throughout after twisting his ankle straight from the throw in, was forced out of the game in the 28th minute.
The home side led 0-11 to 0-5 at half time but Kildare didn’t fold and certainly didn’t look like a side on such a long losing streak, as they tried to battle their way back into the game in the second half. Much of their approach play was to be admired but they were let down by some woeful shooting at inopportune moments. The one exception to that was the excellent Daniel Flynn who finished the game with six points from play, four in the second half.
Kildare briefly threatened a comeback and got back to within three points with 20 minutes to go but Kerry always had that extra quality going forward and with Clifford well supported by Daithi Casey, Kevin McCarthy and Barry John Keane they were able to pull clear of a Kildare team who lost Keith Cribbin and Paddy Brophy to black cards in the second half.
The win moves Kerry onto six points and although not fully clear of the relegation battle it should mean that they have no worries on the final day of the league season, while Kildare will be just desperate to end their losing run when they entertain Galway in Newbridge.
Kerry: S Murphy (0-1 free); B Ó Beaglaoich, J Foley, R Shanahan; P Murphy (0-1), P Crowley, F Fitzgerald; J Barry, B O’Sullivan; M Burns (0-1), D Casey (0-2), K McCarthy (0-2); D Clifford (0-6, four frees), P Geaney (0-3, one free), BJ Keane (0-2).
Subs: D Moran 0-1 for O’Sullivan (45); M Flaherty for Burns (52); A Spillane for McCarthy (58); M Griffin for Geaney (60); J Buckley for Keane (64); T O’Sullivan for Fitzgerald (67).
Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly (0-1), D Hyland, M O’Grady (0-1); J Byrne, E Doyle, K Flynn; K Feely (0-1), T Moolick (0-1); F Conway, K Cribbin, P Brophy (0-1); N Kelly (0-1), D Flynn (0-6), B McCormack (0-1).
Subs: P Cribbin for Feely (28 mins, inj); D Slattery for K Cribbin (bc, 48); F Dowling (0-1) for Moolick (50); M Sherry for Brophy (57, bc); C McNally for McCormack (58); J Hyland for Conway (61).
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).