Donegal 3-14 Kerry 3-13
It was classic championship football as Kerry pushed Donegal all the way in a battle of third and sixth placed teams. After the first 20 minutes Donegal looked as though they would come through the game at a canter, but three second half goals from Kerry had them in a one point lead late in the game and an incredible upset looked likely. To their credit, Donegal maintained their composure to level the scores and then take advantage of a last minute free to emerge one point winners.
|Sean Boyle accounted for 2 Donegal goals.|
Donegal’s forward line looked rampant at times in the first half, and on occasion the northerners returned Kerry kick outs back to score. Steven Griffin tallied a goal after rounding the keeper, and a good handful of points, while his cohorts, Sean Boyle, Ryan Murray, and Daniel McLaughlin turned the Kerry back line inside out on occasion. Boyle accounted for a goal to start the game after turning his man and finishing to the far corner.
Kerry had to be resourceful and tried to deploy their players as best they could. There were a few well taken scores for the kingdom. Joe Fitzpatrick, Robbie Croft, and Owen McGreevey tallied excellent points. Having spent much of the first half on the back foot and with the game looking like it could slip past them, Kerry ended the half brightly and were hanging on. The game could have been out of sight, but the Kingdom trailed by just the two goals at the break.
|Steven Griffin rounds Lee Stacey to goal for Donegal.|
Kerry kept it interesting in the second half. An Owen McGreavey goal with about five minutes gone brought Kerry within four points. The teams proceeded to swap points. Kerry were able to find openings in the Donegal rearguard, and on two occasions could have netted a second. Joe O’Shea’s shot was saved by Eamon McCarney and a second ended up over the bar from Graham Glenn. Kerry eventually leveled the game with 10 minutes to go. McGreavey created the overlap with a pacy run and Glenn was tripped in the box as he tried to round McCarney. Croft took the penalty and put it in the corner.
The game came to a rousing climax as it could have gone either way in the final 10 minutes. There was notable anticipation around Canton after a second Croft goal. The Dubliner may have been a little selfish as the obvious choice was a handpass to Glenn, but Croft took matters into his own hands and finished into the corner to put Kerry a goal to the good. Donegal, however, swept upfield from the kickout and moving the ball at speed and in clinical fashion, leveled after Boyle palmed into the net to level the scores again. The teams remained tied after trading points with the 60 minutes played. The end came after a Kerry free was put wide from about 40 yards by Croft, and Griffin pointed from about 25 for Donegal with virtually the last kick of the game. Cruel disappointment for Kerry, and relief for Donegal to hold off a gallant Kerry challenge.
Donegal: E. McCarney, M. Canney, J. O’Connor, S. Doherty, G. Gallagher, C. Healy, M. Smyth, C. Thompson, G. Clancy, S. Griffin, D. McLaughlin, R. Murray, S. Boyle. Kerry: L. Stacey, M. Godley, A. Fitzgerald, J. O’Shea, S. Briggs, C. Moriarty, D. Foley, M. Condron, O. McGreavey, I. Whelan, J. Fitzpatrick, G. Glenn, R. Croft.
By Rory O'Donnell