Allianz FL D1: Kerry edge out Dublin in thriller
Allianz Football League Division 1
KERRY 1-18 DUBLIN 2-14
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee
Kerry maintained their winning record with a hotly contested win over Dublin this evening but one senses the manner of the win will mean more in the Kingdom than the two league points and keeping their early unbeaten run going under Peter Keane.
The last time these two counties met in the famous old ground in Tralee two years ago it took Paul Mannion to rescue a draw for Dublin with a late equaliser. This time the hero was less likely with Kerry corner back Peter Crowley popping up to fist over a 73rd minute winner just as 14-man Dublin looked as if they had reeled in and were about to overcome a Kerry side running out of gas.
Kerry had led by five points after 42 minutes, and backed by the majority of the 11,982 partisan crowd, they were in pole position to earn just their fourth League wins in 11 meetings over Dublin this decade. But Dublin kept their best football for the last quarter as the League champions went about reeling their opponents in.
Even the loss of Mick Fitzsimons to a second yellow card after 60 minutes barely derailed Dublin in that last 15 minutes, although in hindsight they could argue the absence of the Cuala man left them sparse at the back as Kerry pressed for that winner in additional time.
It was pedal to the metal stuff from the first whistle with Kerry showing early intent with full back Jack Sherwood getting forward for the first score inside two minutes and the high tempo never relented. An early Dean Rock free settled the visitors but Kerry kept the accelerator down and led by two points on three occasions by the 20th minute only for Dublin to half the deficit each time.
Kerry's response was a Stephen O'Brien goal to make it 1-6 to 0-5 but the Kerry supporters had barely taken their seats when Con O'Callaghan sailed through and slipped a low shot, with the help of a deflection, past Shane Ryan to make it a one-point game again.
Kerry hit back with points from Tom O'Sullivan, Dara Moynihan and two Sean O'Shea frees, but Dublin struck back with a Paul Mannion goal to help make it 1-11 to 2-6 in Kerry's favour at the break.
The pace never dipped after the restart as another four unanswered Kerry points saw them lead 1-15 to 2-7 after 42 minutes but there was never the sense that a callow Kerry team had put Dublin away.
Points from James McCarthy, Mannion and Dean Rock with his fifth of the night cut the gap to two points before Dublin were reduced to 14 with Fitzsimons' red card. That brought the best out of the Dublin with points from Brian Fenton, Mannion and two from Cormac Costello leveling it at 1-17 to 2-14 before Crowley fisted the winner to keep Kerry on maximum points from three games.
Both Peter Keane and Jim Gavin played down the significance of the result, with Keane saying he is still bedding into the role as manager and getting to known his players, while Gavin said his squad are still some way behind the rest of the pack in terms of early season work.
Scorers for Kerry: S O'Shea 0-8 (6f, 1'45'), S O'Brien 1-1, D Moynihan 0-2, P Geaney 0-2, P Crowley 0-1, J Sherwood 0-1, T O'Sullivan 0-1, G O'Brien 0-1, T Walsh 0-1
Scorers for Dublin: P Mannion 1-2 (0-1f), D Rock 0-5 (4f), C O'Callaghan 1-0, J McCarthy 0-3, C Costello 0-2 (1f), B Fenton 0-1, D Gavin 0-1
KERRY: Shane Ryan, Peter Crowley, Jack Sherwood, Brian Ó Beaglaíoch, Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy, Tom O’Sullivan, Jack Barry, Adrian Spillane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Sean O’Shea, Dara Moynihan, Paul Geaney, Gavin O'Brien, Stephen O’Brien. Subs: Tommy Walsh for D O'Connor (ht),Mark Griffin for A Spillane (53), Gavin Crowley for P Geaney (55), David Moran for T Morley (60), Mikey Geaney for G O'Brien (70)
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford, Michael Fitzsimons, Eoin Murchan, John Small, Eric Lowndes, Jonny Cooper, James McCarthy, Brian Fenton, Darren Gavin, Brian Howard, Con O'Callaghan, Niall Scully, Dean Rock, Cormac Costello, Paul Mannion. Subs: Paddy Andrews for E Lowndes (ht), Jack McCaffrey for J Cooper (47), Michael Darragh Macauley for D Gavin (62), Kevin McManamon for D Rock (62), Paul Flynn for N Scully (62)
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)