Sunday 22 October 2017

Nervous Kerry stop the rot

Kerry 0-11 Down 1-5

The famine is over in the Kingdom and Eamonn Fitzmaurice can at last smile. No Kerry side has ever lost five NFL games on the trot and this edgy win over Down at the Austin Stack Park, should settle the Kerry nerves and now that they are back to winning ways, they can set about trying to stave of relegation.

The famine is over in the Kingdom and Eamonn Fitzmaurice can at last smile. No Kerry side has ever lost five NFL games on the trot and this edgy win over Down at the Austin Stack Park, should settle the Kerry nerves and now that they are back to winning ways, they can set about trying to stave of relegation.

After a lively opening, Kerry dominated the midfield exchanges with Anthony Maher and Johnny Buckley key figures and it was Buckley that opened the Kerry scoring with a free from his hands, after Declan O'Sullivan had been dragged down.

Kerry continued to dominate and the route one ball to Kieran Donaghy was causing Down defence problems. Buckley made it point number four after Declan O'Sullivan was fouled, following a superb surging run by Marc O'Se.

Down's shooting was wayward in the extreme with Donal O'Hare missing some key frees.

Declan O'Sullivan then chipped a beauty as Kerry led 0-5 to 0-0 and it took Down until the 18th minute to finally score when Connaire Harrison fired over after Kerry had failed to clear a free that was dropped short.

Further Kerry points from Declan O'Sullivan and marauding wing-back Brian Maguire saw Kerry move 0-7 to 0-1 clear and Down had by this taken called two of their half backline ashore.

However, Kerry's lack of confidence clearly showed on the restart when they conceded a goal and a point to O'Hare with the goal coming after a long Mark Poland delivery was not dealt with by the Kerry defence.

Kerry spurned a glorious chance of wrapping up their first brace of league points 58th minute when Darran O'Sullivan was taken down for a penalty but, for the second week in a row, Kerry missed with O'Sullivan driving it wide.

Points from Lyne and Brian McGuire steadied the Kerry nerves, but Down responded with points from Benny Coulter and Arthur McConville, kept them in the contest but Kerry held on to garner their first brace of league points.

Scorers – Kerry: J Buckley 0-5 (3f), Declan O'Sullivan 0-3, B McGuire 0-2, J Lyne 0-1. Down: D O'Hare 1-2 ( 0-1f), A McConville, C Harrison, B Coulter 0-1 each

Kerry: B Kealy, M O'Se, A O'Mahony, F Fitzgerald, K Young, B Maguire, A Maher, E Brosnan, J Lyne, D Walsh, J Buckley, Darran O'Sullivan, K Donaghy, Declan O'Sullivan. Sub: M Griffin for O'Mahony (inj 14), P Galvin for Brosnan (43), K O'Leary for Walsh (56), J O'Donoghue for Declan O'Sullivan (62)

Down: B McVeigh, D McCabe, B McArdle, R Boyle, R Mallon, A Carr, K Quinn, K King, K McKernan, C Laverty, M Poland, P McComsikey, D O Hare, C Harrison, B Coulter. Subs: D O'Hagan for Carr (22), D Turley for Mallon (32), A McConville for Harrison (45)

Referee: R Hickey (Clare)

Irish Independent

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