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Spillane hits killer point to seal victory for Kerry and deny battling Galway in Tralee

Allianz NFL Division 1: Kerry 1-15 Galway 2-11

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Kerry's Killian Spillane, under pressure from Sean Kelly of Galway, shoots to score the winning point during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match against Galway at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Kerry's Killian Spillane, under pressure from Sean Kelly of Galway, shoots to score the winning point during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match against Galway at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Kerry's Killian Spillane, under pressure from Sean Kelly of Galway, shoots to score the winning point during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match against Galway at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Killian Spillane's late point secured unlikely Allianz Football League Division 1 win for Kerry in Tralee after an inspiring second half from Galway's Shane Walsh looked set to give them victory.

Walsh hit 1-1 in quick succession in the 59th-minute to push the visitors three clear, 2-11 to 0-14.

His goal was a sublime effort as he outpaced a lethargic Kerry defence to upstage David Clifford at the other end before firing over a spectacular point to turn it in their favour.

But with Cillian McDaid black-carded on 63 minutes Kerry found second wind and, after spurning goal chances through Tommy Walsh, blocked by Connor Gleeson and Stephen O'Brien, dispossessed by the Galway goalkeeper, Paul Geaney made the most of a great move to finish from close range in the 71st minute, their first score from play for 24 minutes.

Spillane followed up with the winner after Clifford's short struck an upright and Galway were out of time.

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Galway's Shane Walsh of Galway shoots to score his side's second goal past Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Galway's Shane Walsh of Galway shoots to score his side's second goal past Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Galway's Shane Walsh of Galway shoots to score his side's second goal past Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

But a breathless absorbing contest, watched by 11,117, was evidence of Pádraic Joyce's fresh approach as manager as Galway took the game to Kerry for most of the second half. Both sides deserve credit for how they played it.

Kerry suffered a setback beforehand when Sean O'Shea was withdrawn, joining Tadhg Morley on the sidelines as Graham O'Sullivan and Micheal Burns deputised.

Having missed almost the entire 2019 season, it was Damien Comer's first start for Galway since the 2018 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin and he marked it by blazing over for an early point that could well have been a goal before following up with a converted mark later in the half.

Sean Mulkerrin was tasked with policing Clifford, renewing their 2016 All-Ireland minor head-to-head when the Galway defender shipped just a goal.

But this time he was on the back foot early as the home captain illuminated the place with his box of tricks, landing four first half points including a booming score off his right.

There was electricity everywhere around him. James O'Donoghue picked up from where he left off last week and had two points on the board before Galway called Johnny Duane ashore.

Paul Geaney also buzzed and there was a sense that once they got ball in, there would be an inevitable return from that front trio.

But Kerry were so vulnerable at the back and by the break, Galway could count five clear goal chances from which they only profited once when Cein Darcy and Eamonn Brannigan put Johnny Heaney in on 17 minutes to bring some order, closing the gap to just one point, 0-7 to 1-3.

Twice Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan was called on to make saves from O Laoi and Comer while Michael Daly flashed wide on 13 minutes after Rob Finnerty had put it in.

Overall Galway converted just six from 16 chances - Walsh was off target with two marks - enough to give them at least parity at the break. But instead, they were 0-10 to 1-5 behind.

O'Donoghue cried off at half-time however and was replaced by Tommy Walsh who made an impact, scoring a point, setting up Burns for another and then creating a 47th-minute goal chance for Burns which Conor Gleeson parried out for a 45.

But Galway stayed in touch and were unfortunate to go three behind when Walsh appeared to foul Tom Flynn beneath a throw-in, giving Clifford an easy opportunity to convert.

But they closed again to within a point, 0-13 to 1-9, heading into the last quarter with Cillian McDaid and Shane Walsh (free) pointing from distance and then levelled when Comer and substitute Adrian Varley combined to send in Eamonn Brannigan for a third point before that Walsh-inspired surge as Kerry dipped before that late revival.

SCORERS: Kerry - D Clifford 0-6 (3fs), P Geaney 1-2 (1f), J O'Donoghue, M Burns 0-2 each, S O'Brien, T Walsh, K Spillane all 0-1 each. Galway - S Walsh 1-4 (3fs), J Heaney 1-0, E Brannigan 0-3, D Comer 0-2 (1m), M Daly, C McDaid 0-1 each.

Kerry: S Ryan; J Foley, G Crowley, G O'Sullivan; P Murphy, S Enright, G White; L Kearney, J Barry; G O'Brien, M Burns, S O'Brien; J O'Donoghue, D Clifford, P Geaney. Subs: D O'Connor for G O'Brien (32), T Walsh for O'Donoghue (h-t), D Moynihan for Burns (55), K Spillane for Kearney (61).

Galway: C Gleeson; J Heaney, S Mulkerrin, J Duane; G O'Donnell, J Daly, C McDaid; R Steede, C Darcy; E Brannigan, D Comer, D O Laoi; R Finnerty, S Walsh, M Daly. Subs: S Kelly for Duane (22), M Tierney for Finnerty (h-t), T Flynn for Steede (41), L Costello for O Laoi (48), A Varley for M Daly (51).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).

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