Saturday 25 January 2020

Clinical Kerry book semi-final date

Kerry 1-20 Galway 2-10

Kerry's James O'Donoghue scores his side's first goal despite the best efforts of Joss Moore, right, and Donal O'Neill, Galway.
Kerry's James O'Donoghue scores his side's first goal despite the best efforts of Joss Moore, right, and Donal O'Neill, Galway.
Shane Walsh, Galway, in action against Paul Murphy of Kerry during the GAAl All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final
James O'Donoghue celebrates after scoring his side's first goal against Galway.

Kerry proved too strong for Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-final today as they reached the last four with a 10-point victory in Croke Park.

Without ever hitting top form,the Kingdom’s quality shone through against a gallant Galway side that refused to give up when it looked like damage limitation early in the first half.

The Munster champions continued where they left off against Cork and raced into an early eight point lead before Galway even troubled the scoreboard.

Wing forward Donnchadh Walsh opened the scoring for Kerry after just 30 seconds after clever movement from James O’Donoghue, but they were dealt a blow when Bryan Sheehan was forced off after less than five minutes, with David Moran called from the bench earlier than he could have  expected.

He wasted little time to mark his entrance and quickly doubled the Kingdom’s lead with a sublime effort off the outside of his foot.

Alan Mulholland’s side were struggling to get into their rhythm and turnovers, poor decision making and erratic shooting were features of their game as Kerry went about their business in clinical fashion.

All Star O’Donoghue continued his rich vein of form when he put clear daylight between the two sides after only 12 minutes. He tore through the heart of the Galway defence and rifled to the net. This was followed by a point as Galway clearly were experiencing a step-up in class from their qualifier victory over Tipperary.

Eamon Fitzmaurice’s side were breaking at ease and Declan O’Sullivan’s point made it 1-05 to no score and the contrast couldn’t have been any greater. Kerry were yet to hit a wide, while the Tribesmen managed six before finally Michael Lundy finally opened their account after 19 minutes.

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A Garreth Bradshaw point after good play from the midfield pair of Fiontán O’Curraoin and Tom Flynn was followed by a Shane Walsh free, but it was Flynn who breathed life into the Galway challenge with a virtuoso goal on the half hour mark.

Picking up the ball in the middle of the pitch, he burst forward and capitalised on the open space and poor defending to give the Galway supporters something to cheer about. Aidan O’Mahony attempted to keep on Flynn’s coattails but he showed strength and composure to roll the ball into the net at a time when it was badly needed for Galway.

Their poor shooting was a feature throughout, racking up 10 wides while the Kingdom didn’t fail to hit the target until three minutes before the break through a Paul Geaney free.

Johnny Buckley, Kerry’s third free-taker in the half, managed the final score of the half from a placed ball and the Munster champions went in at the break leading 1-08 to 1-03.

A Galway wide before an exquisite point from O’Donoghue off his left – the thunderous goal was with his right foot -was a fitting way to begin the second half after what transpired in the opening 35 minutes.

After some early Kerry scores, Galway again showed their resilience. Substitute Sean Armstrong marked his arrival into the quarter-final and his slipped pass put Lundy through and he side-stepped Brian Kelly to reduce the deficit, with another effort from Walsh getting the supporters from the west in full voice.

Paul Geaney, along with O’Donoghue, was a real thorn in the sides of Donal O’Neill Finian Hanley, Joss Moore in the full-back line and landed two quick points in succession.

Damien Comer, who was also introduced at the interval, scored an inspirational point from near the sideline but substitute Barry John Keane restored the lead. He did likewise when Walsh landed a free to reduce the gap to three points with less eight minutes remaining and would finish the match with three points as he put his hand up for a starting spot in the upcoming semi-final.

O’Donoghue continued to show his undoubted class with yet another classy score as the favourites eased their way to victory in the final five minutes and each one of their twelve second half points was from play, demonstrating the wealth of attacking options available to Fitzmaurice

Always the better team, Kerry had all the answers each time Galway asked questions and will march onto a semi-final in three weeks’ time, while Galway will look back and rue some poor shooting and decision making at the start of the match which cost them dearly.

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