Allianz FL D1: Galway impressive winners over Kerry
Allianz Football League Division 1
GALWAY 1-14 KERRY 0-14
By Paul Brennan At Austin Stack Park, Tralee
Galway recorded their first National League win over Kerry since 2003 but more importantly they made it four wins from four games to stay second in Division One and hot on the heels of leaders Dublin.
The Tribesmen had a deserved three-point win over League champions Kerry but had to sweat until the last of 77 minutes played at a dry but cold Tralee as Kerry almost snatched an equalising goal at the death. David Clifford and then Stephen O'Brien drew saves from the Galway defence in a final throw of the dice to rescue a draw and a point, but Galway held firm to keep their perfect start to the campaign going.
For Kerry it was their second defeat in a week and it leaves the reigning champions mid-table and with much to consider ahead of next Saturday's trip to Croke Park to face Dublin. Galway host Monaghan in Salthill on Sunday and will be confident of making it five wins from five after this important win in Tralee.
Playing with a strong wind advantage in the first half Galway had a four-point lead at half time, which they fully deserved, but it looked like it mightn't be quite enough against a Kerry team that showed flashes of inspiration without ever really rattling a Galway side that led all the way through.
Brian O Beaglaoich forced a fine save from Galway goalkeeper Ruairi Lavelle in the second minute but Cathal Sweeney should have done better two minutes later at the other end when he was through on goal but was off target with a low shot. Barry McHugh converted the resultant '45' but moments later Sweeney was dismissed for a black card foul, the first of three for Galway.
Galway led 0-5 to 0-1 after 14 minutes before Paul Murphy came forward for a Kerry point, but Eamonn Brannigan's second point from play restored the visitors' four-point lead.
Sean O'Shea and Clifford converted frees but Galway dominated the final ten minutes of the half with Kerry's Brian Kelly having to save well from Shane Walsh in the 29th minute as Galway looked to make their overall dominance pay. A late Walsh free made it 0-9 to 0-5 half time.
McHugh and Clifford traded early second half points, before Galway struck for the game's only goal in the 40th minute. Kerry will be furious at how Brannigan breezed through the Kerry defence to beat Brian Kelly and make it 1-10 to 0-7.
The Kerry response was positive, however, and points from Peter Crowley, Tom O'Sullivan, Clifford and O'Brien made it 0-11 to 1-10 as the hosts wrestled back the momentum, with Galway losing defenders Sean Andy O Ceallaigh and Johnny Heaney to black card dismissals in the 57th minute for what appeared to be dissent.
Two more McHugh frees gave Galway a little more breathing space, 1-13 to 0-11, and they still led 1-14 to 0-13 after 73 minutes. A Daithi Casey point made it a one score game but Kerry couldn't breach the Galway defence for that equalising goal as Galway held on for their first League win over Kerry in 15 years, and a first on Kerry soil since 2000.
Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 0-6 (3f), S O'Shea 0-3 (2f), Paul Murphy 0-1, Peter Crowley 0-1, Stephen O'Brien 0-1, Tom O'Sullivan 0-1, Daithi Casey 0-1
Scorers for Galway: Barry McHugh 0-9 (5f, 2 '45'), Eamonn Brannigan 1-3, Patrick Sweeney 0-1, Shane Walsh 0-1f
KERRY: Brian Kelly, Shane Enright, Jason Foley, Ronan Shanahan, Paul Murphy, Peter Crowley, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Jack Barry, Barry O’Sullivan, Micheál Burns, Sean O’Shea, Stephen O’Brien, David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Barry John Keane: Subs: Matthew Flaherty for R Shanahan (41 mins), Tom O’Sullivan for B O Beaglaoich (42 mins), Éanna Ó Conchúir for BJ Keane (48 min), Daithi Casey for M Burns (60), Killian Spillane for P Geaney (67), Brian Ó Seanacháin for B O'Sullivan (71).
GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle, Declan Kyne, Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, Eoghan Kerin, Cathal Sweeney, Gareth Bradshaw, Johnny Heaney, Paul Conroy, Peter Cooke, Sean Kelly, Shane Walsh, Eamonn Brannigan, Patrick Sweeney, Damien Comer, Barry McHugh. Subs: Gary O’Donnell for C Sweeney (8, black card), Sean Armstrong for P Sweeney (49), David Wynne for SA O Ceallaigh (57, black card), Johnny Duane for J Heaney (57, black card), Ciaran Duggan for P Cooke (64), Thomas Flynn (Athenry) for E Brannigan (71).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)