Sunday 25 September 2016

National League Round-Up: Rossies upset struggling Kerry, clinical Donegal trounce Rebels

Sean McGoldrick

Published 07/02/2016 | 16:11

Roscommon manager Fergal O'Donnell celebrates at the final whistle after victory over Kerry.
Roscommon manager Fergal O'Donnell celebrates at the final whistle after victory over Kerry.
Sean McDermott of Roscommon in action against Tommy Walsh, left, and Barry John Keane, Kerry.

Last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists Kerry are rooted to the foot of Division 1 of the Allianz League after suffering a shock defeat at Fitzgerald Stadium to newcomers Roscommon.

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It looks like Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side faced another long battle against relegation after this latest setback.

There are now three top fight counties, Kerry, Mayo and Down with no points after two rounds of the competition. But the problem for the Kingdom is that they have only two more home games.

The win is a massive boost to Roscommon and their joint managers Kevin McStay and Fergal McDonnell. On their debut back in the top flight they suffered an agonising defeat to Monaghan last weekend when they conceded 1-2 in injury time.

Sean McDermott of Roscommon in action against Tommy Walsh, left, and Barry John Keane, Kerry.
Sean McDermott of Roscommon in action against Tommy Walsh, left, and Barry John Keane, Kerry.

It looked like it would be another long day at the office when Kerry – who lost to Dublin in the first round – hit three early points.

But Roscommon then hit the next six scores before Stephen O'Brien grabbed a Kerry goal which enabled the home side lead at the break.

But Roscommon stuck to their task in the second half. Cathal Cregg gave them the lead in the first quarter before being black carded. But they held their nerve with Enda Smith extending their advantage.

When the final whistle sounded the visiting fans celebrated the county's first competitive win over Kerry at senior level for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, Donegal and Monaghan have joined Dublin at the top of Division 1 after maintaining their one hundred percent start of the 2016 season.

Rory Gallagher's Donegal have certainly hit the new season running. For the second successive weekend they chalked up a big score.

Visitors Cork had demolished Mayo in the first round but it proved a different story when they hit the road. A Martin Reilly goal enabled Donegal to jump into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead.

The visitors rallied briefly with a Donal Og Hodnett goal but Donegal were back in control by half time and they took the visitors apart in the second half with another goal from Odran MacNiallais.

Even though Cork tacked on late point Donegal still had ten points to spare at the finish.

It was a tighter contest in Clones between Ulster rivals Monaghan and Down. The visitors held the initiative early on but once the Ulster title holders found their rhythm they controlled the match and always looked like winning.

In Division 2 Tyrone continued to set the pace by securing a crucial away win against Galway at Pearse Stadium. A first half goal from Tiernan McCann helped the visitors grabbed the initiative and although Damien Comer hit a Galway goal in the third quarter it wasn't enough to prevent Mickey Harte's side from maintaining their one percent record in the series.

Meanwhile, Fermanagh gave themselves a real chance of staying in Division 2 when they ended Meath's six match unbeaten run in Enniskillen. The visitors' caused wasn't helped when midfielder Andrew Tormey received his marching orders after picking up a black card following an earlier booking. Pete McGrath's side eventually run out four point winners.

Kildare continue to set the pace in Division 3 beating Offaly and Longford, Sligo and Tipperary all made home advantage count with wins over Limerick, Westmeath and Clare respectively.

Louth and Wicklow are the pace setters in Division 4 – both had away wins over Waterford and Leitrim respectively while Antrim also maintained their one hundred percent record by beating Wexford at Corrigan Park in Belfast.

Results:

Allianz FL Division 1

Donegal 2-14; Cork 1-7

Roscommon 0-14; Kerry 1-10

Monaghan 0-13 Down 0-11

Allianz FL Division 2

Fermanagh 0-10; Meath 0-6

Tyrone 1-11; Galway 1-9

Allianz FL Division 3

Kildare 1-12; Offaly 1-8

Longford 0-13; Limerick 1-8

Sligo 1-11 Westmeath 1-10

Tipperary 2-7; Clare 1-7

Allianz FL Division 4

Antrim 1-8 Wexford 0-7

Wicklow 0-10; Leitrim 1-6

Louth 1-10; Waterford 1-9

Kehoe Cup SH Final

Kildare 3-15; NUI Maynooth 3-5

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