Allianz FL D1: Kerry defeat Kildare
Allianz Football League Division One
KERRY 0-19 KILDARE 0-14
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
Kildare are back in Division Two after just one season in the top flight following this loss against Kerry.
The result also means Kerry are that bit closer to maintaining their Division One status, and depending on other results in Round 6 this win should be good enough to keep them safe from relegation.
It was a brief stay for the Lilywhites in the top division, and it was a disappointing return to the Kingdom for Kildare manager Cian O'Neill, who was part of the Kerry management up to late 2015 when he left to manage his native county.
Both counties are still very much works in progress ahead of their respective provincial championship, but Kerry will be pleased to have arrested a run of three League losses with this win, but a sixth straight defeat leaves Kildare pointless and destined for Division Two.
The first quarter was a slow burner and it was 0-4 apiece after 17 minutes, but Kerry came to life in the second quarter with unanswered points from Kevin McCarthy (2), David Clifford (two frees), Paul Geaney, Paul Murphy and Daithi Casey to go into a 0-11 to 0-5 half time lead. Kildare were game enough and enjoyed decent possession in that first half but wayward shooting hurt them badly in that second quarter.
Paul Geaney opened up a seven-point lead early in the second half for Kerry but the excellent Daniel Flynn scored a brace and Ben McCormack hit another to keep Kildare in touch. Barry John Keane and Flynn traded points as Kildare tried to keep their League hopes alive, and at the three-quarter mark they had halved Kerry's half time lead to three, 0-13 to 0-10.
That was as close as they got, however, as Clifford and David Moran scored to nudge Kerry back into a five-point lead, and further points from Casey, Clifford (2) and goalkeeper Shane Murphy sealed a much needed win for Kerry.
On the plus side it was the first game in four that Kerry didn't concede a goal but it was also the fourth game on the trot in which they haven't scored a goal, but manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was pleased with the clean sheet and the all round response to the previous week's heavy loss to Dublin.
Kerry will know more of what's required of them in Tyrone next week after the rest of the Round 6 games are played but for Kidare it's just a matter of pride that they try to get something from their final game against Galway next week, the team that came up with them last season and who are flying high.
*Scorers for Kerry: *David Clifford 0-6 (4fs), Paul Geaney 0-3 (1f), Kevin McCarthy 0-2, Daithi Casey 0-2, Barry John Keane 0-2, Paul Murphy 0-1, Micheal Burns 0-1, David Moran 0-1, Shane Murphy 0-1 (f)
*Scorers for Kildare: *Daniel Flynn 0-6, Niall Kelly 0-1, Peter Kelly 0-1, Mick O'Grady 0-1, Paddy Brophy 0-1, Ben McCormack 0-1, Kevin Feely 0-1, Tommy Moolick 0-1, Fionn Dowling 0-1
KERRY: Shane Murphy, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Jason Foley, Ronan Shanahan, Paul Murphy, Peter Crowley, Fionn Fitzgerald, Jack Barry, Barry O’Sullivan, Micheál Burns, Dáithí Casey, Kevin McCarthy, David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Barry John Keane
Subs: David Moran for B O'Sullivan (46 min), Matthew Flaherty for M Burns (52 min), Adrian Spillane for K McCarthy (58 min), Mark Griffin for P Geaney (60 min), Johnny Buckley for BJ Keane (64 min), Tom O’Sullivan for F Fitzgerald (67 min).
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan, Peter Kelly, David Hyland, Mick O’Grady, Johnny Byrne, Eoin Doyle, Kevin Flynn, Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick, Fergal Conway, Keith Cribbin, Paddy Brophy, Ben McCormack, Daniel Flynn, Niall Kelly.
Subs: Paul Cribbin for K Feely (28 min), David Slattery (Confey) for K Cribbin (b/c, 49 min), Fionn Dowling for T Moolick (49 min), Mark Sherry for P Brophy (b/c, 58 min), Cathal McNally for B McCormack (58 min), Jimmy Hyland for F Conway (61 min).
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)