Sunday 25 February 2018

Roscommon pile early misery on Kerry with shock win

Roscommon 0-14 Kerry 1-10

Kerry's Stephen O'Brien shoots to score past Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O'Malley during their National league defeat
Kerry's Stephen O'Brien shoots to score past Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O'Malley during their National league defeat
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Roscommon defied the odds in Killarney's Fitzgerald Stadium as they shocked Kerry with a powerful second half performance to claim their first Division One league points.

Facing a very strong wind and a one-point interval deficit in the second half, their industry, energy and economy was enough to hold off a ragged home team.

Enda Smith and Cathal Cregg were hugely influential for Roscommon, scoring half of their team's 14-point tally from play.

Buoyed on by a huge support in the 4,507 crowd they dug deep and fully deserved their first win over Kerry since the 2001 league.

Kerry can have few complaints. Their economy from shots was poor with a return of just four points from such a strong wind assistance after the break .

Despite having Cregg black carded in the second half after he had scored two key points to bring his team level, 0-12 to 1-9, Roscommon saw it home comfortably.

Kerry led by two points twice in the second half but through Seanie Purcell, Niall Daly, Ronan Stack and Niall McInerney Roscommon got control through their running game.

It's the third time in four years now that an Eamonn Fitzmaurice-managed Kerry side have lost their first two league games so it hardly represents a crisis for the Kingdom.

That said, their inability to get any cohesion in attack - Stephen O'Brien apart - was concerning.

The first half can be pieced together in three different sections. Kerry led by 0-3 to 0-0 after eight minutes and the way David Moran and Johnny Buckley were dominating midfield - and the Roscommon kick-out - surely left that large Roscommon contingent fearing for their team.

But Smith and Cregg from the first of two wonderful efforts off his right boot - clawed back some lost ground to begin a great spell for he visitors that yielded eight unanswered points that opened a five-point lead, 0-8 to 0-3, by the 25th minute.

Donnchadh Walsh's goal opportunity, after great approach work from Moran, Darran O'Sullivan and Stephen O'Brien struck a post from close range when Kerry were leading by a point and that may have been a turning point.

Kerry steadied things with points from Barry John Keane (free) and Tommy Walsh, as the direct ball into him finally stuck, before O'Brien cut through the Roscommon defence far too easily and almost walked the ball in Darren O'Malley's net on 32 minutes, taking a liberal number of steps in the process to bring the sides level again, 1-5 to 0-8.

With the wind strengthening again Buckley and Moran resumed control of midfield and Buckley sliced over a second point for a 1-6 to 0-8 interval lead that looked set yield their first league points.

But this time Roscommon didn't make as many mistakes as they had done against Monaghan seven days earlier and put the lessons learned to valuable use.

Scorers - Roscommon: C Cregg 0-4, E Smith 0-3, C Devanney, F Cox (2fs) C Murtagh (1f) 0-2 each, C Connolly 0-1.

Kerry: BJ Keane 0-5 (4fs), S O'Brien 1-1, J Buckley 0-2, T Walsh, C Cox (f) 0-1.

Kerry: B Kelly; B O Beaglaoich, M Griffin, S Enright; P Murphy, A O'Mahony, K Young; D Moran, J Buckley; J Lyne, D O'Sullivan, D Walsh; BJ Keane, T Walsh, S O'brien. Subs: T O'Sullivan for Lyne inj (12), A Fitzgerald for D Walsh (48), C Cox for Keane (57), F Fitzgerald for Enright (59), Barry O'Sullivan for Buckley inj (63), Brendan O'Sullivan for Walsh (69).

Roscommon: D O'Malley; S McDermott, N Collins, N McInerney; N Daly, D Murray, R Stack; E Smith, I Kilbride; F Cregg, C Cregg, C Daly; C Connolly, C Devanney, C Murtagh. Subs: C Shine for Kilbride (54), S Purcell for C Daly (58),R Daly for Cregg BC (59), C McHugh for Connolly (63).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford).

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