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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 24 May, 2019

Two red, six yellow and two black cards as Kerry defeat Donegal in bruising Tralee clash

Victory for Kerry in a ferocious contest.

Tempers flare between Donegal and Kerry players.
Tempers flare between Donegal and Kerry players.

Kerry 1-13
Donegal 1-8

Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park

SOMEWHERE AMONG THE fighting a football match broke out at a refurbished Austin Stack Park, and when all was done Kerry had relieved Donegal of their unbeaten run and claimed a vital home win and two points.

The first half was blighted with massed brawls from the get-go, with Eddie Kinsella acting more fireman than referee such were the number of flashpoints to be quenched.

Alan Fitzgerald was red carded for Kerry in the seventh minute for what looked like a retaliatory punch on Neil McGee, but the wonder was Kinsella hadn’t flashed red sooner as old scores looked to be settled from the throw-in.

Playing against a gale force wind it suited Donegal to slow down the game in those early minutes but tensions surfaced on both sides as 7,056 spectators were treated to little more than faction fighting in a first half that was barely able to contain its malevolence.

Neil McGee Neil McGee of Donegal picks up a blood injury Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Early scores from Donnchadh Walsh and Bryan Sheehan (‘45’) got Kerry off to an early lead but two Michael Murphy frees kept Donegal in touch as tempers continued to flare.

Fitzgerald’s dismissal was accompanied by McGee’s departure for a blood injury, with Marc Ó Sé also leaving temporarily for a blood injury apparently picked up in another massed fight.

Tempers flare between the teams Tempers flare between the Kerry and Donegal teams Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Three Sheehan frees edged Kerry 0-6 to 0-2 ahead before Kerry lost Shane Enright and Denis Daly to black card offences within seconds of each other, and Kerry went three minutes playing with 12 men until Colm Cooper and Padraig O’Connor joined the action.

Leo McLoone was then sent off on a straight red in the 26th minute for aggressive play before a late Paddy McBrearty point left it 0-7 to 0-3 to Kerry at the break.

Colm Cooper tackles Ryan McHugh Colm Cooper returned to the Kerry ranks Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It took Donegal just six minutes to get back on level terms, but just as Donegal were hitting their stride and looking well fancied to maintain their winning streak, Kieran Donaghy set up Peter Crowley for a cracking goal and Kerry’s self-belief was restored.

Sheehan (two frees) and Donnchadh Walsh added points by the 55th minute to open up a 1-10 to 0-7 lead before Michael Murphy pulled down Eoin McHugh’s high delivery to grab a goal and set up an exciting finale.

Michael Murphy scores a goal Michael Murphy hit a goal for Donegal Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A Murphy free cut the gap to two points with 10 minutes left but Kerry controlled that final period with Ó Sé, Aidan O’Mahony, Crowley and the outstanding Donnchadh Walsh showing great composure.

Sheehan (free), Barry John Keane and Cooper added late scores to ensure Kerry remain unbeaten at home by Donegal in the League since 1988. More important, however, is this win moves Kerry away from the relegation zone with a crucial visit to Mayo to come next Sunday.

Scorers for Kerry: Bryan Sheehan (0-8, 7f, 1 ‘45’), Peter Crowley (1-0), Donnchadh Walsh (0-3), Colm Cooper, BJ Keane 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy (1-4, 0-3f, 1 ’45’), Patrick McBrearty (0-3, 2f), Neil Gallagher (0-1)


Brian Kelly (Legion)

Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)
Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore)
Shane Enright (Tarbert)

Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
Aidan O’Mahony (Rathmore)
Fionn Fitzgerald (Dr Crokes)

Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks)
Bryan Sheehan (St Marys)

Denis Daly (St Marys)
Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane)

Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar)
Alan Fitzgerald (Castlegregory)
Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)


Padraig O’Connor (Legion) for Enright (B/C, 24)
Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes) for Daly (B/C, 24)
Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes) for Donaghy (59)
Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys) for O’Brien (59)
Brendan O’Sullivan (Valentia) for Crowley (67)
Aidan Walsh (St Marys) for D O’Sullivan (71)


Peter Boyle (Aodh Ruadh)

Eoghan Gallagher (Killybegs)
Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
Paddy McGrath (Ardara)

Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
Eamonn Doherty (St Eunan’s)

Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s)
Hugh McFadden (Killybegs)

Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
Odhran MacNiallais (Gaoth Dobhair)
Eoin McHugh (Kilcar)

Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
Michael Murphy (Glenswilly)
Martin O’Reilly (Sean MacCumhaills)


Eamon McGee (Gweedore) for N McGee (blood, 7)
Neil McGee for E McGee (blood reverse HT)
Martin McElhinney (St Michaels) for Doherty (HT)
Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly) for McFadden (HT)
Christy Toye (St Michaels) for A Thompson (54)

Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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