Monday 27 January 2020

NFL Division 1: Dublin make it seven from seven while Kerry march on to the semi-finals

Rónán Mac Lochlainn

Dublin withstood some late an incessant Roscommon pressure to complete their prefect seven league wins from seven with a 1-13 to 1-12 success in Carrick-on-Shannon.

With the contest almost inevitably switched from Hyde Park, Dublin started brightly with Dean Rock impressing from placed balls as the visitors built up a 0-9 to 0-3 interval lead.

The hosts responded with three early scores in the second-half but a Rock goal, made by the returning Eoghan O’Gara, looked to have sealed Dublin’s win.

However, a Senan Kilbride goal brought Roscommon back with a bang with Ciaran Murtagh spurning a late opportunity to salvage a share of the spoils for the Rossies.  

Kerry confirmed second spot in Division 1 of the Allianz National Football League when finishing strongly to account for Munster rivals Cork by 0-20 to 1-12 in Tralee yesterday afternoon.

The loss proved especially costly for Cork as they will be forced to play outside the top flight for the first time since 2009 as they struggled to impose themselves from the outset.

In contrast, Kerry looked especially sharp initially as they raced into a 0-10 to 0-3 lead with Stephen O’Brien, Alan Fitzgerald and Colm Cooper on the scoresheet but a superbly despatched penalty by Colm O’Neill following Peter Crowley’s foul on Ian Maguire trimmed Cork’s deficit to 0-11 to 1-5 by half-time.

A wasteful Kerry failed to avail of goal chances that came their way after the break with Cork reducing their arrears following points from O’Neill, Brian Hurley and Brian O’Driscoll.

However, the hosts finished strongly thanks to scores by Marc Ó Sé, David Moran and Cooper with Cork’s fate sealed following the dismissal of substitute Michael Shields late on.  

It proved more dramatic in Castleblayney as a Colin Walshe point in the 3rd minute of injury time helped Monaghan to overcome Donegal by 1-10 to 1-9.

The hosts’ Division 1 status looked precarious as they trailed by 1-7 to 1-4 at the break with Martin McElhinney and Daniel McKenna exchanging goals.

Scores proved at a premium after the break with Ciaran McManus and Michael Murphy trading points but with Donegal recording just two points upon the restart, Monaghan inched home through McManus and Walshe’s vital late intervention.  

In Castlebar, Mayo secured their own status when enjoying a 1-19 to 1-16 win over already relegated Down.

Cillian O’Connor converted a first-half penalty for the hosts and with Evan Regan impressing from placed balls, Mayo enjoyed a 1-9 to 0-10 interval lead.

The contest reamined similarly tight in the second-half with Regan continuing to keep the visitors at arm's length.

A late goal from Donal O'Hare offered Down some brief hope but Mayo finished strongly to ensure a seventh straight defeat for the Mourne county. 

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