Allianz Football League Roinn 1
Kerry 3-16 0-14 Monaghan
Allianz FL D1: Kerry overcome Monaghan
Allianz Football League Division One
Kerry 3-16 Monaghan 0-14
By Paul Brennan at Fitzgerald Stadium
Three second half goals from Darragh Roche, Paudie Clifford and Donal O’Sullivan gave League champions a welcome and necessary home win against Monaghan, and will have eased the pressure on all concerned after their opening day loss to Donegal.
Kerry always looked in control against Monaghan, completely dominating the second half.
Roche’s goal after 39 minutes was, in essence, the key moment when the belief drained from the visitors, while Donal O’Sullivan nailed the ‘man of the match’ award with a goal in additional time to go with the three points he kicked from play.
But it was Clifford’s goal that drew the biggest cheer from the 10,232 crowd after the Fossa man soloed the ball from deep inside his own half all the way to the penalty spot before passing the ball past Rory Beggan to make it 2-13 to 0-10 after 51 minutes.
The goals were the bright spots on a very open game that was high on scores but low on intensity, not that the defending League champions Kerry will worry too much about that. As Jack O’Connor had said a week ago in Ballybofey, it is all about getting points on the board, and to that end Kerry were emphatic in Killarney this afternoon.
Monaghan boss Vinnie Corey has plenty of work to do ahead of the visit of Donegal to Clones in a fortnight, while O’Connor will look forward to a testing trip to Castlebar the same weekend with a collective spring in his team’s step.
It took six minutes for Monaghan to get the game’s first score, via a Conor McCarthy free, and a minute later Tony Brosnan opened Kerry’s account, also from a free, and there was never any more than two scores between the teams until the last few minutes of the half when the home side widened the gap to four points at the interval.
It was a curious first half, one that produced 16 points from that sixth minute opener until Micheal Burns slipped over Kerry’s 10th in the 38th minute, and yet it passed by with minimum fuss and few memorable moments.
Roche and the very lively Donal O’Sullivan – making his first League start – led the charge for Kerry, while Conor McCarthy and Micheal Bannigan did most of the scoring for Monaghan as the teams traded some fine scores under pressure.
They were level at 0-3 apiece after 12 minutes, and 0-5 each after 17 before Roche, O’Sullivan, Tony Brosnan, Dara Moynihan and Burns raised flags to make it 0-10 to 0-6 at half time. It might have been closer but for a smart clearing punch from Kerry goalkeeper Shane Murphy as Conor McCarthy tried to connect with Dessie Ward’s inviting cross.
Kerry extended their lead through Brosnan (free) and Donal O’Sullivan, before Roche was played in to dispatch Kerry’s first goal on 39 minutes, and that was pretty much that.
Monaghan’s resistance began to wane almost immediately, with Kerry in no mood to ease off the gas, with competition strong among those trying to make an early impression in the absence of names like David Clifford, Sean O’Shea and Paul Geaney.
Leading 1-13 to 0-10, Paudie Clifford picked up the ball deep in his own half and travelled and travelled until he had little other option than to slip it past Beggan to put the home side nine ahead.
Monaghan had Ryan O’Toole sent off in the 55th minute on a straight red, and just to compound a bad day for the Farney men, Brosnan selflessly teed up Donal O’Sullivan for the Kilgarvan man to cap his full debut with a late goal to confirm the comfortable win.
Scorers for Kerry: D O’Sullivan 1-3, D Roche 1-2, P Clifford 1-1, T Brosnan 0-4 (4f), T O’Sullivan 0-2, M Burns 0-1, D Moynihan 0-1, A Spillane 0-1, K Spillane 0-1 (m)
Scorers for Monaghan: C McCarthy 0-5 (4f), M Bannigan 0-3 (2f), S O’Hanlon 0-3, K Duffy 0-1, D Ward 0-1, K Gallagher 0-1
Kerry: Shane Murphy, Graham O’Sullivan, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan, Pa Warren, Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy, Jack Barry, Barry O’Sullivan, Micheál Burns, Dara Moynihan, Adrian Spillane, Tony Brosnan, Darragh Roche, Donal O’Sullivan
*Subs: *Paudie Clifford for D Moynihan (46), Killian Spillane for D Roche (53), Stefan Okunbor for B O’Sullivan (53), Greg Horan for P Warren (56), Ruairí Murphy for A Spillane (59).
Monaghan: Rory Beggan, Ryan O’Toole, Kieran Duffy, Ryan Wylie, Conor Boyle, Dessie Ward, Kevin Loughran, Killian Lavelle, Colm Lennon, Stephen O’Hanlon, Micheal Bannigan, Joel Wilson, Conor McCarthy, Karl Gallagher, Shane Carey.
Subs: Darragh Treanor for C Lennon (ht), Gary Mohan for J Wilson (40), Thomas McPhillips for K Loughran (55), Sean Jones for S Carey (59), Shane Slevin for R Wylie (68).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)