FL1: Sheehan sparkles as Kingdom go top

March 11, 2012

Kerry's Declan O'Sullivan tackles Anthony Thompson of Donegal ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Kerry 2-16
Donegal 1-8

Bryan Sheehan kicked 1-7 from placed balls as Kerry moved top of Division 1 with a double-scores victory over Donegal in Killarney.

Goals from Patrick Curtin and Sheehan (penalty) either side of half-time secured the Kingdom's third win of the campaign and leaves them in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages. Such an outcome could not have predicted after Donegal raced into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead, but Jack O'Connor's men hit back with four unanswered points before Curtin's 17th minute turned the game decisively in their favour.

Leading by five points at the break, Kerry put the result beyond doubt immediately after the restart when Sheehan netted a penalty. Donegal, who registered their first win at Cork's expense last weekend, pulled back a goal from a Michael Murphy penalty, but were far too dependent on the Glenswilly sharpshooter who accounted for 1-5 of their tally. This defeat leaves Jim McGuinness' men in serious danger of making an instant return to Division 2.

Donegal raced into an early three-point lead thanks to scores from Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy and Anthony Thompson, but three successive frees from the boot of Bryan Sheehan restored parity for the Kingdom. Anthony Maher edged the hosts in front with their first score from play in the 16th minute and it got a lot better for Jack O'Connor's men a minute later when Moyvane clubman Curtin blasted to the roof of Paul Durkin's net after good work by Barry John Keane.

Kieran Donaghy then took centre stage with two spectacular points from under the Fitzgerald Stadium stand. Michael Murphy responded with a brace to keep Donegal in touch, but Kerry had the bit between their teeth and another Sheehan free from 55 metres had them perched on a 1-8 to 0-5 half-time lead.

The second half was just 30 seconds old when referee Syl Doyle awarded the home side a penalty for a foul on Curtin which the on-form Sheehan converted to bring his tally to 1-4 for the afternoon. Straight from the kick-out, Brian Maguire claimed possession and fired over to extend the Kingdom's advantage to 2-9 to 0-5.

Murphy clawed back another brace of points before Donegal were reduced to 14 men when defender Eamon McGee was sent off on a second yellow card. Despite that setback, the Ulster champions battled on and when Kerry substitute Shane Enright conceded a penalty, Murphy made no mistake to make it 1-8 to 2-11.

But that was as close as they came as the home powered clear for an 11-point victory.

Kerry - B Kealy; M Ó Sé, D Bohan, K Young; P Crowley (0-1), E Brosnan, B McGuire (0-1); A Maher (0-2), B Sheehan ( 1-7); P Galvin (0-1), Darran O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan; BJ Keane (0-1), K Donaghy (0-2), P Curtin (1-1). Subs : S Enright for Bohan, A O'Mahony for Ó Sé, S Scanlon for Sheehan, D O'Callaghan for Declan O'Sullivan, K O'Leary for Curtin.

Donegal - P Durcan; F McGlynn, N McGee, P McGrath; A Thompson (0-1), K Lacey, L McLoone; R Kavanagh (0-1), N Gallagher; M McHugh, R Bradley, E McGee; C McFadden, M Murphy (1-5), P McBrearty (0-1). Subs: D Walsh for McLoone, M Boyle for Bradley, C Toye for McHugh.

Ref - S Doyle (Wexford)

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