Impressive Kerry hit Tyrone for six in Killarney goal fest

Peter Keane’s side scores five goals in the first half at Fitzgerald Stadium

Tyrone’s Richard Donnelly and Mike Breen of Kerry compete for the ball in the air at Fiztgerald Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tyrone’s Richard Donnelly and Mike Breen of Kerry compete for the ball in the air at Fiztgerald Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Kerry 6-15 Tyrone 1-14

Almost two years since Kerry mounted a second-half fightback that took down Tyrone by three points in an All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park, the impressive Kingdom hit their Ulster counterparts for six in a goal fest in a sun-drenched Killarney on Saturday.

When Gavin White lobbed Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Horgan from 40 metres and Dara Moynihan slotted home the third, there was no looking back for Peter Keane’s side as the Kingdom held a 3-1 to 0-3 lead on the cusp of the first-half water break.

Early signs showed that Kerry were going to carve open the Tyrone defence at will, as a David Clifford penalty had the ball in the net for the first time in just the sixth minute.

Kerry couldn’t have prepared better for their Munster championship opener against Clare in two weeks’ time and even had the luxury of a comfortable 14-point lead at half-time.

The result was beyond any doubt by the break as goals from David Clifford (penalty), Gavin White, Paul Geaney (two) and Dara Moynihan had Peter Keane’s men leading 5-6 at 0-7 at the interval.

The five first-half goals provided the platform for as one-sided a football league semi-final win as imaginable.

And had Keane’s men been more clinical in front of goal, the damage Kerry inflicted could have been even more.

But, despite a disastrous opening 35 minutes, Tyrone showed great courage to get the second half off to a flying start.

Paul Geaney scores his Kerry’s fifth goal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-final against Tyrone at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Paul Geaney scores his Kerry’s fifth goal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 semi-final against Tyrone at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

A consolation goal came through substitute through Tiernan McCann in the 42nd minute, but the visitors had little else to cheer about as Kerry, backed by an in-form David Clifford, raced into a 5-11 to 1-8 lead at the second-half water break.

Micheál Burns and Killian Spillane both struck two points apiece off the bench, while fellow substitute Jack Barry completed the rout when he slotted into an empty net for Kerry’s sixth as the home side ran rampant in front of 200 fans.

Keane was quick to play down his side’s emphatic 16-point win.

“The hope is that we’ve come out of it injury-free which is really what we have been looking for. Two weeks’ time we’ve Clare - that has always been the target, to be ready here for this day (Saturday) fortnight to play Clare. And hopefully, we are injury-free from it,” was the Kerry manager’s take from the game afterwards.

“There will probably be a lot of talk after the game, by virtue of the fact there was goals there, but if you took the goals out of the game there wasn’t a whole pile in the scoreboard at the end of it.

“And you take even Gavin’s one where it went in over the goalie’s head… look sometimes these things happen if you get on a roll.

“We took the opportunities as they came today and that was it.”

After shipping four goals against All-Ireland rivals Dublin - who Kerry now share the Division 1 league title with - Keane was as impressed with his team’s defensive performance as their attacking display.

“I thought it was very good. We probably got a bit sloppy in the second half and conceded a little bit more. Just to concede seven points in the first half was very good. We played Galway and conceded 11 scores (0-11), Dublin had 13 scores (4-9) and Roscommon scored 1-12 against us. From the 48th minute against Galway there was only one score conceded for that final 25 minutes. We are where we are and regardless of what way the game was going to go today (Saturday) we are going to be playing Clare in two weeks’ time here (Fitzgerald Stadium) so that is something we’ve been focused on,” he continued.

For Tyrone joint manager Brian Dooher the outcome of the game was bitterly disappointing, following such a long trip to Killarney.

“It definitely was a bit of a beating, I don’t think you can say anything else,” he said.

“It was as bad as a beating as you’d want to take. But you have to hold your hands up to Kerry. They were awesome. I don’t think we are as bad as that but we definitely have a lot of work to do over the next three or four weeks to be ready for the Championship.

“Kerry hit us really hard at the start and we just seemed to be shell-shocked. We never really got our foot in the game after that. We’ve a lot to learn from that. When that does happen, when you do concede like that, how do you get stability again? We definitely, both individually and collectively as players and management, have to look inside and look at ourselves and see where we can go from here.”

The conditions and immaculate pitch proved to be ideal for Kerry’s quick passing and attacking style as the Munster side now go into their Munster Championship quarter-final against Clare in two weeks’ time with a real pep in their step having scored 13 goals 69 points in their definite League campaign.

Kerry will now share the Division 1 football title as the final will not played due their Munster championship commitments the week after next, while Tyrone have to wait until July 10th take on Cavan in the Ulster championship.

KERRY: K Fitzgibbon; B Ó Beaglaoich, J Foley (0-1), T O’Sullivan; M Breen (0-1), G Crowley, G White (1-0); D O’Connor, A Spillane; S O’Brien, S O’Shea (0-3, one free), P Geaney (2-0); D Clifford (1-6, one penalty, four frees), D Moynihan (1-0), P Clifford.

Subs: J O’Connor for P Clifford (38 mins, blood sub), P Clifford for O’Connor (h-t), T Walsh for P Clifford, M Burns (0-2) for P Geaney (both 43), K Spillane (0-2) for O’Brien (50), J Barry (1-0) for O’Shea (54), J Sherwood for G White, J O’Connor for D Moynihan (both 60), P O’Shea for A Spillane (64), G O’Sullivan for Breen (72).

TYRONE: N Morgan; C Monroe, R McNamee, P Hampsey; M McKernan, P Harte (0-1), L Rafferty; M Donnelly (0-1), F Burns; K McGeary (0-3), D Canavan, C Meyler; D McCurry (0-3, one free), C McKenna, P Donaghy (0-1, one free).

Subs: M Bradley (0-1) for Canavan (8 mins, inj), T McCann (1-0) for C Monroe (26), R O’Neill (0-1) for P Donaghy, R Donnelly (0-1) for F Burns (both h-t, R Brennan (0-1) for M McKernan, N Sludden (0-1) for Rafferty (both 46), C Kilpatrick for McNamee (68).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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