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Casey hits winning point, O'Shea fires 0-7 and 3 red cards shown in Kerry Donegal clash

The sides met in Killarney today.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kerry 2-18
Donegal 3-14

Fintan O’Toole reports from Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney

A LATE POINT deep in injury-time from substitute Daithi Casey granted Kerry a valuable opening day win over Donegal in a fiery clash that saw three players sent-off this afternoon in Killarney.

Casey’s score came just after debutant Sean O’Shea, who finished with 0-7 overall, had brought Kerry level when he hit over a superb free.

Patrick McBrearty struck 0-10 for a gallant Donegal side who were reduced to 14 men when Nathan Mullins was sent-off in the 20th minute.

But they battled on with Tony McCleneghan, Odhran MacNiallais and Darach O’Connor all bagging second-half goals for Declan Bonner’s side as they repeatedly troubled the Kerry defence.

Stephen O’Brien and Paul Geaney netted for the Kingdom while Kerry’s Gavin Crowley and Donegal’s McCleneghan were both sent-off before the final whistle.

Kerry had been in front 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval with 2017 All-Ireland minor winning captain David Clifford setting up O’Brien for a close-range finish to the net in the 19th minute. Clifford only posted a single point on the board but set up 1-2 in the opening half of what was his senior debut.

David Clifford under pressure from Caolan Ward David Clifford made his Kerry senior debut today. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Despite their numerical advantage Kerry struggled to put Donegal away and Bonner’s side grew in confidence when McCleneghan slammed home a 37th minute goal. They would go on to hit five of the game’s next eight points to move ahead 1-13 to 1-11.

Kerry drew level courtesy of Geaney, who smashed a penalty over the bar, and O’Shea before McNiallais got in for Donegal’s second goal in the 57th minute after a swift exchange of passes with Niall O’Donnell.

Jason Foley tackles Patrick McBrearty Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

That looked a crucial score but a pulsating finale produced plenty talking points. Geaney raised a green flag when he bundled the ball to the net in the 63rd minute before three Kerry points on the bounce from O’Brien, O’Shea and Killian Spillane pushed them in front to the delight of the home support in the attendance of 10,977.

Donegal had another kick in them when substitute Darach O’Connor got on the end of a long delivery to flick home their third goal.

There was still time for a pair of red cards to be brandished by referee Paddy Neilan and a pair of priceless points to be struck by O’Shea and Casey.

Daithi Casey scores the winning point Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-7 (0-4f), Paul Geaney 1-2 (0-1 pen), Stephen O’Brien 1-1, Barry John Keane 0-2, Gavin Crowley, Ronan Shanahan, Micheál Burns, David Clifford (0-1f), Daithi Casey, Killian Spillane 0-1 each.

Scorers for Donegal: Patrick McBrearty 0-10 (0-8f), Odhran MacNiallais 1-2, Darach O’Connor, Tony McClenaghan 1-0 each, Jamie Brennan, Stephen McBrearty 0-1 each.


1. Shane Murphy (Dr Crokes – captain)

2. Cormac Coffey (Kerins O’Rahillys)
3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
4. Shane Enright (Tarbert)

5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)
7. Ronan Shanahan (Austin Stacks)

19. Barry O’Sullivan (Dingle)
9. Brendan O’Sullivan (Valentia)

10. Micheál Burns (Dr. Crokes)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)

13. David Clifford (Fossa)
14. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
15. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys)


17. James O’Donoghue (Legion) for Keane (49)
18. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Clifford (49)
21. Daithi Casey (Dr Crokes) for Barry O’Sullivan (55)
23. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for O’Donoghue (55)
20. Matthew Flaherty (Dingle) for Coffey (60)
25. Brian Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue) for Burns (68)


1. Mark Anthony McGinley (St Michael’s)

2. Stephen McMenamin (Aodh Ruadh)
7. Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Killybegs)
3. Caolan Ward (St Eunan’s)

6. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
17. Paul Brennan (Bundoran)
26. Tony McCleneghan (Moville)

8. Hugh McFadden (Killybegs – captain)
9. Nathan Mullins (St Vincent’s, Dublin)

5. Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
12. Caolan McGonigle (Buncrana)
10. Martin O’Reilly (Seán MacCumhaill)

13. Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
15. Odhran MacNiallais (Gaoth Dobhair)
21. Jamie Brennan (Bundoran)


16. Peter Boyle (Aodh Ruadh) for McGinley (inj) (17)
11. Niall O’Donnell (St Eunan’s) for Brennan (half-time)
25. Ciaran Thompson (Naomh Conaill) for McGonigle (42)
18. Stephen McBrearty (Kilcar) for O’Reilly (47)
14. Jason McGee (Cloughaneely) for McLoone (66)

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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Fintan O'Toole

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