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THIS IS IT, the biggest game of the Gaelic football season is upon us. We’re live from Croke Park following all the action as Kerry take on Donegal.

As always, we’d love to hear your comments. Send them to fintan@thescore.ie, tweet them @TheScoreGAA, find us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

Result: Kerry 2-9 Donegal 0-12

***********************

We’re getting set for the big one in Croke Park. It’s Kerry against Donegal, throw-in at 3.30pm.

We caught up with Mayo midfielder Aidan O’Shea during the week to get an insight into facing these two teams.

1. Jim McGuinness v Éamonn Fitzmaurice

“I suppose both managers mentally before the teams get on the pitch, they have done an excellent job. For Jim, that’s coming after we beat them last year. There were doubts about them but he’s done amazing job. The first thing Ryan McHugh mentioned after the final was the belief that he’s insstilled into them. I think that’s a credit to Jim.

“Éamonn Fitzmaurice is after losing some serious players since last year. These lads are footballers who’ll be spoken about for generations like Tomás Ó Sé and Paul Galvin. He repaired the morale as well after Kerry losing the best player in the country in the Gooch best player in the country. I think you’d have to say Éamonn has worked wonders. They’ve both done incredible jobs and one of them will want to finish it off now today.”

2. The midfield battle

“The Kerry midfield are a very traditional midfield pairing. They’d probably be the most traditional left in the country alongside ourselves in Mayo. Dave (Moran) and Anthony (Maher) are very much catch and kick.

“With Donegal it’s a bit different. Jim throws in something different to the equation in each game. Neil Gallagher went in full-forward at the start of the first-half and then came out in the second-half where had an excellent game and had a major influence. I don’t think Donegal will kick ball out like they did against Dublin. It’s intriguing as to what way they’ll play it.

“Dave is a very good kicker of the ball. I remember playing a Sigerson game a few years back – DIT  against UL – and he kicked the lights out. He’s come on another level this year. Odhrán MacNiallais has been a breath of fresh air for Donegal. He’d an excellent game against Armagh and a really good first-half v Dublin. He’s given them a lot of energy around the pitch and is breath of fresh air.”

SuperValu GAA Community GAA Fund All-Ireland Final 2013 Aidan O'Shea is part of an All-Star line up in the SuperValu stand at the National Ploughing Championships in Stradbally, Co. Laois which takes place from Tuesday 23rd - Thursday 25th September. Source: SPORTSFILE

Here’s the Donegal team named to start:

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)

10. Christy Toye (Naomh Mícheál)
11. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
12. Ryan McHugh (Cill Chartha)

13. Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
14. Michael Murphy (Gleann Suili, capt)
15. Colm McFadden (Naomh Micheal)

And here’s the Kerry team named to start:

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)

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)

Referee today is Laois man Eddie Kinsella. Marty Duffy is the standby referee, Padraig Hughes linesman and Rory Hickey the sideline official.

Right the countdown is on. The players have just met the President and the match parade will soon commence.

The Kerry substitutes are:

16. Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)
17. Shane Enright (Tarbert)
18. Michael Geaney (Dingle)
19. Declan O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses)
20. Bryan Sheehan (St Mary’s)
21. Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
22. Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh-Glencar)
23. Kieran O’Leary (Dr Crokes)
24. Jonathan Lyne (Legion)
25. Mark Griffin (St Michael’s-Foilmore)
26. Pa Kilkenny (Glenbeigh-Glencar)

And the Donegal substitutes are:

16. Michael Boyle (Termon)
17. Darach O’Connor (Buncrana)
18. David Walsh (Naomh Bríd)
19. Declan Walsh (Malin)
20. Dermot Molloy (Naomh Conaill)
21. Hugh McFadden (Killybegs)
22. Leon Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
23. Luke Keaney (Four Masters)
24. Martin McElhinney (St Michael’s)
25. Martin O’Reilly (Sean Mac Cumhaill)
26. Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s)

Late Donegal changes, Rory Kavanagh and Darach O’Connor in for Christy Toye and Paddy McBrearty.

Amazing atmosphere here in Croke Park and we’re almost set for action.

Really looking forward to this, the 2014 All-Ireland senior football final is about to start.

Michael Murphy starts at full-forward while Rory Kavanagh plays midfield.

GOAL FOR KERRY!

Kerry 1-0 Donegal 0-0
1 mins – What a start! Stephen O’Brien’s point attempt drops shot, Paul Geaney catches and turns his man before shooting low to the corner of the net.

Geaney did brilliantly well there to turn Paddy McGrath. All the attention on Donaghy and O’Donoghue before this game but it’s the third member of Kerry’s full-forward line who really makes his mark at the start.

Kerry 1-1 Donegal 0-0
3 mins – Kerry are flying. Donaghy points off his left after Geaney palmed the ball down to him following a Johnny Buckley shot that hit the upright.

Kerry 1-1 Donegal 0-1
5 mins – Donegal are up and running as Michael Murphy slots a free.

Thunderous start to the match as it unfolds at a really fast pace.

Geaney’s first senior football championship goal for Kerry. What a time for it to arrive.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Kerry 1-1 Donegal 0-2
11 mins – Donegal starting to settle? Murphy knocks over another free.

Kerry 1-2 Donegal 0-2
13 mins – Nice Kerry play. Two good accurate foot passes from David Moran and Buckley culminates in Donaghy fetching the ball and being fouled. Geaney does the rest from a close-range free.

Wow! Eamonn McGee is turned over as charges upfield by Paul Murphy and James O’Donoghue pumps the ball in where it evades Geaney and Paul Durcan before flashing just wide. That would have been some goal.

Kerry 1-2 Donegal 0-3

16 mins – Three from three for Murphy as he points a free following a foul on Leo McLoone.

