Galway take home a win from Kerry for first time in 18 years
Kevin Walsh’s side maintained their 100 per cent record with a three-point win in Tralee
Kerry and Galway players clash during their Allianz League Division One clash. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Kerry 0-14 Galway 1-14
Galway produced a gutsy second half display to maintain their 100 per cent league record at a bitterly cold Austin Stack Park, Tralee before more than 8,000 spectators and end an 18-year drought since they last won at a Kerry venue.
Playing against the wind in the second half, Galway struck for a crucial goal when Eamonn Brannigan carved open the Kerry defence to slip the ball past Brian Kelly.
Kerry responded well and cut the gap to two by the 51st minute with teenagers David Clifford and Sean O’Shea leading the way but they were just too naïve in defence. However, Galway – following a hold up in play when matters reached boiling point as the Tribesmen lost both Johnny Heaney and Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh to black cards – regained the initiative and with deadly counter attacking play they ran the Kerry defence ragged.
The visitors added points from Barry McHugh with three frees and one from man of the match Eamonn Brannigan to make it 1-14 to 0-11 and Kerry did not score for a 19-minute spell.
Kerry kept going in the seven minutes of injury time and they never threw in the towel as they came forward in waves with two points from David Clifford and Daithi Casey to close the gap to just three points.
However, just like the rest of Galway's victims in the league this term, the were unable to get through for that equalising goal though there was late drama that when a Clifford shot was saved by Lavelle and Stephen O’Brien was also denied by the Galway custodian when he tried to finish the rebound to the net in the 77th and final minute.
Lavelle had earlier come to Galway's rescue in the second minute of the game when Kerry, who were playing against the breeze, created the first meaningful chance of the half when Brian O Beaglaoich got in behind the Galway cover only to see his effort beaten away by the Galway goalkeeper.
Almost immediately Galway were presented with the first of their two good goal chances of the first half. Michael Sweeney’s run wasn’t tracked and suddenly he was through on goal. His shot was deflected wide for a 45 which was converted by Barry McHugh.
Galway kicked some lovely long range points in the first half and opened up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead on 14 minutes with Brannigan and Patrick Sweeney finding their range. Kerry then cut that gap to two with Clifford and Paul Murphy getting on the scoresheet.
McHugh stretched the lead to three points before Galway’s second good goal chance. This time Shane Walsh had too much pace for Ronan Shanahan but Brian Kelly advanced to deny the Galway star with his leg. Once again the mercurial McHugh pointed the resultant 45 before Clifford scored his second point. Walsh would have the last day of the half when he landed a difficult free kick to send the visitors leading by 0-9 to 0-5 at the break and they deservedly took the points which sees them in with a real shot at making the League final with four wins from four while Kerry will be hoping for one more win to secure their Division 1 status.
Galway boss Kevin Walsh was pleased to be travelling home with two points from the Kingdom.
“There was a bit of pressure on today. A lot of people, including ourselves, were looking for a bit more consistency. We felt we had maybe improved on that last year getting out of Division 2. We had to improve on that again. We’ll take it. There was a double save there at the end by Ruairi Lavelle. That kept the win for us. We’d be disappointed if we lost because of the chances we had before that. In fairness, the young boys had a big impact on today’s game. They’ve brought freshness too.”
Éamonn Fitzmaurice did not fully believe that if Kerry had struck for that late goal they would have deserved the draw.
“Questionable. The positive from our point of view was that we did keep going despite looking for a long time like it was one of those days. And I think you have to credit the lads that they did keep going to the end. With a small bit of work we could have got a goal and got something out of it but we probably wouldn’t have deserved it. There were aspects our performance that weren’t great today but the beauty of league football is we are out again in six days time and it gives us a chance to try and improve and work on the mistakes this week and we will.”
Kerry: B Kelly; P Murphy (0-1), J Foley, S Enright; B Ó Beaglaoich, R Shanahan, P Crowley (0-1); J Barry, Barry O’Sullivan; M Burns, S O’Shea (0-3, 0-2 frees), S O’Brien (0-1); D Clifford (0-6, 0-3 frees), P Geaney, BJ Keane.
Subs: M Flaherty for Shanahan (40 mins); T O’Sullivan (0-1) for Ó Beaglaoich (42); É Ó Conchúir for Keane (48); D Casey (0-1) for Burns (60); K Spillane for Geaney (66); B Ó Seanacháin for B O’Sullivan (70)
Galway: R Lavelle; E Kerin, SA Ó Ceallaigh; D Kyne; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, S Kelly; P Conroy, P Cooke; J Heaney, S Walsh (0-1 free), E Brannigan; B McHugh (0-8, 0-5 frees, 0-2 ‘45s), D Comer, P Sweeney (0-2).
Subs: G O’Donnell for C Sweeney (bc, 8 mins); S Armstrong for P Sweeney (49); D Wynne for Ó Ceallaigh (bc, 57); J Duane for Heaney (bc, 57); C Duggan for Cooke (64); T Flynn for Brannigan (1-3) (70).
Referee: F Kelly (Longford).