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Donaghy's star turn wins Kerry 37th All-Ireland title

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Kieran Donaghy

Kieran Donaghy

SPORTSFILE

Kieran Donaghy scores Kerry's crucial second half goal

Kieran Donaghy scores Kerry's crucial second half goal

Colm Cooper, Kerry, celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup after the game

Colm Cooper, Kerry, celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup after the game

SPORTSFILE

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Kieran Donaghy

A moment of glorious opportunism by a man who rebuilt his season in spectacular style over the last month provided the winning impetus for Kerry, who won their 37th All-Ireland football title in Croke Park yesterday.

Kieran Donaghy struck for Kerry's crucial second goal in the 52nd minute after intercepting a misdirected kick-out from Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan. It put Kerry four points clear and while Donegal later reduced the deficit to a point, they were unable to draw level.

Donaghy was the day's top scorer from open play on 1-2, crowning a superb climax to the season. His introduction as a sub was hugely instrumental as Kerry battled back to earn a draw against Mayo in the semi-final and he was even more influential in his starting role for the replay.

He carried that good form into yesterday's game, often drawing the attention of three Donegal defenders.

It was a desperately disappointing day for Donegal, who functioned in fits and starts only. They were stunned in the opening minutes after conceding 1-1 and while they battled back and actually took the lead early in the second half, they never played with the fluency which shattered Dublin in the semi-final.

While Kerry will be delighted with their first All-Ireland win since 2009, it was not a game which will dwell long in the memory of neutrals in the crowd of 82,184.

The defensive approach by both sides led to a substantial decrease in the scoring rate which applied in most games this season, resulting in the lowest-scoring final for 11 years.

It was double joy for Kerry, who also won the minor final, defeating Donegal by 0-17 to 1-10.

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