Tuesday 21 November 2017

Allianz Football League round-up: Kerry rally late to see off Roscommon, while rivals Cork suffer a day to forget

Paul Geaney of Kerry celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 4 match between Roscommon and Kerry at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Paul Geaney of Kerry celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 4 match between Roscommon and Kerry at Dr Hyde Park in Roscommon. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

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

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