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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018
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Galway record first championship win over Kerry in 53 years as they start Super 8s strongest

The Tribesmen ran out three-point winners in Croke Park.

Patrick Sweeney sealed the win with a late goal.
Patrick Sweeney sealed the win with a late goal.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Galway 1-13

Kerry 1-10

By Paul Brennan at Croke Park

A FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP win for Galway over Kerry in 53 years, but far more importantly for the Tribesmen is that this thoroughly deserved three-point win sets them up with the perfect start to the new Super 8 format and puts Kerry on the back foot ahead of a now must-win trip to Clones to face Monaghan in seven days.

The only dampener on Galway’s day was the broken leg suffered by midfielder Paul Conroy. That’s a loss Kevin Walsh’s team will have to absorb ahead of their trip to Newbridge to play Kildare next weekend, but they will head there full of momentum and confidence off the back of this win.

Galway made hard work of it, however, and it took Patrick Sweeney’s late, late goal to make sure of the victory in a game the Connacht champions dominated. It meant that David Clifford’s even later goal was merely a consolation score, and a small one at that for a beleaguered Kerry team.

It took until the 57th minute before either team opened up a two-point gap on the other and that honour fell to Galway through Declan Kyne’s point to make it 0-10 to 0-8. Thereafter Galway kicked on and looked the stronger team, taking a 0-13 to 0-9 lead on the 70-minute mark before Sweeney struck for his 74th-minute goal.

Galway would have been more than satisfied to lead by a point at half time, especially as they kicked twice the amount of wides as Kerry did, but it was a largely forgettable opening half of football, with heavy rain not helping the spectacle.

Stephen O'Brien and Johnny Heaney Kerry's Stephen O'Brien and Johnny Heaney of Galway in action. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

With the stands emptying out after the Monaghan versus Kildare curtain raiser — and the rain getting heavier under the floodlights — the game opened to a lifeless atmosphere, and the players seemed to take their lead from that.

Kevin McCarthy got Kerry off the mark in the third minute but the half never really caught fire. Points from Shane Walsh (free), Ian Burke and Conroy had Galway 0-3 to 0-2 ahead before Conroy’s unfortunate injury after an accidental collision with Sean O’Shea. That seven-minute hold up merely sucked further life from the contest and the second quarter spluttered on in the same vein as the first; error-ridden, sloppy and speckled with poor shots and wides.

David Clifford’s second point restored parity and then Shane Murphy converted a ’45 to edge Kerry in front. Comer and Paul Geaney swapped points before Shane Walsh (free) and Ian Burke found the target to give Galway the edge at the interval, 0-6 to 0-5.

Geaney restored parity soon after the restart but Kerry could never get the lead, with Galway always equal to them whenever the Kingdom produced a score. It was eight points a-piece after 50 minutes before Walsh and then Kyne put Galway those two points ahead.

Kerry’s task was made a whole lot harder after Killian Young was shown a red card in the 60th minute for something an umpire spotted, after the Renard club man was a late starting replacement for the injured Tadhg Morley.

Shane Walsh celebrates after the game Shane Walsh celebrates after the game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kerry never produced any of the rhythm, movement or pace that carried them through the Munster Championship, and much of that was down to Galway’s set up and industry.

The Tribesmen will reflect on a large number of wides as something to work on before the face Kildare, while Kerry will wonder if their problems are more systemic or this was just a bad day at the office. Eamonn Fitzmaurice will certainly hope it’s the latter ahead of what will be the bear-pit of St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-5 (4f), Patrick Sweeney 1-0, Ian Burke 0-2, Adrian Varley 0-2, Declan Kyne 0-1, Paul Conroy 0-1, Sean Kelly 0-1, Damien Comer 0-1

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 1-5 (0-1f), Paul Geaney 0-2, Shane Murphy 0-1 ’45′, Kevin McCarthy 0-1, Stephen O’Brien 0-1

Galway

1. Ruairí Lavelle (Salthill/Knocknacarra)

2. Declan Kyne (Clonbur)
3. Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh (Naomh Ánna, Leitir Mór)
22. Eoghan Kerin (Annaghdown)

5. Cathal Sweeney (Killanin)
6. Gareth Bradshaw (Moycullen)
7. Johnny Heaney (Killanin)

8. Paul Conroy (St James)
9. Thomas Flynn (Athenry)

10. Eamonn Brannigan (St Michael’s)
20. Michael Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough)
12. Seán Kelly (Moycullen)

13. Ian Burke (Corofin)
14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown)
15. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)

Subs

19. Peter Cooke (Moycullen) for P Conroy (inj, 20)
26. Adrian Varley (Cortoon Shamrocks) for M Daly (55)
24. Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars) for G Bradshaw (64)
25. Patrick Sweeney (Killanin) for d Comer (64)
21. Johnny Duane (St Josephs) for T Flynn (b/c, 70+2)
18. Frankie Burke (Annaghdown) for I Burke (70+6)

Kerry

1. Shane Murphy (Dr Crokes)

2. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
3. Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
4. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)

5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
19. Killian Young (Renard)
7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)
9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin)
11. Seán O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks)
12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks)

13. David Clifford (Fossa)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
15. James O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion)

Sub:

25. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle) for O Beaglaoich (ht)
21. Anthony Maher (Duagh) for J Barry (47)
18. Micheal Burns (Dr Crokes) for J O’Donoghue (52)
20. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys) for K McCarthy (64)
23. Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore) for J Foley (inj, 64)
26. Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane) for S O’Shea (64)

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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