Allianz HL D1B: Galway too good for Kerry
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
GALWAY 1-22 KERRY 0-12
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
In the end class usually tells and so it was in Tralee this afternoon as Galway claimed an expected third Division 1B win in this fourth round contest against a courageous but limited Kerry team.
The return of Joe Canning after suffering a hamstring injury in last year's All-Ireland semi-final was the main talking point in the build-up, and the Portumna man finished his day's work with nine points after displaying some understandable rustiness in the first half as he eased himself back into action.
The expected Galway goal glut never materialised, with Padraig Brehony's first half strike the only green flag raised in the game. Indeed, that goal was the difference between the teams at the interval as Kerry matched Galway score for score in the opening half hour.
Galway's class told in the end, however, and the second half turned into a procession of points from the visitors, spear-headed by Canning and the excellent Cathal Mannion who notched five points from play.
Galway manager Michael Donoghue will be grateful for the test Kerry laid for his team in the first half, with the Kingdom keeping the visitors honest with some gutsy hurling, which put Galway under a lot of pressure and sent them into cul-de-sacs and roadblocks.
Canning missed a couple of early chances as he looked to get his radar aligned, and when he did find his range Kerry's Shane Nolan and Jordan Conway matched him from placed balls to keep Kerry in touch.
Points from Canning and Paul Flaherty saw Galway open up a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 17th minute but Kerry stuck manfully to their task and scores from Nolan (two frees), Conway and Padraig Boyle made it 0-7 each after 31 minutes.
Kerry would have by delighted to have got to the break on level terms but a lapse of concentration allowed Brehony sneak through from midfield to get on the end of a long pass and finish past Martin Stackpoole to leave to 1-7 to 0-7 at half time.
Galway's touch was untypically poor in the first half and they were guilty of several unforced errors, but they tightened up considerably after the break. With Kerry tiring and playing into a stiff wind, Galway moved through the gears and outscored the hosts 15 points to five in the second period.
A couple of Canning interceptions were delightful and the Portumna man strongly protested that he had goaled after his shot hit the crossbar and the post and came back into play, but to no avail.
Kerry face Offaly in a fortnight where a win would earn them a quarter-final place, while Galway travel to Limerick.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-9 (6f), Cathal Mannion 0-5, Padraig Brehony 1-0, Niall Burke 0-2, Paul Flaherty 0-2, Daithi Burke 0-1, Gearoid McInerney 0-1, Shane Maloney 0-1, Conor Whelan 0-1
Scorers for Kerry: Shane Nolan 0-6f, Jordan Conway 0-2, Colum Harty 0-1, Padraig Boyle 0-1, Keith Carmody 0-1, Brendan O'Leary 0-1
Galway: James Skehill; Padraic Mannion, Paul Killeen, Jack Grealish; Daithi Burke, Adrian Tuohy, Gearoid McInerney; Johnny Coen, Padraig Brehony; David Burke, Niall Burke, Paul Flaherty; Shane Maloney, Joe Canning, Cathal Mannion. Subs: Matthew Donohue for J Grealish (h-t), Conor Cooney for Maloney (54), Conor Whelan for P Flaherty (54)
Kerry: Martin Stackpoole; James O’Connor, Rory Horgan, Sean Weir; Daniel Collins, Bryan Murphy, Darren Dineen; Jack Goulding, Paudie O’Connor; Shane Nolan, Patrick Kelly, Colum Harty; Jordan Conway, Padraig Boyle, John Buckley. Subs: Brendan O'Leary for P Kelly (42), T Murnane for P Boyle (54), Keith Carmody for P O'Connor (61)Tomas O'Connor for J Goulding (66)
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)