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Kingdom expose gulf in class

KERRY handed Tipperary a 17-point hammering in yesterday's one-sided Munster SFC first round match in Killarney.

Only two of Tipp's points came from play, and with Limerick also managing just a paltry eight points against Cork the night before, and a cumulative loss of 35 points between them, Tipperary manager Peter Creedon wasn't hiding from the harsh reality.

"Mayo did a nice number on Galway last week and Dublin might do similar to certain teams, there's a big gap between the top five or six teams," he acknowledged.

Tipp weren't helped by losing Alan Maloney to injury by half-time and Barry Grogan to a second yellow card in the 48th minute but this was particularly disappointing given that Creedon's side had pushed Kerry to within six points last year.

The Kingdom showed a renewed hunger and hard-nosed focus yesterday and can no longer be regarded as lying in the long grass this summer.

The statistics alone spoke volumes – 2-15 from play and 11 different scorers.

Anthony Maher and Johnny Buckley excelled at midfield and Colm Cooper, in his role at centre-forward, orchestrated everything like a quarter-back.

James O'Donoghue, whose form in training is reportedly keeping Darran O'Sullivan out of the starters, showed some great pace and veterans like Paul Galvin, Tomás ó Sé and Kieran Donaghy showed the class of old in an impressive team performance.

There was a scare when Gooch hobbled briefly after one challenge late in the game.

But with Eoin Brosnan reportedly ready to make his return, and home advantage again next Saturday, it looks like an unenviable trip for Waterford.