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O'Connor relieved as Kingdom get off the mark against Derry

DEFENDING champions Kerry produced a dominant second-half display in Tralee to claim their first points in this year's league campaign with a 0-15 to 1-9 win over Derry.

Kerry boss Jack O'Connor was pleased with the win: "It was important to get a win on the board and it validates what we are doing in training.

"While I would say that relegation is still a live possibility, at least we are off the mark and we can build on that."

O'Connor agreed that Kerry struggled early on and believes that the strength of the panel helped to fashion this win. He added: "Young Kieran O'Leary came in, and contributed in the last 10 minutes. Just glad that we got through, as it would have been a tough prospect heading to play Galway without any points."

Derry hit the opening two points and while Kerry replied with four straight scores, Eoin Bradley's goal put the Oak Leafers ahead again on 16 minutes.

The Northerners led 1-6 to 0-6 at the break and were still three ahead after 45 minutes.

However, Kerry then hit six straight points -- including a Colm Cooper brace -- and they were deserved winners.

Paddy Bradley hit six points for Derry on his return to inter- county action and it was far from being a totally dispiriting day for manager Damien Cassidy.