FL1: Dubs cut loose to demolish Kerry

March 11, 2018

Kerry's David Clifford looks to get past Dublin's Jonny Cooper

Dublin 2-17

Kerry 0-11

Dublin are on the cusp of another Allianz League final appearance after running Kerry ragged in the second half of their Division 1 encounter at Croke Park.

Just three points, 0-8 to 1-8, separated the sides at half-time, but the All-Ireland champions turned on the style in the third quarter when they scored an unanswered 1-6 to end the game as a contest. The result confirms Galway's place in the league decider on April 1, while Dublin only have to avoid defeat in their last two games against Monaghan and the Tribesmen to be certain of reaching their sixth final in-a-row.

The three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions were determined to avenge last year's Allianz League final defeat to their old rivals, but it was Eamonn Fitzmaurice's young Kerry side who started the better. Starting his first senior game in Croke Park, former minor star David Clifford pinched two points off Cian O'Sullivan in the first half and also converted a free he won himself, but he was largely anonymous after the restart.  

The youngster inadvertently contributed to Dublin's first goal in the 18th minute when his quick free was intercepted by Jonny Cooper, who started a move which culminated in Niall Scully palming the ball to the net at the other end of the field. That gave the All-Ireland champions the lead for the first time and they weren't headed thereafter.

Paul Geaney and Sean O'Shea both passed up on goal chances in a feisty first half that also saw Barry O'Sullivan (Kerry) and John Small (Dublin) receive black cards.

The Kingdom failed to score between the 25th and 54th minutes, during which time the dazzling Dubs racked up 1-10 without reply. Man of the match Ciaran Kilkenny scored their second goal, while Dean Rock and Ciaran Reddin also went close.

Jonny Cooper and Michael Darragh Macauley had excellent games too as Jim Gavin's men sent out an ominous statement to Kerry and the rest of the chasing pack.

Dublin - S Cluxton; J Cooper (0-1), D Byrne, E Lowndes; S Carthy, C O'Sullivan, J Small; B Fenton, M D Macauley; N Scully (1-1), C Kilkenny (1-3), B Howard; P Andrews (0-3), D Rock (0-4, 3f), C Basquel (0-2). Subs: P Small (0-1) for S Carthy, P McMahon (0-1) for J Small (BC), C Reddin for P Small, P Small for D Rock, A McGowan for C O'Sullivan, C Costello (0-1) for C Kilkenny, E O Conghaile for B Fenton.

Kerry - S Murphy; S Enright, J Foley, R Shanahan; P Murphy, P Crowley, B O Beaglaoich; J Barry, Barry O'Sullivan; M Burns (0-2), S O'Shea (0-1), A Spillane; D Clifford (0-4, 2f), P Geaney (0-1), K McCarthy (0-2). Subs: E O Conchúir for Barry O'Sullivan (BC), B J Keane for P Geaney, M Geaney (0-1) for S O'Shea, F Fitzgerald for K McCarthy, D Casey for M Burns.

Referee - C Brannigan.

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