Shannon Blues 2-15 Kerry 4-9
Kerry finally came away with a reward for their efforts after a tremendously exciting game of football. Conditions were poor following a night and morning of heavy rain, however the teams coped well and there was some great football and scores, with the lead changing hands and momentum swinging from one side to the other over the course of the 60 minutes. Kerry could have won it with some chances for an insurance score in injury time, however the Blues took advantage of the opportunity and Denis McElligott put the leveling point over the bar with the final kick of the game.
|Dennis McElligott had the final say with the equalizing point on Sunday.|
Kerry, as they have done in their games so far this season, took the break with a lead. It was a five point cushion that they started the second half with. Three goals, one each from Robbie Croft, Shane O’Callaghan, and Phil O’Sullivan, put Kerry in the driver’s seat after the Blues had rattled off two quick points to open the game.
The Blues took the opportunity of a penalty to close what was a seven point gap. Trevor Wallace did the honors from the spot, and was soon followed by Darrage Roche with a second Blues goal. Kerry settled after being hit with the second goal to put some points over the bar, the pick of which was a Maurice Fitzgeraldesque effort from Croft from the sideline. O’Sullivan’s goal, Kerry’s third, restored the Kerry advantage to see them into half time on top by five points.
The Blues picked up a head of steam in the second half. Greg Horan was the key in the middle of the field. Kerry were unable to cope with the Austin Stacks man and the Blues enjoyed the vast majority of the possession. The Blues forwards made hay with the bounty of possession that came their way and outscored Kerry by 10 points to one over the first 17 minutes of the second period. Roche put a couple of beautiful efforts over the bar, Denis McElligott two from the wing, and Padraig O’Shea from wing back also got his name on the scoresheet.
|The Kerry corner backs were under pressure for much of the second half.|
Kerry were struggling to move the ball and resorted to the short kickouts to try and find a way past what was like a solid Blues wall. The Kingdom eventually had some success, a Croft free and a point from play following a botched short kickout brought Kerry within two points. A fourth goal for Kerry from O’Callaghan gave Kerry a one point advantage heading into the last 5 minutes as fortune favoured the men in green and gold once again. The sides traded points, Dwyer leveled for the Blues before Croft got Kerry back up by one. Again the Blues leveled and Kerry got back ahead, this time it was Sean O’Driscoll. After Kerry failed to take advantage of two great chances for an insurance point the Blues salvaged the point with a Denis McElligott score to finish the game and on the balance of things, a fair result. The draw with the Blues will provide Kerry with some belief heading into four critical championship games where a couple of wins will be needed, and might not do the Blues any harm either.
Kerry: S. Enright, J. Barry, D. Larkin, R. O’Driscoll, L. Healy, J. O’Shea, D. Foley, E. Mullan, P. O’Sullivan, S. O’Driscoll, J. O’Keefe, R. Croft, S. O’Callaghan. Blues: D. O’Brien, T. Wallace, C. Jordan, P. O’Shea, L. O’Connell, D. Clifford, W. Guthrie, G. Horan, D. McElligott, K. Hurley, D. Wallace, D. Roche, B. O’Dwyer.
By Rory O'Donnell