Three-goal Kingdom see off dogged Kildare
THE Kerry bandwagon marches onward still, but not without getting a stern examination of their credentials in Newbridge.
The Kingdom came into the game as the overwhelming favourites for the tie, yet were made fight every inch of the way by an improving Kildare outfit. Arguably Kerry had their game wrapped up at half-time having struck early for three goals – albeit one of those coming in the form of a debatable penalty decision.
The Lilywhites draw first blood with a beautiful point by Mark Delaney, but by the tenth minute the sides were level at three a piece. When Paul Divilly converted a free from the 65 metre line and Gerry Keegan also split the posts with his shot from the right, Kildare found themselves leading 0-7 to 0-4 but Kerry bounced back with the proverbial bang and left the Lilies shellshocked.
The visitors had the ball in the back of Dermody's net for the first of three times with 18 minutes played. Padraig Boyle was the scorer after he got on the end of Darragh O'Connell's ball in and, while Martin Fitzgerald responded with a point for the Lilies, it was to get worse for the home side.
The Kingdom, through, Padraig Boyle yet again, hit the onion sack for the second time in the 25th minute. Wing-back Bryan Murphy brushed aside the challenge of Gerry Keegan with ease before his long ball picked out Boyle, who was in behind the full-back line. He blasted the ball past Dermody and left the scoreboard reading 2-5 to 0-8.
Not long afterwards Kerry were awarded a dubious penalty when the referee said Richie Hoban impeded Shane Nolan, but to many it looked like the foul happened outside the square. That mattered little as the referee didn't share the same opinion. Nolan stepped forward with the penalty and Paul Dermody did well to get the hurl to the shot but there was too much power on it and it nestled in the net.
Before the break both teams added to their tallies but it was Kerry that led 3-9 to 0-11 heading for the dressing room at the interlude. After the turnaround Kildare dug deep and had their opponents on the ropes.
With just 30 seconds played Gerry Keegan split the posts, but it wasn't until the 43rd minute that Kildare made a real breakthrough.
Keegan again was instrumental and he was brought down in the square by full back Tom Murnane and referee Sean Cleere signalled for another penalty. Up stepped goalkeeper Dermody who unleashed a rasper of a shot that gave Kerry goalkeeper Tadhg Flynn no chance and left the score at 3-12 to 1-13 after 43 minutes of play.
A Kildare comeback was possible, but unfortunately it didn't materialise as Kerry finished out the stronger of the teams. During the remaining minutes they outscored Kildare six points to just three to book a semi final spot, leaving Kildare headed to the quarter final.
David Harney, Bernard Daey and Paul Divilly (free) were the Lilies final point scorers, while the impressive Shane Nolan scored three, one from a free, before wing-back Sean Weir got in on the scoring act.
In stoppage time substitute Philip Lucid raised a white flag, while Nolan brought his personal tally to 1-8 when he added Kerry's final point of the afternoon. The Kingdom now go on to the penultimate round of the competition.
Kildare though get one last bite of the cherry in this weekend's quarter final encounter.
KERRY: Tadhg Flynn; Bryan Murphy, Tom Murnane, Dougie Fitzell, Sean Weir (0-1), Darren Dineen, Thomas Casey; Darragh O'Connell (0-2), John Egan (0-2), Mikey Boyle (0-1), Daniel Collins, Colm Harty; Padraig Boyle (2-2), David Butler (0-1), Shane Nolan (1-8, 4f) Subs: John Griffin for T Casey, Keith Carmody for C Harty, Philip Lucid (0-1) for D Butler
KILDARE: Paul Dermody (1-0 penalty), John Doran, Mark Moloney, Pa Curtain; David Harney (0-2), Niall Ó Muineachain, Richie Hoban; Eanna O'Neill (0-2, 1 sideline cut), Martin Fitzgerald (0-1), Ross Kelly, Paul Divilly (0-5, 4f), Bernard Daey (0-1), Gerry Keegan (0-3), Tony Muphy, Mark Delaney (0-2) Subs: Kevin Whelan for E O'Neill, Ray McLoughney for M Delaney, Ryan Casey for R Kelly
REFEREE: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)