Kingdom labour to defeat Down
Kerry 2-17 Down 2-10 Christy Ring Cup- Rd 1
Kerry defeated a committed Down side as expected in Tralee - but it was a far from vintage performance from the Kingdom, who were probably still on a high after shocking Antrim to win promotion to Division 1B three weeks ago.
Down made a flying start, racing 1-3 to 0-1 clear inside the opening ten minutes, with Danny Toner getting the goal, followed by points from Conor Woods, James Coyle and Toner.
Kerry responded well; three long-range points, two from midfielder Patrick Kelly and one from centre-back Darran Dineen, quickly followed by superbly executed Padraig Boyle goal, levelled the contest by the 13th minute.
Once Shane Nolan gave Kerry the lead, they never looked like losing, but Down, hunting in packs at the back, and dropping two extra men back, made life very difficult for a home forward line to function as a unit.
Down had plenty of possession but Kerry controlled the second half without ever hitting any great heights.
But Down may yet have a say in the outcome of this year's Christy Ring Cup.
Scorers - Kerry: S Nolan 0-8 (7fs), P Boyle 1-1, P Kelly 0-4, C Harty 1-0, D Dineen, M O'Leary, J Egan, D Butler 0-1 each. Down: D Toner 1-3, J Coyle 0-4 (2fs), C Egan 1-1, C Woods (f), M McCullagh 0-1 each.
Kerry - S Murphy; D Fitzell, P Costello, K Carmody; S Weir, D Dineen, D Collins; J Griffin, P Kelly; M O'Leary, S Nolan, C Harty; M Boyle, P Boyle, J Egan. Subs: J O'Neill for M Boyle (h/t), T Casey for S Weir (47), D Butler for J Egan (61), A Royle for M O'Leary (67), R Horgan for D Fitzelle (69).
Down - S Keith; C O'Neill, C Cassidy, M Conlan; M McCullagh, P Flynn, D Hughes; S Dineen, M Hughes; C Woods, G Johnson, D McManus; M Magee, D Toner, J Coyle. Subs: E Sands for M Magee (24), C Bailie for D McManus (43), C Egan for G Johnson (47), P Sheehan for M McCullagh (57), M Nicholson for J Coyle (63).
Ref - J Keane (Galway)