Kerry guaranteed survival in this division after a 15-point victory over Down at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney yesterday.
With Shane Nolan and Shane Brick combining for 2-11 of Kerry's total, the home side turned in an impressive second-half performance to turn a two-point half-time lead, 2-12 to 0-16, into an emphatic win.
Two goals in 90 seconds midway through the second-half -- Nolan and Aidan Boyle on target -- helped to push Kerry 4-21 to 0-19 clear, despite the best efforts of Down full-forward Paul Braniff, who finished with 1-9.
While Down pulled a goal back through a Braniff free, a comeback never looked likely.
Even though Kerry had raced 11 points clear, 2-9 to 0-4, after 25 minutes of the first half, thanks to goals from Aidan Boyle and Shane Brick, Down then took complete control to whittle the lead down to just two points at half-time.
But Kerry made a host of positional changes at the break, rattled off four quick points through sub Diarmuid Walsh (2), Brick and Darragh O'Connell and took control from there to the finish.
Man of the Match: S Nolan (Kerry)
Scorers -- Kerry: S Nolan 1-6, S Brick 1-5 (3f), A Boyle 2-0, W O'Dwyer, D O'Connell 0-4 each, D Walsh 0-3, D Dineen (1 sl) 0-2, C Harty, PJ Connolly, J Flaherty 0-1 each. Down: P Braniff 1-9 (1-6f), E Clarke (1 '65, 1 sl) F Conway 0-3 each, P Keith, C Baillie 0-2 each, D Toner, P Sheehan 0-1 each.
Kerry -- B Rochford 6; B Murphy 6, P Costello 6, J Fitzgerald 6; A O'Connor 6, T Murnane 7, J Griffin 6; J Leahy 6, D O'Connell 7; C Harty 6, D Dineen 6, W O'Dwyer 7; S Brick 8, A Boyle 7, S Nolan 8. Subs: D Walsh 7 for J Leahy (h-t), J O'Flaherty 6 for C Harty (h-t), R Horgan 6 for J Fitzgerald (47), PJ Connolly 6 for A Boyle (59), J Casey 6 for P Costello (67).
Down -- S Keith 6; M Hughes 6, S Ennis 6, J Smyth 6; F Conway 7, C Woods 6, M Ennis 6; E Clarke 7, A Savage 6; P Sheehan 6, K McGarry 6, C Baillie 7; D Toner 7, P Braniff 8, P Keith 6. Subs: A O'Prey 6 for K McGarry (14), D Hobbs 6 for P Sheehan (55), E McGuinness 6 for P Keith (64), D Hughes 6 for A O'Prey (64), M Cunningham 6 for A Savage (69).
Ref -- D Copps (Cork)