First half strikes put paid to fighting Derry display
KERRY'S hurlers continued their march through the All-Ireland qualifier series with a hard-earned win over Derry in Tullamore yesterday.
Although the Kerrymen, as expected, sealed a meeting with Limerick in the next round, they didn't have matters all their own way against a Derry outfit which put up a brave bid for glory.
After Kerry opened up a comfortable 2-8 to 0-6 half-time advantage having played with the wind at their backs, it looked dicey for Derry's prospects.
However, they might well have pulled off a major surprise had they not wasted so many scoring opportunities when wind-assisted in the second half.
Nine wides in that second period proved costly for Derry, especially when most of their scoring eggs were in the one basket - centre half-forward and captain Oliver Collins accounted for 0-15 of their total.
His free-taking was deadly accurate and he failed with only one attempt from 15 placed balls.
After the sides were level three times early on, Kerry too had their scoring troubles as they amassed 10 wides in the first half but two late goals from Michael Slattery and John Mike Dooley in the 34th and 36th were decisive, sending them in eight points to the good at the interval.
With Collins firing over points from all distances, Derry kept in touch throughout the second half and when full-forward Michael Conway raced through for a 58th minute goal, it left just three points between the sides.
Although the Northerners played their hearts out in search of an equaliser, their lack of scoring power told against them.
Kerry were without the injured Shane Brick but they had the game's outstanding performer in wily corner-forward Michael Slattery. He accounted for 1-8 of their total and was a constant thorn in the side of the Derry defence. Pat O'Connell and John Mike Dooley also knew how to take their scores, while the Cronin brothers, Aidan and Pat, controlled midfield throughout.
In addition to the free-scoring Oliver Collins, a hard-working Derry side had useful performers in full-back Emmet McKeever and their half-back trio of Benny Ward, Dominick Magill and Peter O'Kane.
While the Kingdom will be delighted with another championship success, they will have to step up considerably on this performance if they are to trouble Limerick.
SCORERS - Kerry: M Slattery 1-8 (6f, 1 '65); J M Dooley 1-1; P O'Connell 0-3; G O'Brien, K O'Sullivan, B Brick 0-1 each. Derry: O Collins 0-15 (14f); M Conway 1-0; L Hinphey 0-1.
KERRY - J Healy; T Cronin, A Healy, I Brick; J McCarthy, C Flaherty, C Harris; A Cronin, P Cronin; L Boyle, B Brick, P O'Connell; J M Dooley, G O'Brien, M Slattery. Subs: K O'Sullivan for Boyle (46), Twomey for McCarthy (52), M Lucid for A Cronin (65).
DERRY - K Stevenson; K Hinphey, E McKeever, C Brunton; B Ward, D Magill, P O'Kane; A McCrystal, G Biggs; L Hinphey, O Collins, R Convery; D McGrellis, M Conway, C McKeever. Subs: J O'Dwyer for C McKeever (32), G Brunton for Ward (36), P Cartin for C Brunton (46), M Collins for O'Dwyer (56).
REF - E Morris (Dublin).