O'Connell steps up for Kerry
A 12-point haul from young Darragh O'Connell and two late goals from James Flaherty and James McCarthy were enough to see John Meyler's Kerry past Derry at Woodmount, Co Roscommon.
It means that Kerry will play in Division 2 next season but this was a close-fought encounter that saw Derry fight back from being eight points down to close the gap to just three points with five minutes remaining. It then took a superb goal by Flaherty and another minutes later from the veteran McCarthy to ensure a thrilling Kerry victory.
Derry did not help their cause when they missed two penalties, both saved by Kerry 'keeper John Brendan O'Halloran. Kerry suffered a blow before throw-in when their top scorer Shane Brick was ruled out. However, Brick's deputy from placed balls, 19-year-old O'Connell, was unerring, scoring nine first-half points, eight from 80 yards plus.
Kerry raced 0-5 to 0-1 clear early on but their gallop was halted in the 15th minute when Gary O'Brien was red-carded. They led by 0-12 to 0-5 at half-time but Derry fought back in the second half and the free-taking of Ruairi Convery and a 52nd-minute goal by Paddy McCloskey saw them close the gap.
Scorers -- Kerry: D O'Connell 0-12 (9f, 1 '65); J Flaherty 1-1; J McCarthy 1-0; J Egan 0-2; T Murnane, M Conway and M Boyle 0-1 each. Derry: R Convery 0-5 (4f, 1 '65); P McCloskey 1-2; M Craig 0-3; P Henry 0-2f; K Hinphey 0-2; O McCloskey 0-1.
Kerry: JB O'Halloran; C Harris, A Healy, J Fitzgerald; J Godley, L Boyle, T Murnane; E Sheehy, J Griffin; J Egan, M Boyle, D O'Connell; M Conway, G O'Brien, JM Dooley. Subs: J Flaherty for JM Dooley, J McCarthy for E Sheehy, J Casey for J Egan.
Derry: D McDermott; S McCullagh, E McKeever, R McCloskey; A McCloskey, L Hinphey, C Brunton; P O'Kane, K Hinphey; M Craig, R Convery, P McCloskey; P Henry, M Conway, F Kelly. Subs: O McCloskey for F Kelly, S Henry for C Brunton, S McNicholl for P Henry
Referee: A Kelly (Galway)