Couple of huge turnovers, David Moran on Neil Gallagher and then Eamonn McGee on Donaghy. The crowd in full voice now.

Kerry 1-2 Donegal 0-4
23 mins – The gap is down to one as Colm McFadden taps over a free following a foul on Ryan McHugh.

Still just a single point from play, Donaghy’s early score.

Goal chance for Donegal as Darach O’Connor cuts in from the left but his low shot goes across the goalmouth and wide as Brian Kelly advanced.

Kerry 1-3 Donegal 0-4
27 mins – Paul Geaney so close to a second goal! James O’Donoghue comes deep, wriggles clear and sends in a cross that Geaney catches. The Dingle man fakes to shoot, turns on to his left and blasts a shot that just clears the crossbar. First score for Kerry since the 13th minute.

Sub: Christy Toye is in for Donegal for Darach O’Connor.

Kerry 1-3 Donegal 0-5
28 mins – Odhrán MacNiallais has the ball stripped from his grasp by Donnchadh Walsh but the ball spills loose and MacNiallais gets clear to first time it over the bar from 25 yards.

Good chance for James O’Donoghue to open his scoring account as he breaks onto a ball but his shot from a central position just tails wide.

Kerry 1-3 Donegal 0-6
31 mins – And Donegal draw level! It’s Karl Lacey who grabs the point.

Donegal must be pleased at how this half has developed. They’ve recovered from the body blow of that early Geaney goal and slowly got to grips with the game.

Donaghy close to a glorious point but the ball knocks off the upright and goes wide.

Half-Time: Kerry 1-3 Donegal 0-6

All square at the break. Yellow cards for Neil Gallagher and Anthony Maher just before the half-time whistle. Still all to play for.

Here’s the first half scorers:

Kerry: Paul Geaney 1-2 (0-1f), Kieran Donaghy 0-1.
Donegal: Michael Murphy 0-3 (0-3f), Colm McFadden (0-1f), Karl Lacey, Odhrán MacNiallais 0-1 each.

We’re back underway for the second-half.

Sub: Half time Kerry change, Mikey Geaney on for Stephen O’Brien.

Early wides on both sides.

Donegal 0-7 Kerry 1-3
37 mins – For the first time in this game Donegal go ahead. It’s their captain who points the way as Michael Murphy converts a brilliant score from play.

Kerry 1-4 Donegal 0-7
39 mins – Great point for Kerry and from the most unlikely source. Wing-back Paul Murphy pops up with a long range effort from the Cusack Stand side.

Nearly another fine Kerry score but David Moran’s shot hits the post and Donegal clear their lines.

40 minutes gone, the teams are level and it’s really tight and tense.

Wides on both sides, Paul Geaney from play and Michael Murphy from a free.

Shooting leaving plenty to be desired at the moment. McFadden engineered some space but then screwed his shot high and wide.

Sub: Patrick McBrearty on for Ryan McHugh on the Donegal team.

Donegal continuing to frustrate Kerry as a Kingdom phase of build-up play culminates in Walsh hoofing a shot wide.

Sub: Barry John Keane on for Kerry for Paul Geaney.

GOAL FOR KERRY!

Kerry 2-5 Donegal 0-7
52 mins – Incredible! Paul Durcan’s shot kick out goes straight to Kieran Donaghy who races through and billows the back of the net. Moments before the scoring impasse had been broken after Killian Young made a surging run, was fouled and Barry John Keane popped over the free.

Kerry 2-5 Donegal 0-8
53 mins – McBrearty punches over a point for Donegal and then kicks another. Two point advantage with Kerry though.

Sub: Shane Enright in for Kerry for Fionn Fitzgerald.

Kerry 2-5 Donegal 0-10
55 mins – What a response by Donegal to that goal! A third successive point and this time it’s Neil McGee who comes forward to score after a great initial break by McElhinney.

At the other end Anthony Maher shoots wide off his left.

Kerry 2-6 Donegal 0-10
56 mins – Cracking point for Kerry by Johnny Buckley. The game has really come to life now.

Subs: Declan O’Sullivan on for Kerry for Donnchadh Walsh while Donegal bring in David Walsh for McLoone.

Kerry 2-7 Donegal 0-10
58 mins – Kerry showing their mettle. Beautiful through ball by James O’Donoghue to Keane, he’s fouled by Gallagher and then Keane taps over the free.

Ten minutes left, Kerry three points up. Big task for Donegal to come back.

Kerry 2-8 Donegal 0-10
61 mins – Aidan O’Mahony pumps in a ball that Donaghy wins, he swivels under pressure and fists a point.

Sub: Last throw of the dice from Donegal? Dermot Molloy on for Rory Kavanagh. Six minutes left and they trail by four points.

Kerry 2-8 Donegal 0-11
64 mins – Good impact by Molloy as he hits a point.

Kerry 2-8 Donegal 0-12
65 mins – Donegal not done yet! Christy Toye points.

Kerry patiently recycle the ball and win a vital free 45 yards out. And they’ve brought on Bryan Sheehan for David Moran. Big kick this one.

Kerry 2-9 Donegal 0-12
68 mins – Sheehan nails it! Kerry go three points in front.

Two minutes of injury time.

Kerry cleverly holding on to the ball and drawing frees.

Sub: Kieran O’Leary on for Kerry for Kieran Donaghy.

Incredible! Donegal so close to a goal as the ball pinged around the Kerry goalmouth but Kerry clear.

All over and Kerry are the All-Ireland senior football champions!

Full-Time: Kerry 2-9 Donegal 0-12

Goals by Paul Geaney and Kieran Donaghy prove crucial as Kerry claim the All-Ireland senior football title!

That’s all from us, thanks for joining in.

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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