It was touch and go all the way through between the Gaels and Kerry, although Kerry may look at the result a point lost and the Gaels a point saved. The Gaels never led in the game, and apart from the final 10 minutes Kerry looked the side more likely to take both points. The Gaels made a push in the final stages of the game and salvaged a draw in a very exciting final few minutes.
|Kerry had the Gaels guessing for much of the game.|
The Gaels made a few changes following last week's defeat at the hands of Donegal, and it made little difference, for the first 30 minutes at least. Kerry's forward triangle of Croft, Glenn, and Sheehy worked well, while in defence Kerry got numbers behind the ball to deny any space to the Gaels forward line. A goal from a penalty got Kerry off to a great start. Glenn was fouled having been played through by Croft, and Croft put the shot away well. Murt Condron and Glenn followed with points before the Gaels got on the scoreboard through Dave McCormack. The Gaels did not get many openings, and when they did the effort was often wayward. Kerry were also guilty of a handful of decent chances going astray, and relied on the shooting of Croft to make their advantage count on the scoreboard. But for Eoin Connolly the Gaels could have found themselves further behind. The Leitir Mor man was called upon to pull off two fantastic saves. Connolly first got down well to save a Croft effort and then a minute later saved from Niall Sheehy as Kerry carved open the Gaels defence on two occasions. John Egan and Calum McCormack managed points for the Gaels before the break to keep the westerners in touch.
|The westerners almost stole it in the end.|
It was a 1-4 to 0-3 Kerry lead to start the second half. There continued to be plenty of chances wasted at both ends, with the Gaels being slightly the more guilty party. After the teams traded two points each, the Gaels began to find their feet. Calum McCormack looked more comfortable with the field in Canton and the spaces began to open up in the Kerry back line. It looked as if fatigue was setting in to the Kerry side, and midfielder Ian Whelan had to leave the field with an injury to compound matters for the Kingdom. McCormack and Conal Jones pointed to rein in the Kerry lead to two with 10 minutes left. Glenn put a fantastic point over the bar as Kerry tried to hold on to their advantage. The Gaels pressed ahead, and with the introduction of Ian Burke and Noel Graham looked like they might sneak a win. Burke pointed twice, one being a leveling score as the clock hit time. Kerry won a free in injury time that Croft pointed in his nonchalent style to put his side to put Kerry on to the good. The Gaels got one more chance, and McCormack converted with the final action of the game to salvage a point for his side.
Kerry: L. Steacy, M. Godley, A. Fitzgerald, P. Devane, S. Briggs, M. Condron,
Whelan, D. Foley, E. McGreevy, G. Glenn, J. Fitzpatrick, R. Croft, N.
Sheehy. Gaels: E. Connolly, M. Shanahan, J. O'Donoghue, S.
Conneely, C. Daly, C. Killeen, J. Barrett, C. Jones, G. Leech, C. McCormack, J.
Egan, D. McCormack, C. Mulkerrins.
By Rory O'Donnell