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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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O'Shea and Walsh point the way as Kerry beat Monaghan to claim fifth league win

Peter Keane’s side are on course for a place in the league decider.

Tommy Walsh impressed in Kerry's victory today.
Tommy Walsh impressed in Kerry's victory today.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Kerry 0-17
Monaghan 0-13

Paul Brennan reports from Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney

THE SMALLEST NUDGE will see Kerry fall into the Division 1 football league final but they’re not quite there yet despite recording their fifth consecutive win of the campaign today.

This one was another tough test of mind and body for themselves and Monaghan, which Kerry passed with another late surge that is becoming a hallmark of the team under manager Peter Keane.

Seven months after serving up a Super 8 pot-boiler under the Clones sunshine, Kerry and Monaghan played out another fascinating duel in bitter cold and snow showers in Killarney, but while the draw last July helped Monaghan put one foot in an All-Ireland semi-final, defeat in this game sees them dangling over the drop-zone and staring at Division 2 football next year.

It’s four defeats on the spin now for Malachy O’Rourke’s men after that opening round win over Dublin, and as it stands themselves and neighbours Cavan are looking at dropping out of the top flight with just two rounds to play.

No such worries for Kerry, as barring some catastrophic collapse against Mayo and Roscommon – and some mathematical freak – they’re looking at a league final in Croke Park at the end of the month, possibly against reigning champions Dublin, but that’s all for another day.

This will be a tough defeat for Monaghan to take given that they led all the way until the 65th minute when Stephen O’Brien’s point edged Kerry in front for the first time, and late scores from Dara Moynihan, Tom O’Sullivan and two from Sean O’Shea – the last an audacious sideline kick – closed out the deal.

The first half had produced 16 scores, which was a credit to both teams as they were greeted with a near white pitch after heavy snow fell throughout the NHL curtain-raiser between Kerry and Meath.

Monaghan were two to the good, 0-9 to 0-7, at the interval, with Conor McManus to the fore with six points for the visitors – four converted frees, a pointed mark and the other from play. Gavin Doogan, Stephen O’Hanlon and Conor McCarthy chipped in with the other scores.

Kerry’s first half total also came from four outlets, with O’Shea converting two frees and one from play, Tommy Walsh scoring from play and a mark, with O’Brien and O’Sullivan also finding the target.

The football wasn’t of the highest quality in that opening period, but under the circumstances both teams were positive and direct; Kerry looking to find Walsh inside and see who could feed off him, while Monaghan, unsurprisingly, sought to bring McManus into the game as much as possible, with Dermot Malone and Dessie Ward looking to feed off him.

Twice in that first half the teams were level, at two points each and seven apiece, but Monaghan led at every stage otherwise after McManus pointed them into a second minute lead.

Early second half points from O’Shea (free) and Walsh – who converted three offensive marks – had the teams level again, and it was near score for score for the next 20 minutes until Kerry finally wrestled the lead from the visitors through O’Brien.

Monaghan had Darren Hughes sent off in the 67th minute, which left them stretched, and a Kerry team growing in confidence found the gaps to engineer those late scores to all but book their place in the final at the end of the month.

Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 sideline), Tommy Walsh 0-4, Stephen O’Brien, Tom O’Sullivan 0-2 each, Dara Moynihan 0-1.

Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-8 (0-6f), Gavin Doogan, Stephen O’Hanlon, Conor McCarthy, Darren Hughes, Colin Walshe 0-1 each.

Kerry

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
3. Jack Sherwood (Firies)
4. Brian Ó Beaglaíoch (An Ghaeltacht)

5. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)
6. Paul Murphy (Rathmore) (captain)
7. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

8. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
9. Mark Griffin (St Michael’s/Foilmore)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa Killarney)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
12. Gavin O’Brien (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)

13. Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin)
14. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahilly’s)
15. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)

Subs

22. Michael Geaney (Dingle) for K McCarthy (half-time)
17. Shane Enright (Tarbert) for M Griffin (52)
21. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for B Ó Beagaloich (55)
20. Tomás Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht) for J Sherwood (59)
19. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue) for G Crowley (71)

Monaghan

1. Rory Beggan (Scotstown)

2. Colin Walshe (Doohamlet)
3. Drew Wylie (Ballybay)
4. Ryan Wylie (Ballybay)

18. Colm Lennon (Ballybay)
19. Vincent Corey (Clontibret)
7. Karl O’Connell (Tyholland)

8. Darren Hughes (Scotstown)
9. Gavin Doogan (Magheracloone)

10. Ryan McAnespie (Emyvale)
23. Conor McCarthy (Scotstown)
12. Stephen O’Hanlon (Carrickmacross)

13. Dermot Malone (Castleblayney)
14. Conor McManus (Clontibret)
15. Dessie Ward (Ballybay)

Subs

5. Dessie Mone (Clontibret) for C Lennon (44)
21. Owen Duffy (Latton) for D Ward (61)
11. Jack McCarron (Currin) for S O’Hanlon (63)
25. Barry McGinn (Doohamlet) for D Malone (70)

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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