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Kingdom come! Kerry savour 'sweet' All-Ireland success against Donegal

Goals from Paul Geaney and Kieran Donaghy gave Kerry a three-point win in Croke Park.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Kerry 2-9

Donegal 0-12

THE KINGS HAVE taken back their throne. Kerry are the All-Ireland senior football champions for the 37th time.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side beat Donegal by three points in a final that only caught fire in the last 20 minutes.

Paul Geaney got the Kingdom off to a perfect start when he scored the game’s opening goal after just 50 seconds.

And Kieran Donaghy pounced on a blunder by Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan in the second half to make sure that it was Kerry’s day again.

For a county so accustomed to dining at the top table, a five-year wait for the senior title felt like a famine. Earlier, Jack O’Connor’s minors upheld their part of the bargain with a first win at the grade since 1994.

It was even more remarkable to see this Kerry side triumph without the retired veterans Tomas Ó Sé, Paul Galvin and Eoin Brosnan and while the country’s star footballer Colm Cooper sat on the bench as an unused sub.

Kieran Donaghy celebrates with Colm Cooper after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Today was not the day to bring the Gooch back from his lengthy cruciate lay-off. In the end, Kerry didn’t need him.

Fitzmaurice got his tactics spot on to counteract Donegal’s dogged defensive blanket. It made for a dour game at times, particularly at the start of the second half when there was only three scores in 15 minutes before Donaghy’s goal lit a fuse.

James O’Donoghue, the front-runner for Footballer of the Year, had an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon but his team-mates stepped up to lead the charge.

The game’s first attack ended in Kerry’s opening goal. Geaney plucked the ball from above Paddy McGrath’s head and swivelled to score past Durcan.

Reeling, Donegal managed to hang in and bridged the gap. Michael Murphy kicked three frees, Colm McFadden another, and Odhran MacNiallais and Karl Lacey added points from play to leave it 1-3 to 0-6 at the break.

As is so often the case in tight contests, the game swung on a single mistake. Donaghy was quickest to react when Durcan tried to take a short kick-out, and he made no mistake in slotting it past the distraught keeper.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It put Kerry four ahead with less than 20 minutes to play but Donegal boss Jim McGuinness rightly refused to let his goalkeeper shoulder the blame for a disappointing afternoon.

Paddy McBrearty and Barry John Keane had both entered the fray at that stage and as the game came to life, they notched a pair of points each.

There was a sour taste left by Kerry’s time-wasting as the clock ticked towards the red. Keane was the worst offender, kicking the ball off Paul Durcan’s tee as he scrambled to take a late kick-out in added time.

Donegal still had one final chance as captain Murphy forced his way through the green and gold sea at the death. Brian Kelly got a hand on the initial shot but looked to be beaten when McFadden punched the rebound onto the post.

Scorers for Kerry: Kieran Donaghy, Paul Geaney (0-1f) 1-2 each, Barry John Keane 0-2 (0-2f), Johnny Buckley, Paul Murphy, Bryan Sheehan (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-4 (0-3f), Patrick McBrearty 0-2, Neil McGee, Karl Lacey, Odhrán MacNiallais, Christy Toye, Colm McFadden, Dermot Molloy 0-1 each.

KERRY

1. Brian Kelly (Killarney Legion)

2. Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht)
3. Aidan O’Mahony (Rathmore)
4. Fionn Fitzgerald (Capt) (Dr Crokes)

5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
6. Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
7. Killian Young (Renard)

8. Anthony Maher (Duagh)
9. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)

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10. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)
11. Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes)
12. Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane)

13. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
14. Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks)
15. James O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion)

Subs: Mikey Geaney for O’Brien (HT), Barry John Keane for P Geaney (49), Shane Enright for Fitzgerald (54), Declan O’Sullivan for Walsh (57), Bryan Sheehan for Moran (67), Kieran O’Leary for Donaghy (71).

DONEGAL

1. Paul Durcan (Na Ceithre Maistir)

2. Eamonn McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
3. Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
4. Paddy McGrath (Ard an Ratha)

5. Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
6. Karl Lacey (Na Ceithre Maistir)
7. Frank McGlynn (Gleann Fhinne)

8. Neil Gallagher (Gleann Suili)
9. Odhran Mac Niallais (Gaoth Dobhair)

26. Rory Kavanagh (Naomh Adhamhnáin)
11. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
12. Ryan McHugh (Cill Chartha)

17. Darach O’Connor (Bun Crannacha)
14. Michael Murphy (Gleann Suili, capt)
15. Colm McFadden (Naomh Micheal)

Subs for Donegal: Christy Toye for O’Connor (28), Patrick McBrearty for McHugh (45), Martin McElhinney for MacNiallais (49), David Walsh for McLoone (57), Dermot Molloy for Kavanagh (64).

Kerry end 20-year wait for All-Ireland minor glory

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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