Paddy Andrews and Paul Mannion impress as Dublin secure win over struggling Kingdom
Dublin 2-14 Kerry 0-14
Dublin got their quest for a fourth successive Allianz football League title off to the best possible start with a comprehensive win over Kerry in Croke Park.
A powerful second half display by the All-Ireland champions, during which they outscored Kerry by 2-7 to 0-7, delighted Dublin supporters in the crowd of 30,107 as Jim Gavin’s men flashed out a clear signal that their ambitions are as fine-tuned as at any time in recent seasons.
Kerry were seeking a measure of revenge for their All-Ireland final defeat by Dublin but were hit by two second half goals from Paddy Andrews and a Diarmuid Connolly penalty.
Man-of-the-match, Andrews pounced for the first goal in 43rd minute and Connolly powered home the second in the 51st minute after James McCarthy was hauled down in the Kerry square.
Those two goals gave Dublin a cushion which sustained them comfortably to the end.
Andrews scored 1-4 from open play while Dean Rock kicked 0-7, 0-4 from frees on a night in which the depth of Dublin’s squad was a hugely significant factor.
It was level (0-7 each) at half-time, a rather unsatisfactory situation for Dublin who, with more clinical finishing, would have had three goals.
Tomas Brady shot wide under pressure in the 13th minute and Kerry goalkeeper, Brendan Kealy later pulled off two excellent saves from Andrews (21st minute) and Rock (26th minute).
Kerry had goal chances too but Stephen Cluxton was equal to the task on two occasions, the first from Donnchadh Walsh, who didn’t connect properly and later from Barry John Keane.
Dublin settled quicker than Kerry and raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead in the first quarter. Paul Mannion, back in the team after a year-long absence, was especially prominent while Andrews was a menacing presence too.
Kerry’s shooting was poor in the opening stages but they gradually settled to the task and kicked some excellent points in the final five minutes of the half, with David Moran bringing the sides level late on.
Kerry stayed with Dublin early in the second half but had no answer once the champions struck for those precious goals.
Dublin: S Cluxton; J Cooper, M Fitzsimons, David Byrne (Naomh Olaf); Davy Byrne (Ballymun Kickhams), C O’Sullivan, J Small; J McCarthy; D Bastick; T Brady (0-1), D Connolly (1-0 pen), C Kilkenny; P Mannion (0-1), D Rock (0-7, 4f), P Andrews (1-4).
Subs: J McCaffrey for Davy Byrne (41), E O Conghaile for Bastick (49), C Costello (0-1) for Brady (52), C Reddin for Kilkenny (57), D Daly for O’Sullivan (61). C O’Callaghan for Mannion (67).
Kerry: B Kealy; B O Beaglaoich, M Griffin, S Enright; P Murphy, K Young, F Fitzgerald; D Moran (0-2, 1f), J Buckley (0-1); S O’Brien (0-1), D O’Sullivan (0-3), D Walsh (0-1); BJ Keane (0-4, 4f), T Walsh (0-1), P O’Connor.
Subs: P Kilkenny for Griffin (41), J Lyne for D Walsh (black card 45), B O’Sullivan (0-1) for Buckley (52), P O’Connor for Fitzgerald (52), G O’Grady for Keane (57), C Cox for T Walsh (65).
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)