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Dublin claim Kingdom scalp

Any match in which Dublin are favourites to beat Kerry is rare; any match in which Dublin actually beat Kerry as favourites rarer still.

This was one of those rare auld times when the two happened to coincide. In a match that improved with age and gave us a thrilling finale, Kerry seemed to have rescued a draw, only for Bernard Brogan to score the winner with time almost up.

There was still room for one final piece of drama. A free for Bryan Sheehan 50 metres out wide on the left gave Kerry a last chance of a reprieve but it tailed narrowly wide.

Sheehan's kicking from placed balls was immaculate for the most part and Kerry were a shade unlucky to go home without something from the night's work.

That Brogan should be the match-winner had a hint of irony as this was one of his quieter games. Mark ó Sé marked him tightly and while Brogan set up competitive first Dublin goal, his winning score was his first from play.

However, that has positive spin for Dublin, who showed they can win matches without excessive dependence on one scoring forward. This was their third straight League win and leaves them formidably placed entering the final four regulation games, the next assignment being a trip to Monaghan.

Even with several absentees they played well enough, though it was uneven and they went scoreless for 21 minutes in the first half. Their high levels of fitness usually guarantee a big finishing kick but last night it was Kerry who looked the stronger as the game entered the final 10 minutes. Colm Cooper, who ended the night with six points, led a revival that almost saved Kerry.

Dublin also made good use of the bench, with Alan Brogan coming on in the second half along with Michael Darragh Macauley, the latter scoring their third goal and adding a point to revive his team after Kerry had taken charge on either side of the interval.

But despite rejigging their defence, recalling Tomas O Se and Killian Young, Kerry could not stop Dublin scoring goals. Having scored three goals against All-Ireland champions Cork last weekend, they repeated the trick, claiming the first after just four minutes. Tomas Quinn found the spot after Brogan set him up.

Kerry conceded a second 10 minutes later when Kevin McManamon seized on a deflected shot from Eoghan O'Gara and got his second in as many games. In between, Sheehan had a Kerry penalty goal, the award made after David Geaney was fouled. Sheehan started at midfield with Seamus Scanlon as Kerry tried to improve on recent performances in the sector.

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On the hour mark Cooper had a good goal chance but Stephen Cluxton denied him and Dublin broke downfield, finishing the move with a point from Paul Flynn.

A minute later Macauley added another to put four between the teams. But Kerry wouldn't let go. Cooper popped up with his third from play to narrow the gap to a goal and they finished menacingly.

Enter Brogan with an audacious score from a tight angle.

Scorers -- Dublin: B Brogan 0-4 (3f); B McManamon 1-1; MD Macauley 1-1; T Quinn 1-0; E O'Gara, D Lally, A Brogan, P Flynn 0-1 each. Kerry: B Sheehan 1-5 (1-0 pen; 3f; 1 45); C Cooper 0-6 (1f); D O'Sullivan 0-2; D Moran, D Walsh 0-1 each.

Dublin: S Cluxton; A Hubbard, S Murray, M Fitzsimons; D Lally, J McCarthy, P Casey; D Bastick, B Cahill; P Flynn, K McManamon , D Connolly; B Brogan, E O'Gara, T Quinn. Subs: MD Macauley for Bastick (half-time); B Cullen for Connolly, A Brogan for Quinn (49); G Brennan for McCarthy (52); P Andrew for Flynn (64).

Kerry: B Kealy; P Reidy, K Young, M O Se; T O Se, E Brosnan, A O'Mahony; S Scanlon, B Sheehan; D Moran, D O'Sullivan, D Walsh; C Cooper, K Donaghy, D Geaney. Subs: K O'Leary for Geaney (21); J Lyne for T O Se (54); A Maher for Brosnan (58); A O'Connell for O'Mahony (66).

Referee: M Duffy (Sligo)

See Páidí ó Sé, Page 11

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