Kerry and the Shannon Blues played a tough, extremely exciting game that had the patrons on edge for the duration. It was a game reminiscent of the old rivalry that some may remember from the Dilboy era. The Blues had the advantage of an extra man for most of the game after a second yellow card was shown to wing back, David Clifford. The Blues had several chances to win it, but kicked wide when it mattered most, while Kerry lifted the siege with some great running and timely scores from Darragh O'Brien, Niall Sheehy and Joe Fitzpatrick to earn a point for their efforts.
|Kieran Hurley on the ball for the Blues.|
The Blues opened the game with a handful of missed chances, but finally hit the mark with a point from Barry John Keane who just joined the team. Kerry answered with a free kick that was pointed by Darragh O'Brien. The Blues were then gifted with a goal of the most unusual circumstances when a handpass intended for the goalkeeper missed its mark and ended up in the back of the Kerry net. Anthony Duffy added to the Blues lead, but then Kerry settled and strung together 5 unanswered points. There were two yellow cards issued as the temperature of the game matched the heat of the day. Niall Sheehy and Sean Moriarty were each cautioned as things threatened to boil over. A second yellow shown to wing back David Clifford resulted in Kerry facing most of the game a man down, and given recent results a Blues victory looked on the cards. Kerry did not let the setback dampen their spirits and even lifted their game. Corner forward Darragh O'Brien and Joe Fitzpatrick pointed twice each, while Sheehy added another for Kerry. At the break it was a one point Kerry lead, 0-6 to 1-2.
|Kerry's Aaron Hickey runs into a hard stop.|
Kerry got the second half off to the best possible start with a two goal salvo. The first came from O'Brien who fisted in a Joe Fitzpatrick cross. Immediately afterwards Sheehy blocked a handpass out of the Blues defence and with just the keeper to beat netted. Kerry were on their way to a shock victory- or were they? With Kerry legs tiring in the heat, and urgency mounting in the Blues camp the champions began to get their act together. After getting fouled Kieran Hurley got on the end of a short pass and cancelled out one of the Kerry goals. The Blues then leveled affairs with a five points to one run. Keane moved to a position closer to goal and looked more comfortable, and was certainly more productive on the scoring end. Four of the Blues points came from the boot of the Kerins O'Rahilly's man, the fifth point coming from Duffy. Kerry mustered up some energy for a final push however, and restored their lead to two points. The Blues regained the advantage after a well worked move ended in a penalty after Cathal McHugh was tripped in the box while shooting. Keane put the kick away and it was the Blues up by one. Both sides continued to work hard in the heat and traded points, O’Brien getting the critical scores for Kerry and Barry Hartnett popping up from wing back for the Blues, before substitute Colin Campion leveled matters. The Blues missed several chances to get the go ahead scores in the final minutes and will look back at the game wondering how they did not come out of it with both points. A great result from a Kerry point of view. The men from the Kingdom may have been quietly confident of pulling off a result before the game, but given the way it all played out will be very pleased with the draw.
Blues: D. O'Brien, K. Hartnett, G. Ryan, B. Hartnett (0-1), S. Brosnan,
D. Treacy, S. Kiely, A. Duffy (0-2), D. Dolan, BJ Keane (1-5), K. Hurley (1-0),
C. McHugh. Kerry: P. Bailey, S. Driscoll (1-0), D. Larkin, E.
Mullan, S. Cunningham, D. Clifford, I. Whelan,
A. Hickey, J. Fitzpatrick (0-2), R. Kennedy, S. O'Callaghan, N. Sheehy (1-1),
D. O'Brien (1-7). Sub: C. Campion (0-1).
By Rory O'Donnell