Dublin get league off to perfect start with victory over the Kingdom
Dublin 2-08 Kerry 1-10
The reigning National League champions Dublin got their 2014 campaign off to the perfect start when they claimed victory over Kerry at Croke Park tonight despite playing the final 25 minutes with 14 men.
Jim Gavin will be pleased to see some new faces stake a claim after a sluggish start that saw them trail by five points at one stage in the first half and also overcome a red card to set down an early season marker.
Kerry started the brighter and knocked over two early points before Kevin McManamon proved he can find the net just as easily when played from the start after a blistering run from Cormac Costello.
The Kingdom response was swift with Barry John Keane proving a real handful upfront before James O’Donoghue raised the green flag after 17 minutes.
The corner-forward, who scored an equally impressive goal in the corresponding fixture in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, broke clear to roof his powerful drive into the roof of the net.
In a frantic period of play Dublin hit back with three points in succession before a second goal had Hill 16 in full voice.
A poor kick out by Kerry’s Brendan Kealy was severely punished as Ciaran Reddin pumped the ball into Eoghan O’Gara who escaped the clutches of Mark Griffin to slide into the net.
Indeed Dublin should have a third immediately after when Kealy pushed a McManamon drive onto the post.
With the Kerry midfield holding their own at midfield and the inside forward line looking particularly dangerous they hit the final two points before the interval to take a single point lead into the dressing room.
Kerry made the brighter start again in the second half with the first two points and 10 minutes into the half and the men from the capital were down to 14 men as Sean George was sent off on his league debut for what appeared to be an off the ball incident.
The home side regrouped with Jack MCCaffrey brought in and they got to grips with Kerry's offensive game plan, with another sub Paul Mannion reducing the gap to the minimum with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Mannion was highly influential after replacing McManamon after 50 minutes as Kerry managed just one point following the red card and looked to be tiring in the final quarter.
Substitute Jack McCaffrey grabbed the winning scored with a fisted point after a great cross field ball by Ciaran Kilkenny to pick him out.
An entertaining game at Croke Park to get the 2014 National League underway without a black card.