Sunday 17 December 2017

Slaughter of the innocents as slick Kerry hit Lilies for seven

Kerry 7-16 Kildare 0-10

Kerry’s Donnchadh Walsh shoots past Mark Donnellan before scoring from the rebound
Kerry’s Donnchadh Walsh shoots past Mark Donnellan before scoring from the rebound
Colm Cooper, Kerry, makes his way off the pitch at the end of the game
Kerry's Stephen O'Brien scores his side's fourth goal
Kerry's Tommy Walsh battles with Kildare's Fionn Dowling
James O'Donoghue of Kerry leaves the field injured during the first half

All-Ireland SFC quarter-final

Embarrassment. Humiliation. Disastrous. Take your pick because they are all equally applicable to Kildare's dismal attempt to offer any sort of challenge to Kerry.

After the horror of a 19-point defeat by Dublin in the Leinster semi-final in late June, Kildare would have thought that nothing worse could happen but, in truth, in did.

This was truly shocking for the Lilywhites, who often looked like a junior side that had wandered into the wrong venue. Even then, you would have expected them to offer a stiffer resistance.

Instead, they played to the underdogs' tag as if it were an instruction, rather than merely the market's opinion on their chances of reaching the All-Ireland semi-final.

Yesterday's trimming leaves them with desperately grim stats from their two visits to Croke Park this summer, enough to make for a very long winter.


Dublin-Kerry 12-34; Kildare 0-24 - that's the sum total of Kildare's two outings in HQ. It's an average differential of 23 points against the two All-Ireland favourites and while the humiliations were separated by an encouraging win over Cork, Kildare's overall season has been deeply disappointing.

They will start next year in Division 3, territory they would traditionally regard as beneath their status, although the weak challenges they offered to Dublin and Kerry suggest that it's a natural habitat for them at present.

How can that be reconciled with their eight-point win over a Cork team that topped Division 1 last April?

It's something of a mystery, although there has to be suspicions that their success in Thurles last Saturday week had as much to do with the Rebels' sluggishness as Kildare's enterprise.

Kildare exploited Cork's inertia to the maximum, raising hopes that, at the very least, they would remain competitive all the way yesterday.

Unfortunately for them, it wasn't to be as Kerry blitzed them in the second half, running in 7-6, while looking as if they could as raise their game even further if required.

They could certainly have had another goal but Colm Cooper, a pre-match replacement for Kieran Donaghy, flicked the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy in the 66th minute.

Was it the kindness of a man who had no wish to add further pain to the excruciating ache the Kildare players - and their supporters - were experiencing?

Perhaps, but Darran O'Sullivan showed no such consideration for Kildare's embarrassment in the stoppage-time when he closed out the scoring with Kerry's seventh goal.

It took his yield to 2-1, quite a return for a half hour's action after replacing Paul Geaney. Barry John Keane, who had come for the injured James O'Donoghue late in the first half, helped himself to 1-3.

Cooper hit 2-3, which meant that three Kerry forwards who weren't listed on the starting 15, scored 5-7 between them.

Tommy Walsh, Johnny Buckley and Paul Galvin all saw action too, but Donaghy sat out the full game due to a groin strain.

The only negative for Kerry centres on the extent of O'Donoghue's injury, sustained as he steamed in on the Kildare goal in the 28th minute.

Kerry pleaded for a penalty after O'Donoghue went to ground in a clash with Kildare goalkeeper, Mark Donnellan, but referee David Coldrick waved play on. O'Donoghue injured his shoulder in the tumble, raising concerns about his fitness for the semi-final clash with Monaghan or Tyrone on August 23.

He had scored 0-3 by the time he departed yesterday, at which stage Kerry led by six points, an advantage they had extended to seven (0-10 to 0-3) by half-time.

Kerry had played well within themselves in the first half, comfortably controlling most of the key exchanges, apart from a five-minute spell midway through when Kildare out-scored them by 0-3 to 0-1.

It reduced the deficit to two points (0-5 to 0-3), but that was as good as it got for Kildare, who failed to score for the opening 16 minutes and the final 14 minutes of the half.

Those barren spells were ominous, but nothing could have hinted at the misery which was about to descend on Kildare.

They scored first in the second half, but any hopes that it might be the start of a revival ended in the 39th minute when Donnchadh Walsh pounced for Kerry's first goal.

Kildare were now facing a real test of their resilience and resolve and came up well short on both fronts.


O'Sullivan's powerful running further discommoded their defence, which was repeatedly ripped apart by the speed, power and subtlety of the Kerry attack.

Goals followed from Cooper (44th and 51st minutes), O'Sullivan (47), Keane (49) and O'Brien (57) to leave Kildare trailing by 6-13 to 0-7 at the hour mark.

Kildare kicked three points on the run-in, but even then they were out-scored by Kerry, who added a further 1-3.

From a Gaelic football perspective, the saddest aspect of yesterday's game was that Kerry didn't have to do anything special to destroy Kildare. Instead, Kerry went about their business in a calm, business-like manner and were delighted to discover that not only was it enough to book a semi-final spot it also enabled them to set a record for the highest score in a quarter-final, which was previously held by Cork who hit Donegal for 1-27 in 2009.

Kerry reached that target in the 57th minute yesterday, leaving them with plenty time to reach new heights, which they duly did.

Yesterday's canter will not have done anything to hone Kerry for the bigger tests, one of which Monaghan or Tyrone will surely offer, but they could only play what was in front of them yesterday.

Sadly, it wasn't up to much and leaves Kildare with a whole lot of collateral damage to work on before setting out on next season's various campaigns.

They badly needed a good start yesterday but it was Kerry who looked much sharper right from the throw-in, with O'Donoghue kicking their first points after 15 seconds.

There were times early on when Kildare had only one forward in the Kerry half but, even with a packed defence, they found it impossible to curb a very creative attack where O'Brien was the key figure in the early stages.

Scorers - Kerry: C Cooper 2-3 (0-1f), D O'Sullivan 2-1, S O'Brien 1-4, BJ Keane 1-3, D Walsh 1-0, J O'Donoghue 0-3 (1f), P Geaney 0-2. Kildare: N Kelly, A Smith, P O'Neill 0-2 each, E Doyle, E O'Flaherty (f), O Lyons, F Dowling 0-1 each.

Kerry - B Kealy 7; P Murphy 7, S Enright 8, M O Se 7; A O'Mahony 7, K Young 7, J Lyne 7; D Moran 8, A Maher 7; S O'Brien 9, B Sheehan 7, D Walsh 7; C Cooper 9, P Geaney 7, J O'Donoghue 7. Subs: BJ Keane 8 for O'Donoghue (30), D O'Sullivan 8 for Geaney ( 42), P Crowley 7 for O Se (49), P Galvin 6 for D Walsh (54), J

Buckley 6 for Sheehan (54), T Walsh 7 for Maher (60),

Kildare - M Donnellan 5; O Lyons 6, M O'Grady 5, C Fitzpatrick 5; K Murnaghan 5, E Doyle 6, E Bolton 5; T Moolick 6, P Cribbin 7; C McNally 5, E O'Flaherty 5, P O'Neill 5; E Callaghan 5, A Smith 6, N Kelly 6. Subs: P Kelly 5 for Callaghan (43), F Conway 5 for Murnaghan (51), P Fogarty 5 for Kelly (54), M Sherry 5 for McNally (57), F Dowling 6 for Moolick (62), G White for Bolton (67).

Ref - D Coldrick (Meath)

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