Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan scores the first goal of the game. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

3-4 for Con O'Callaghan as Dublin blow Kerry away

Dessie Farrell’s side won by 10 points at Croke Park.

Dublin 3-18

Kerry 1-14

IT MAY ONLY be February, but this was vintage Dublin at times. A devastating 10-point win, Kerry completely and utterly outclassed.

Con O’Callaghan hit 3-4 as he tormented the Kingdom, adding salt to the wounds after last year’s All-Ireland final. Ciarán Kilkenny, Paddy Small and Seán Bugler all finished with three points a-piece, while Seán O’Shea was Kerry’s leading scorer on a night to forget for Jack O’Connor’s side.

They came into this one buoyed by wins over Monaghan and Mayo, having opened with a defeat to Derry. Dublin, meanwhile, had put one-point losses to the former two in the rearview mirror as they got off the mark against Roscommon last time out. Now, the heavyweights both have two wins from four and are level on points with Mayo and Tyrone.

Dessie Farrell will be pleased after this renewal of rivalries under the lights in Croke Park, Dublin’s only real negative an injury concern to Eoin Murchan.

david-clifford-dejected David Clifford was off-colour. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The damage was done in the first half, when Dublin simply blew Kerry away. They led by nine points – 2-11 to 0-8 – at the break after a relentless showing. They scored from 12 of their first 13 shots, totalling 2-10, as Kerry’s kickout badly malfunctioned.

O’Callaghan had a field day. His excellent fifth-minute goal sent them on their way, the scoreboard 1-2 to 0-1 at that juncture. The Dublin full-forward finished the opening period with 2-3, including a 14th-minute penalty he expertly despatched after the lively Paddy Small was fouled.

By then, it was 2-4 to 0-4. Kerry were already reeling. David Clifford, shackled by Murchan and Theo Clancy, was off-colour, while they were completely dominated in midfield and evidently torn to shreds in defence. O’Shea, who joined Clifford inside, kept them afloat, but O’Connor’s side just weren’t at the races.

Dublin, meanwhile, surged on with Small, Bugler and Kilkenny among those finding their range. O’Callaghan almost had his hat-trick wrapped up in the 18th minute, only for an excellent Shane Ryan save, with goal chances spurned at both ends. Any time Kerry went direct, Dublin cleaned up, while Hill 16 thoroughly enjoyed Clifford’s rare off-day.

It wasn’t just O’Callaghan lighting up Croke Park. In the 20th minute, fans put their phone lights on to show solidarity with Palestine amidst 20 weeks of genocide in Gaza. Before throw-in, they stood with the one in four women in Ireland that are affected by domestic abuse.

dublin-fans-with-a-message-for-gaza Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

As expected, the Kingdom came out fighting on the restart. By the 52nd minute, it was a three-point game, with Joe O’Connor’s goal 10 minutes earlier key. He finished off a good team move, as O’Shea and Jason Foley also helped keep them in touch through a more advanced, energised approach.

But that was as close as Kerry got. Dublin put on the burners again and outscored them 1-5 to 0-1 from that point after a lull. O’Callaghan completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute and extinguished any hopes of a Kerry comeback. He drove through the heart of their defence and slotted home to make it 3-16 to 1-14:

Kerry failed to score from the 57th minute, when Clifford blazed over another clear goal opportunity.

And the Kingdom were let off the hook from shipping a fourth themselves when Bugler opted to swing over with the final say.

That said, nothing’s really won or lost in February.

Scorers for Dublin: Con O’Callaghan 3-4 (2f, 1 pen), Sean Bugler, Paddy Small and Ciarán Kilkenny (1m) 0-3, Niall Scully, Ross McGarry, Lee Gannon, Brian Fenton and Tom Lahiff (1m) all 0-1.

Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-6 (2f, 1 ’45), Joe O’Connor 1-1, David Clifford 0-3 (1f), Dylan Geaney, Cillian Burke, Gavin White and Jason Foley all 0-1.


1. David O’Hanlon (Na Fianna)

2. Sean MacMahon (Raheny), 3. Theo Clancy (Kilmacud Crokes), 4. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)

5. Cian Murphy (Thomas Davis), 6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 7. Lee Gannon (Whitehall Colmcille)

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny), 9. Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne (Cuala)

10. Ross McGarry (Ballyboden St Enda’s), 11. Seán Bugler (St Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh), 12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock)

13. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala), 22. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street)


  • 20. Tom Lahiff for Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne (46)
  • 18. Brian Howard for Seán MacMahon (53)
  • 23. Lorcan O’Dell for Ross McGarry (57)
  • 17. Greg McEnaney for Eoin Murchan (58)
  • 15. Daire Newcombe for John Small (69) 
  • 21. Killian McGinnis for Theo Clancy (71)


1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks)

25. Damian Bourke (Na Gaeil), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil), 9. Joe O’Connor (Austin Stacks)

10. Paudie Clifford (Fossa), 11. Dylan Geaney (Dingle), 12. Cillian Burke (Milltown-Castlemaine)

13. David Clifford (Fossa), 14. Seán O’Shea (Kenmare), 15. Dara Moynihan (Spa)


  • 17. Paul Murphy for Damien Bourke (HT)
  • 24. Tony Brosnan for Dylan Geaney (50)
  • 26. Keith Evans for Cillian Burke (57)
  • 20. Barry Dan O’Sullivan for Joe O’Connor (59)
  • 21. Seán O’Brien for Dara Moynihan (64).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).

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