Monday, July 1, 2013

June 29 - Senior Football: Donegal v Kerry

Donegal 1-13 Kerry 1-11

Kerry were brought back to earth after being beaten by a previously winless Donegal.  Kerry lined out without the injured Stephen Cunningham at center back and lacked the drive and energy that we saw last Sunday against the Shannon Blues.  Donegal got off to a great start and kept the pressure on for almost the entire game, coming away with their first win of the season and still in with a shout for the playoffs in August.

Ryan Rafferty and David Larkin contest the loose ball.
The name on everyone's lips after the first 15 minutes was Ryan Rafferty.  The Armagh native caused numerous problems for the Kerry defence with his speed and intelligent running, and his teammates played the ball well into his corner.  Rafferty followed his opening point with a goal after the Kerry defence was sliced open.  Shortly afterwards the Orchard county man was pulled from behind in the penalty area.  It was Gary Maguire who took the kick, but put it well over the bar as he got under it.  Shane Brennan stretched the Donegal lead to 6 points, it could have been 8, with Kerry yet to score.  The Kingdom eventually got into the game with a point after 13 minutes from Shane O'Callaghan followed by another from Aaron Hickey.  But Donegal's fast start had legs and the northerners quickly cancelled out the Kerry scores with points from Sean Kelly and Michael Cannon.  In addition to Rafferty in the corner, Aaron Connolly was a huge addition for Donegal in the middle of the field winning plenty of ball for the Tír Chonaill side.  Kerry got the goal back with a fisted effort from Darragh O'Brien, and O'Brien almost had a second but for a good save from goalkeeper, Sean Connolly.  At the break Donegal led by three points, 1-7 to 1-4 and one wondered would Kerry step up their game in the second period.

It was tough going at the other end for Niall Sheehy
and Kerry as Donegal played it tight.
Donegal added to the lead in the second half the sides traded points early, but Donegal slotted three points over the bar with no reply, Cannon capping off the salvo with 20 minutes gone.  It was only with defeat staring them in the face that Kerry came to life.  Joe Fitzpatrick led the charge with three points in quick succession.  The Cork native from St. Finbarr's tried to lift his teammates to a strong finish.  Kerry had a couple of chances steal a win after they crept within 2 points and Donegal had their backs to the wall.  One chance went over the bar and another into the keepers arms after being mishit.  Donegal off the mark with a win, and Kerry having to get most likely four points from three tough games to have hopes of making the playoffs.

Donegal:  S. Connolly, M. Canning, S. Tim, A. Williams, P. Moynagh, G. Gallagher, A. Connolly, S. Brennan, M. Cannon, P. Quigg, G. Maguire, S. Kelly, R. Raferty.  Kerry:  P. Bailey, S. Driscoll, D. Larkin, E, Mullan, D. Dunne, D. Clifford, I. Whelan, A. Hickey, J. Fitzpatrick, R. Kennedy, S. O'Callaghan, N. Sheehy, D. O'Brien.

By Rory O'Donnell

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