Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park
DUBLIN BEGAN 2016 in Croke Park in the same manner that they concluded 2015, claiming a victory over Kerry.
Tonight’s win didn’t prompt the level of euphoria that last September did but it was still a satisfactory league start for Jim Gavin’s side.
Second-half goals from Paddy Andrews and Diarmuid Connolly broke this game open but Dublin could have rattled the net far more often with both John Small and Jack McCaffrey blasting shots against the crossbar in the finale.
The teams were tied at 0-7 apiece at the break, Kerry recovering well from a 0-5 to 0-1 deficit that they faced in the 20th minute.
David Moran’s late first-half point granted Kerry parity at half-time yet Dublin accelerated clear after half-time with Andrews finishing precisely to the net in front of Hill 16 and Diarmuid Connolly confidently tucking home a penalty after James McCarthy was fouled by Kerry debutant Brian O Beaglaoich.
30,107 fans turned up for this match and saw Dublin stamp their intentions on the contest early on. Andrews, Dean Rock and Paul Mannion all looked dangerous early on with Dublin racking up five points in the opening 16 minutes.
Kerry were grateful to a fine Brendan Kealy save and another brave block by Moran to prevent them from conceding a goal in the opening period.
Gradually they gained a foothold in the game, scoring four of the last five points in the first-half, to provide a boost for manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice as they went into the dressing-rooms level.
But shipping goals in the 40th and 52nd minutes were blows that Kerry could not recover from. Dublin always had a healthy cushion on the scoreboard as a result of those strikes and ran out deserved victors.
Scorers for Dublin: Paddy Andrews 1-4, Dean Rock 0-7 (0-5f), Diarmuid Connolly 1-0, Tomas Brady, Paul Mannion, Cormac Costello 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kerry: Barry John Keane 0-4 (0-4f), Darran O’Sullivan 0-3, David Moran 0-2 (0-1f), Stephen O’Brien, Johnny Buckley, Donnchadh Walsh, Tommy Walsh, Brendan O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells)
4. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf)
3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala)
2. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna)
7. Davy Byrne (Ballymun Kickhams)
8. Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes)
6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams)
5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams)
9. Denis Bastick (Templeogue Synge Street)
10. Tomas Brady (Na Fianna)
11. Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincent’s)
12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)
15. Paul Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes)
14. Dean Rock (Ballymun Kickhams)
13. Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s)
22. Jack McCaffrey (Clontarf) for Davy Byrne (40)
24. Emmet Ó Conghaile (Lucan Sarsfields) for Bastick (49)
19. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille) for Brady (53)
25. Ciaran Reddin (St Maur’s) for Kilkenny (57)
23. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala) for Mannion (67)
1. Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)
4. Shane Enright (Tarbert)
3. Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore)
2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)
6. Killian Young (C) (Renard)
5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
7. Fionn Fitzgerald (Dr Crokes)
8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
14. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
15. Philip O’Connor (Cordal)
9. Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes)
12. Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane)
13. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
11. Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh-Glencar)
10. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)
19. Pa Kilkenny (Glenbeigh-Glencar) for Griffin (40)
17. Jonathan Lyne (Killarney Legion) for Donnchadh Walsh (black card) (45)
20. Brendan O’Sullivan (Valentia) for Buckley (53)
18. Padraig O’Connor (Killarney Legion) for Fitzgerald (53)
22. Gavan O’Grady (Glenbeigh-Glencar) for Keane (57)
26. Conor Cox (Listowel Emmetts) for Tommy Walsh (65)
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)