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Allianz FL D1: O'Callaghan nets hat-trick of goals in Dublin win

Dublin's Con O'Callaghan scoring a goal against Kerry at Croke Park in the Allianz Football League. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Dublin's Con O'Callaghan scoring a goal against Kerry at Croke Park in the Allianz Football League. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Allianz Football League Division One

Dublin 3-18 Kerry 1-14

By Paul Brennan at Croke Park

Con O’Callaghan hit Kerry for three goals as Dublin blitzed the Kingdom with a 10-point defeat in Croke Park on Saturday night to move alongside Kerry and Mayo on four points as the race for the Division One league title ratcheted up a notch.

Two goals in the first half helped Dublin to a nine-point half time, 2-11 to 0-8, and while Kerry cut the deficit back to three – with the help of Joe O’Connor’s goal in the 43rd minute – a third O’Callaghan goal just after the hour-mark ensured a smooth double-digit win for the Dubs and a further confidence boost ahead of their trip to leaders Derry next week.

Kerry haven’t beaten Dublin in a League game in Croke Park since 2012, and this defeat will rank among one of the worst in that time, with Jack O’Connor having plenty to ponder ahead of next week’s visit of Tyrone to Killarney.

Dublin were ahead inside a minute through Sean Bugler’s point, with Ross McGarry doubling their lead soon after, and they never really looked in danger thereafter.

In the fifth minute Brian Fenton slipped O’Callaghan through at the Canal End with the Cuala man rounding Shane Ryan and striking to the net to put Dublin 1-2 to 0-1 ahead.

Kerry rallied, with David Clifford winning a free for O’Shea to convert, but then Clifford was put through on goal but blasted over the bar when he clearly had a goal in mind. It would be that kind of night for the Kingdom.

O’Callaghan converted a free, Dylan Geaney replied for Kerry, and Paddy Small floated over another to make it 1-4 to 0-4, with Dublin threatening to score every time they attacked.

When Dylan Casey pulled Paddy Small down on the edge of the square, Dublin had a penalty, which O’Callaghan drilled past Ryan for his second goal to put Dublin six ahead, a lead that quickly became eight with points from Ciaran Kilkenny and O’Callaghan.

O’Callaghan almost grabbed a third goal but for a fine save from Ryan but Dublin were still full value for their 2-11 to 0-8 at half time lead, with Kerry all at sea in almost every duel.

Two early frees from Sean O’Shea and a brilliantly taken Joe O’Connor goal in the 43rd minute gave Kerry hope, and when O’Shea converted a ‘45’ in the 50th minute the lead was down to three, 2-13 to 1-13.

Dublin rattled a little but never rocked, they steadied themselves with scores from Lee Gannon and O’Callaghan to extend their lead back to five, and with Kerry running out of energy and ideas O’Callaghan struck for his third goal to secure an emphatic win for a Dublin team now level with Kerry and Mayo and behind Derry.

Scorers for Dublin: C O’Callaghan 3-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), S Bugler 0-3, P Small 0-3, C Kilkenny 0-3 (1m), L Gannon 0-1, B Fenton 0-1, R McGarry 0-1, N Scully 0-1, T Lahiff 0-1 (m).

Scorers for Kerry: S O’Shea 0-6 (2fs, 1 ‘45’), D Clifford 0-3 (1), J O’Connor 1-1, J Foley 0-1, G White 0-1, D Geaney 0-1, C Burke 0-1.

Dublin: D O’Hanlon; S MacMahon, T Clancy, E Murchan; C Murphy, J Small, L Gannon; B Fenton, P Ó Cofaigh Byrne; R McGarry, S Bugler, C Kilkenny; P Small, C O’Callaghan, N Scully.

Subs: T Lahiff for Ó Cofaigh Byrne (46), B Howard for MacMahon (53), L O’Dell for McGarry (57), G McEneaney for Murchan (59), Daire Newcombe for J Small (temp, 70-ft), Killian McGinnis for T Clancy (70+1).

Kerry: Shane Ryan, Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley, Dylan Casey, Damien Bourke, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White, Diarmuid O’Connor, Joe O’Connor, Paudie Clifford, Dylan Geaney, Cillian Burke, David Clifford, Seán O’Shea, Dara Moynihan

Subs: Paul Murphy for D Bourke (HT), Tony Brosnan for D Geaney (50), Keith Evans for Burke (57), Barry ‘Dan’ O’Sullivan for J O’Connor (59), Sean O’Brien for D Moynihan (64).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).