Kerry have too much for Tyrone and sneak into league final
Éamonn Fitzmaurice: ‘When the league was so tight, we knew there’d be a chance’
Kerry’s Michael Geaney celebrates scoring a goal against Tyrone. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Kerry 1-21 Tyrone 2-11
It didn’t quite have the bite of past meetings between Kerry and Tyrone but the Kingdom did enough to see off their rivals and reach the Division One league final on Sunday.
The Kingdom shrugged off the disappointment of their draws against Dublin and Cavan in recent weeks, to see off Tyrone for the third successive time in Killarney. The victory seen them sneak past Donegal and Monaghan on scoring difference, and set up another league final against Dublin.
David Moran set up Mikey Geaney for Kerry’s goal in the second minute, and the hosts never really looked threatened from then on, with Tyrone scoring all but three of their total from set pieces. The early goal was the platform for a dominant first half which ended Kerry 1-12 Tyrone 0-6.
More important than making a league final, however, Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice said after the game that the performance was far more satisfying.
“I think we just wanted to look after our own performance and see where that took us. We were disappointed not to get the job done against Cavan last weekend. We didn’t play great but we still put ourselves in a winning position and didn’t see it out.
“So we were anxious this week to make sure that we righted that this weekend. When the league was so tight, we knew that there would be a chance, but ultimately it came down to us winning our own game because if we didn’t win our own game, we wouldn’t have got there, and then it would be a case of winning by enough.”
His Tyrone counterpart Mickey Harte was happy his side showed a bit of spirit in their second-half display, but felt his team had left themselves with too much to do.
“We had a very poor first-half, obviously, and that goes without saying. It would have been easy to have been slaughtered altogether today, so I think at half-time we had to look about playing for a bit of pride.
“We had to do our best to narrow the gap and I suppose the fact that we got it back to five at a stage was encouraging. Kerry were full value for their first-half lead and we posed some more questions for them in the second-half but I don’t think we were ever going to be able to pose enough to make it a victory for us.”
Peter Harte registered 2-4 on the day, his second goal arriving from the penalty spot with four minutes left, after Kerry defender Ronan Shanahan was sent off for a combination of yellow and black cards.
Donnchadh Walsh was the star of the show for the victors with six points from play, as Paul Geaney also registered the same total from frees.
Indeed Walsh’s final two points, along with a free from substitute Bryan Sheehan, were the deciding scores in sending Kerry to the final by virtue of a better point’s differential.
Kerry: B Kealy, F Fitzgerald, M Griffin, R Shanahan, P Crowley, T Morley (0-1), P Murphy (0-1), D Moran, A Maher, M Geaney (1-2), K McCarthy, D Walsh (0-6), BJ Keane (0-2), P Geaney (0-6, 6f), S O’Brien (0-1). Subs: B Sheehan (0-2, 2f) for McCarthy (47), J Lyne for Crowley (50), D O’Sullivan for Keane (52), J Barry for Maher (59), G Crowley for Fitzgerald (63) and D Daly for O’Brien (69).
Tyrone: M O’Neill, A McCrory, P Hampsey, C McCarron, T McCann, R McNabb, P Harte (2-4, 1p, 4f), C Cavanagh, P McNulty, C McCann, N Sludden, K McGeary, M Bradley, S Cavanagh (0-5, 5f), D McCurry. Subs: C Meyler for C McCann (ht), J Monroe for McCurry (ht), F Burns for McGeary (bc, 38), D Mulgrew (0-2) for Bradley (42), C McShane for Sludden (bc, 46) and R Brennan for McNabb (69).
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).