'There’s a realistic chance' - Jack O’Connor talks up Kerry's chances of being in hunt for league glory
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A superb bullet-like goal from Kerry’s David Clifford in the fifth minute, after a sublime slide-rule pass from Tony Brosnan, saw the hosts defeat Roscommon, 1-12 to 0-12, in Tralee on Saturday.
Kerry manager Jack O’Connor described his side’s win as “patchy”. “We were determined to hit the ground running, we looked sharp early on but then kicked away a few foolish balls in the first quarter.
“Roscommon are a decent team, very fit, physical, and they were never going to die. It might have been a bit hairy there in the last five minutes, but overall we deserved it.”
O’Connor also floated the possibility of Kerry now making the League final.
“Looking at the table now, there’s a realistic chance we could make a league final if we were to win next weekend in Salthill. Galway are going to be a tough nut above there, especially after a great result in Armagh.”
Roscommon boss Davy Burke was lamenting another poor start by his side “We went seven-nil down last week against Mayo and 1-3 to nothing this week against Kerry, so it is definitely something we need to look at. But you’d have to be happy with the resilience, how we stuck in there.”
“It’s great to see that we are knocking at the door. Mayo could have blown us away and we didn’t let them, same with Kerry. I think we are making strides. No one is safe though, I hope to jaysus we can sort it out and move on. We need to win at the Hyde next week to get back on the winning track. I don’t want to be a manager who wins the first three and then loses four in a row.”
Kerry were impressive inside the opening nine minutes when going ahead by 1-3 to 0-0. The visitors managed to slow the tempo of the game down in the second quarter and drew a bit closer to Kerry on the scoreboard but Ciaráin Murtagh registered their only point from play in the first period after 27 minutes.
David Clifford scored as the game entered first-half injury-time as Kerry enjoyed an interval lead of 1-7 to 0-5 at the break. Paudie Clifford hit Kerry’s first score in the second period after 47 minutes as they had to weather a strong restart by the Rossies.
The visitors came within two points as Graham O’Sullivan was black-carded in the 45th minute.
They weathered this period well though in staying ahead on the scoreboard. Tom O’Sullivan put Kerry 1-9 to 0-9 to the good after 53 minutes and despite a nervy finish the Kingdom hung on for a vital brace of league points.