Paul Brennan reports from Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney
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ON A GRIM day weather-wise in Killarney, Kerry and Tyrone produced a football game to match, but that won’t bother Peter Keane, who has already bought himself a little more time and breathing space with his first win as Kerry manager.
Apart from the victory and the league points, there was plenty for Keane, his players and the Kerry critics in the 12,921 attendance to be encouraged about, not least restricting the 2018 All-Ireland finalists to just two points from play and not a single meaningful strike on Shane Ryan’s goal.
Addressing the defence was always going to be Keane’s first piece of work and despite a couple of square pegs in round holes, individually and collectively Kerry out-Tyroned Tyrone in that department. It didn’t lend itself to a spectacle high on aesthetics but Keane, no more than Mickey Harte, is a pragmatic man and manager, and he’ll take two ugly points every time Kerry play in this league.
Kerry’s Sean O’Shea and Kieran McGeary of Tyrone.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
The first half was turgid stuff, and it said much about the first half that the biggest talking point from the opening 35 minutes was Stephen O’Brien’s miss with just Niall Morgan to beat in the Tyrone goal. A fine turnover in the middle of the field by the excellent Tom O’Sullivan put his team-mate in the clear from 45 metres out but O’Brien dragged his shot wide of the goal from only 15 metres out.
That chance came in the 18th minute with Kerry ahead by the game’s only score at that stage – a Sean O’Shea free after ten minutes – and it was 21 minutes before another O’Shea free doubled Kerry’s lead.
After a couple of fluffed efforts Morgan finally converted a long-range free to get Tyrone on the scoreboard after 27 minutes but it was the 34th minute before the first score from play arrived. That came from the lively Dara Moynihan, who made an eye-catching senior debut, and two minutes later he slipped another shot over the bar to put Kerry 0-5 to 0-1 ahead at the break.
Three Darren McCurry frees made it 0-6 to 0-4 but Kerry were able to find ways through the traffic to pick off scores from O’Sullivan, Jack Barry and Mikey Geaney to keep three points between the teams and send Tyrone into needing a goal territory.
Action from the game.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Mattie Donnelly’s 64th-minute point made it a two-point game but O’Shea brilliantly converted a sidleine kick to make it 0-10 to 0-7. The Kenmare man converted his fourth free with the game’s last kick to hand Kerry a deserved if not fully expected win, which sends Kerry to Cavan next weekend in high spirits, while Tyrone will need to find their scoring boots when Mayo pitch up in Omagh next Sunday.
Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-6 (4f, 1 s/l), Dara Moynihan 0-2, Tom O’Sullivan 0-1, Jack Barry 0-1, Mikey Geaney 0-1.
Scorers for Tyrone: Darren McCurry 0-4 (4f), Niall Morgan 0-1 (f), Mattie Donnelly 0-1, Peter Harte 0-1.
1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)
2. Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
3. Jack Sherwood (Firies)
4. Brian Ó Beaglaíoch (An Ghaeltacht)
5. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe)
6. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
7. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)
8. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
9. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)
10. Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)
17. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
19. Dara Moynihan (Spa).
18. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe) for T Morley (45)
22. Gavin O’Brien (Kerins O’Rahillys) for P Geaney (58)
13. Michael Geaney (Dingle) for J Lyne (63)
23. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for S O’Brien (70).
1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)
2. Liam Rafferty (Galbally)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
4. Hugh Pat McGeary (Pomeroy)
5. Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
6. Rory Brennan (Trillick)
7. Michael McKernan (Coalisland)
8. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan)
9. Declan McClure (Clonoe)
10. Mattie Donnelly (Trillick)
11. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)
12. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)
14. David Mulgrew (Ardboe)
15. Cathal McShane (Eoghan Ruadh).
19. Kyle Coney (Ardboe) for D Mulgrew (HT)
24. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy) for L Rafferty (38)
18. Darragh Canavan (Errigal Ciaran) for N Sludden (53)
26. Conor Meyler (Omagh) for H P McGeary (65).
Referee: David Gough (Meath).
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