Monday, July 13, 2015

Senior Football: Kerry v Donegal

Kerry 1-11 Donegal 2-11

Donegal held off the challenge of a game Kerry team in the intense heat in Canton.  Kerry started the game much faster than their opponents, however, Donegal lasted the long distance contest, and came out on top one goal winners.  Kerry held a two point lead at the break, however, Paddy McBride’s early second half goal put Donegal on top.  Kerry managed to pull level again one more time, but could not repeat the feat as Donegal finished stronger as time ran down.

Kerry Keeper Stephen Enright and Donegaal's Nicky Kelly - but where is the ball?

Kerry got out of the blocks quickly with a five points to no score start to the game.  Robbie Croft accounted for the first 3, 2 frees and one from play – a fine effort from out on the wing.  Kerry were playing at a blistering pace and in the ascendancy in the early going, and almost had a goal, however Shane O’Callaghan’s initial effort was blocked and second went over the bar.

Emlyn Mulligan shoots for Donegal.
After a handful of missed opportunities, Donegal finally got on the scoreboard with a Nicky Kelly goal, who was at the far post to pick up on a rebound from Mal McDermott shot.  Kerry corner back, David Larkin, straight away made a massive run upfield and after a couple of give and go’s, cancelled out the goal right away.  Donegal inched their way back into it as the initiative swung their way.  Three frees from Mulligan reduced the gap to two as Kerry were forced into fouling to keep the opposition at bay.  The sides traded scores to finish out the half with Kerry on top, and hanging on, 1-7 to 1-5.

The second half saw Donegal turn the tables early, a Paddy McBride goal put the northerners into the lead.  Kerry had to work hard to try and move the ball into scoring position as most players were on defensive duties as Donegal attacked in numbers.  With the half forwards playing deep, options were few and far between when in possession.  Kerry did manage to generate a handful of chances, the best of which fell to Sean Driscoll who blazed wide.  Donegal took their chance right away  with a Rory Kavanagh point followed by McDermott.

From that point on Kerry defended in depth and tried to counterattack, however, with one forward man covered by multiple Donegal defenders it was an arduous task.  The Kerry men hung in though and kept themselves in with a shout with two points from O’Callaghan.  Donegal still had matters under control however.  Gavin Gallagher, Sean Doherty, and Mulligan pointed down the stretch to keep Donegal’s noses ahead, while Kerry’s efforts at pulling off a late goal from high balls were well dealt with by sure hands in the Donegal back line.  Kerry badly in need of a win to keep hope alive in their next outing against Galway in 2 weeks time.

Kerry:  S. Enright, D. Larkin, M. Murphy, R. Driscoll, L. Healy, J. Barry, P. O’Sullivan, E. Mullan, S. Driscoll, R. Kennedy, J. O’Shea, R. Croft, S. O’Callaghan.  Donegal:  M. Boyle, M. Canny, C. Burke, S. Doherty, T. McCleneghan, G. Gallagher, M. McDermott, R. Kavanagh, P. McAleer, N. Kelly, P. McBride, M. Smyth, E. Mulligan.

By Rory O'Donnell

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