Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday May 24: Senior Football Championship - Galway v Kerry

Kerry 1-13 Galway 0-12

Galway and Kerry opened the 2014 football championship on a bright and breezy Saturday afternoon.  It was an exciting affair, with Galway nursing a 2 point lead late into the game only for Kerry to finish strong and pull out a 4 point victory.  Kerry looked unsure of themselves for most of the first 50 minutes, with Graham Glenn and Robbie Croft keeping their ship afloat for much of the game.  Danny Reddin, who was very involved for Galway, had the leave the fray with 8 minutes to go, which did not help the Brighton club's cause, and at the same time Kerry's other players lifted their game to deliver the points.

Eoghan Kavanagh and Galway had it going early against Kerry.
Galway had the upper hand in the first half, and Kerry were forced to make some adjustments earlier than probably anticipated.  Andy Glennon started at corner forward for Galway and the big Ballinlough man had the Kerry rearguard at sixes and sevens in the early going.  After Kerry took a 2 points to one lead, Galway popped over 4 points in a row.  JJ Doyle, Kevin Cummins, Doyle again, and Glennon had the final touches.  With Galway cleaning up the breaks in midfield and winning possession in the half back line, Kerry saw the need to make some changes.  Center back Aaron Fitzgerald was moved to corner back to take care of the Glennon half way through the first period.  In addition, at the other end of the field, Lee Steacy came on to try and help generate something at the scoring end for Kerry.  Croft accounted for two points towards the end of the half, but  Galway continued to enjoy most of the possession.  On a couple of occasions had the goal in their sights, but could not get a shot off.   There were also a handful of missed chances for points and Galway would have been justified to be a little disappointed to hold just a two point lead at the break.

Kerry left it late to pull out the win.
Following the restart, Galway continued to play the better football.  Danny Reddin at center forward saw a lot of possession, and the midfield of Eoghan Kavanagh and JJ Doyle continued to keep the ball moving in Galway's favour.  Kerry, for their part, relied on Glenn to get things going, and Croft at corner forward for the scoring outlet.  Anything good that happened for the Kingdom involved either, or both, of these men.  The 2 point gap in Galway's favour held late into the game.  Cummins (2) and Glennon put a handful of magnificent scores over the bar, while Kerry kept touch through Steacy and Croft (2).  Things changed in the final 10 minutes.  Danny Reddin withdrew from play due to back problems, which coincided with things changing dramatically in favour of Kerry.  The Kingdom started to get more players involved.  Joe Fitzpatrick, who had largely been anonymous for the first 50 minutes, put 3 points on the trot over the bar, and Derrick Nolan became more instrumental in the game.  With Kerry now finishing strong, and now holding a 2 point lead, a goal came that sealed the win.  Nolan finished a sweeping move to net from the edge of the small square.  There were some scuffles towards the end, Joe O'Shea and JJ Doyle were issued red cards as a result.  At that stage the game was beyond the reach of Galway, while Kerry are still unbeaten in 2014.    

Kerry:  B. Monagle, M. Godley, J. O'Shea, P. Devane, A. Fitzgerald, M. Moriarty, I. Whelan, D. Nolan, N. Sheehy, G. Glenn, J. Fitzpatrick, R. Croft, K. McCorty.  Galway:  D. Bindon, P. Cummins, D. Redmond, G. Lundy, M. Ryan, S. O'Donnell, E. Kavanagh, JJ Doyle, J. Kehoe, D. Reddin, T. Gallagher, A. Glennon, K. Cummins.
By Rory O'Donnell

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