Kerry survived a late scare against Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park to secure their first win in the Allianz League since the opening day of the season.
The two points lifts Eamon Fitzmaurice’s side out of the relegation zone. But they will still almost certainly need to beat Dublin in their next clash in Tralee on St Patrick’s weekend if they are to entertain realistic ambitions of reaching their second consecutive League final.
Roscommon are now pointless after four rounds and looked doomed for an immediate return to Division 2.
Even though Kerry hit 1-2 without reply at the business end of the game, there will again be concerns in the camp at how they managed to let a game which they appear to be controlling almost slip from their grasp.
Leading by five points at the break (0-12 to 0-7) they gradually allowed the home side back into contention. Five minutes from the end the home fans were in full voice when Ciaran Murtagh converted a penalty to cut the deficit to a single point (0-17; 1-13).
But Kevin McStay’s men failed to add to their tally. After a James O’Donoghue free, Paul Geaney found the Roscommon net two minutes into injury before a Stephen O’Brien point confirmed the result just before the final whistle.
But the real drama was played out in Division 2, none more so than in Navan where Meath’s amazing inconsistency was again in evident.
This time is was the ‘good’ Meath that came to play and a goal from Donal Lenihan two minutes from the end gave them a precious two points and ended Galway’s unbeaten run in the competition.
Kildare hammered Fermanagh to go back on top, but after this latest loss Pete McGrath’s side are now bottom of the table.
Arguably it was Clare footballers that fashioned the performance of the day defeating Cork which puts a serious dent in the Rebels’ hopes for a quick return to the top flight. Indeed, they are now deep in the relegation zone along with Derry. A missed penalty from Colm O'Neill didn't help their cause but Clare were without their most influential player, Gary Brennan who is club-tied with Ballyea hurlers.
The Maple Leaf county took 26 minutes to register their first score at home against a resurgent Down who have now won two games on the spin having failed to register a victory during the preceding 22 months.
Galway and Clare and now joint second in the table behind Kildare with Meath and Down a point behind in joint third spot but as usual this division is notoriously difficult to predict.
After their fourth win on the spin Louth maintained their one hundred percent record in Division 3, though it was Armagh who stole the headlines chalking up a remarkable 6-22 against Offaly. Laois remained rooted to the foot of the table after losing away to Sligo.
Wexford and Westmeath continue their drive for promotion out of Division 4 with wins over Wicklow and Westmeath respectively.
The Division 3 tie between Tipperary and Longford was postponed, presumably because there were doubts were whether Semple Stadium could host a double bill considering the state of the pitch. The scheduled hurling tie between Tipperary and Clare went ahead.
Allianz FL Division 1
Roscommon 1-13 Kerry 1-19, Dr Hyde Park
Allianz FL Division 2
Kildare 4-14 Fermanagh 0-14, Newbridge
Clare 2-11 Cork 0-09, Cusack Park
Meath 1-13 Galway 0-15, Pairc Tailteann
Derry 1-07 Down 1-15, Celtic Park
Allianz FL Division 3
Armagh 6-22 Offaly 0-10, Athletic Grounds
Louth 2-10 Antrim 1-11, Gaelic Grounds
Sligo 0-18 Laois 2-10, Markievicz Park
Allianz FL Division 4
Leitrim 2-14 Carlow 2-12, Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada
Waterford 2-11 Westmeath 3-13, Ardmore
Wicklow 0-13 Wexford 1-13, Arklow
Dublin manager Jim Gavin has launched a broadside at the schedule of games that players involved in the third level weekend play-off must endure, suggesting you wouldn't ask greyhounds to do what they're being asked to do.