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Few signs of shadow boxing as East Kerry best Dingle in cracking contest to top Group 2

Goals from David Clifford and Ruairí Murphy help favourites East Kerry to a merited victory over Dingle in Páirc an Ághasaigh on Sunday afternoon


David Clifford scored 1-4 for East Kerry as they saw off Dingle in Páirc an Ághasaigh on Sunday afternoon Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

David Clifford scored 1-4 for East Kerry as they saw off Dingle in Páirc an Ághasaigh on Sunday afternoon Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

David Clifford scored 1-4 for East Kerry as they saw off Dingle in Páirc an Ághasaigh on Sunday afternoon Photo by Brendan Moran / Sportsfile



Dingle 1-11

East Kerry 2-13

We came expecting shadow boxing, what we got was a little more than that.

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Did both sides show their full hands? Even with full strength sides on view somehow we doubt it and, yet, both showed enough to give us a proper contest between the two favourites for the championship. 

The second half, much more so than the first half, was a proper pulsating championship affair. Still even in the first half there was enough of a competitive edge to make it interesting.

Certainly if and when these two sides come face-to-face again both sets of management teams will have learned at least a little something about the other and, for the neutrals, what we saw in Páirc an Ághasaigh on Sunday afternoon will be quietly encouraging.

The only real drawback here were late injuries to Paul Geaney and Barry ‘Dan’ O’Sullivan. Both men are absolutely central to the west Kerry men’s cause, to lose one or either for the quarter-finals would represent something of a hammer blow.

For their part East Kerry continue to showcase a whole lot of what’s good about the game. Take the game-winning goal for Ruairí Murphy, the Glenflesk man’s finish after an assist by Dara Roche was just top class, sweetly struck, rising all the way to the top of Gavin Curran’s net.

Just when you think it’s all about the Clifford brothers – David and Paudie delivered 1-7 between them for Jerry O’Sullivan’s men – up pops a Murphy or a Dónal ‘Down’ O’Sullivan to remind you of the depth they possess. 

For all that the way Dingle were able to hang on in there with them – even if ultimately unsuccessful on this occasion – will give all in the club and parish great hope ahead of the big stuff down the line.

From the off it didn’t take long for a competitive flavour to the contest to become apparent. True enough, it did look for the briefest of spells as though East Kerry would cut the home side asunder, David Clifford with 1-1 in the space of sixty seconds between the second and third minutes will have that effect.

Quickly enough, though, Pádraig Corcoran’s side got to grips with the situation, with Mikey Geaney very much steadying the ship in his customary calm and composure.

Dingle had been quite open looking in those early exchanges, emphatically proven when Ruairí Murphy picked out Clifford for the game’s opening score and goal just two minutes in (Paudie Clifford winning a turnover in the build-up).

Clifford’s goal was text-book, cool and classy and surely mildly terrifying for the Dingle bench watching on. When this guy turns it on, he’s next to near unstoppable as he proved a minute later pointing (after another Murphy assist) to send his side four clear.

The footballer-of-the-year elect then assisted Dara Roche for a shot at goal, blocked by Gavin H Curran and with that Dingle began to show some real resolve, batting their way back into contention.

Clifford’s early goal, of course, remained the difference between the sides pretty much all the way through the half, but still Dingle weren’t cowed by it. They weren’t afraid of showing their hand either.

They finally got on the scoreboard eight minutes in with a Barry ‘Dan’ O’Sullivan free. After a quarter of an hour it was a three point game following a second Barry ‘Dan’ free – 0-2 to 1-2. Dingle did briefly bring it back to a two-point game with Tom O’Sullivan assisting Dylan Geaney for a real gem.

The balance of play, nevertheless, remained with the favourites who with points from Chris O’Donoghue (who played a great game both offensively and defensively) and Paudie Clifford rounded out the half nicely.

At 1-4 to 0-4 at the break, it was admittedly a low-scoring contest, but the second half opened out wonderfully. Dingle starting blisteringly with a pair of points- from their main man, Barry ‘Dan’ O’Sullivan.

Still for all Dingle’s progress, East Kerry just seemed to have that ability to keep them at arm’s length as 34 and 35th minute points from Roche and Paul Murphy proved.

With less than fifteen minutes to go East Kerry were out to four points clear (following another point by David Clifford), 0-8 to 1-9. Dingle, though, never gave up and when Barry ‘Dan’ won a turn over on 48 minutes he shipped it to Paul Geaney for a brilliant goal (the Kerry star slamming home down the throat of his inter-county colleague, Shane Ryan). 1-8 to 1-9.

It wasn’t undeserved either for the home side. Dingle were well in this game as we’ve said. All the same East Kerry always had that ability to respond and with a Paudie Clifford point had it back to a two point game just three minutes later.

Dingle did manage to bring it back down to a single point game again on 53 minutes through Dylan Geaney (a beauty off his left), but when Roche fed Murphy for that goal on 54 minutes it was hard to see a way back into it for Dingle, 1-9 to 2-10.

The home side did fashion an outside chance of a goal for Dylan Geaney, but it was always on the optimistic side and Ryan was more than a match for it. Two injury time points from Dónal ‘Down’ O’Sullivan and Roche sealed the deal and helped East Kerry to top the group.

The race for the Bishop Moynihan just got a little more interesting. Watch this space.

DINGLE: Gavin H Ó Corráin, Conchubhar Ó Flannúra, Conchubhar Ó Súilleabháin, Pádraig Ó Conchúir, Naill Ó Géibheannaigh, Tomás Ó Súileabháin (0-1f), Mícheál Ó Flannúra, Barra Ó Súilleabháin (0-5, 2f), Liam Ó Conchúir, Micheál Ó Géibheannaigh, Rudhán Mac Cártaigh, Seoirse Durrant, Dylan Ó Géibheannaigh (0-3), Pól Ó Géibheannaigh (1-1), Maitiú Ó Flaitheartaigh (0-1) Subs: Brian Ó Conchúir for C Ó Súilleabháin (inj), 27, Darragh Ó Súilleabháin for L O’Connor, 59, Seán Óg Ó Mórain for R McCarthy, 59, Pádraig Mac an tSithigh for N Ó Géibheannaigh, 59, Cathal Ó Bambáire for P Ó Géibheannaigh (inj), 62 Blood: Tadgh de Brún for D Ó Géibheannaigh, 39-43

EAST KERRY: Shane Ryan (Rathmore), Pa Warren (Gneeveguilla), Jack Sherwood (Firies), Chris O’Donoghue (0-2) (Glenflesk), Niall Donohue (Firies), Paul Murphy (0-1) (Rathmore), Dan O’Brien (Glenflesk), Darragh Lyne (Killarney Legion), Ronan Buckley (Listry), Ruairí Murphy (1-0) (Listry), Paudie Clifford (0-3) (Fossa), Brendan O’Keeffe (Rathmore), David Clifford (1-4, 1f) (Fossa), Dan Roche (0-2) (Glenflesk), Pádraig Lucey (Killarney Legion) Subs: Dónal ‘Down’ O’Sullivan (0-1) (Kilgarvan) for B O’Keeffe, 47, Patrick Darcy (Glenflesk) for R Buclkey, 54, Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin) for D Lyne, 59

REFEREE: Jonathan Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar)