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Kerry come strong at finish to land All-Ireland senior football glory against Galway

Jack O’Connor’s team are back on top.

Action from the Kerry and Galway game.
Action from the Kerry and Galway game.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Kerry 0-20

Galway 0-16

KERRY ARE BRINGING Sam back to the Kingdom.

After eight seasons filled with setbacks and disappointments in Croke Park, Kerry returned to the summit of Gaelic football this afternoon.

Jack O’Connor steered his side to All-Ireland senior football glory with a powerful closing quarter display that saw them outscore Galway by 0-8 to 0-2.

Their star man delivered with David Clifford amassing 0-8 in a superb shooting display. He did not finish the game’s top scorer though, that accolade belonging to Shane Walsh with the Galway forward producing a magical performance in front of goal as he kicked nine points.

Midfielder Cillian McDaid also enjoyed a storming All-Ireland final outing as he weighed in with four points but ultimately Kerry wore Galway down as the second half unfolded.

The inter-county football season concluded in the novel setting of late July with a contest that gave the championship a fine send-off. The match was sprinkled with some brilliant examples of point-kicking, 14 different players across the two teams raising white flags on the door.

Galway, appearing in their first final since 2001, contributed richly to the occasion. They had edged a point ahead by the interval, 0-8 to 0-7, and constructed a two-point advantage by the 47th minute. Even after that when they faltered as Kerry cranked up the gears, Galway dragged themselves level at 0-16 apiece courtesy of rapid-fire points from Walsh and McDaid.

Level with five minutes of normal time on the clock, Galway’s hopes were rising but Kerry steadied themselves and closed the game out. They benefitted from a break with a referee call, Sean Hurson penalising John Daly for a foul on Killian Spillane when the decision looked like it could easily have gone the other way.

David Clifford nailed the dead ball regardless as the pressure intensified, then Killian Spillane and Gavin White rushed forward either side of the 70th minute to fist the ball over the bar into the Hill 16 end.

Seán O’Shea tapped over the late free that critically pushed Kerry clear by the comforting margin of four and Galway’s series of hopeful punts forward failed to yield the goal they craved.

sean-oshea-and-joe-oconnor-lift-the-sam-maguire-for-kerry Seán O'Shea and Joe O'Connor lift the Sam Maguire. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

If they enjoyed some good fortune with that late free decision, Kerry were still the deserving victors. They were tested ferociously by Galway but grew into the game as it progressed, weathered the opposition storm and prospered as the second half unfolded.

David Clifford lit up the game with some of his point-taking, Killian Spillane made an impact off the bench and Paudie Clifford began to weave his way in attack. Graham O’Sullivan put in a towering shift in defence while Gavin White grew in stature in the second half.

Kerry’s first-half shooting was an issue as they chalked up seven wides but they did gain some joy out of high ball pumped into their forwards with Clifford and Paul Geaney both pointing marks in the opening period.

For final debutants, Galway’s players accomplished plenty. Walsh knocked over the first point of the game courtesy of a ’45, his glorious score in the 17th minute sent them 0-5 to 0-2 clear and was the fourth he had posted on the board. John Daly was highly impressive in directing play from centre-back and while Kerry responded with the next three scores, Galway were in front by the break with Jack Glynn and McDaid nailing impressive scores.

shane-walsh-and-tom-osullivan Shane Walsh was hugely impressive for Galway. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The third quarter featured some outstanding passages of play. The teams were level four times in the opening ten minutes of the second half before Kieran Molloy and Walsh sent Galway two clear.

Yet Kerry found a way to gain a stronger grip on the exchanges. Winning the final quarter by six points was reflective of their control to land the prize this group had long desired.

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 0-8 (0-3f, 0-2 mark), Seán O’Shea 0-3 (0-3f), Paudie Clifford 0-2, Killian Spillane 0-2, Graham O’Sullivan 0-1, Paul Geaney 0-1 (0-1 mark), Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Stephen O’Brien 0-1, Gavin White 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-9 (0-4f, 0-1 ’45), Cillian McDaid 0-4, Jack Glynn 0-1, Kieran Molloy 0-1, Johnny Heaney 0-1.

Kerry

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahilly’s), 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)

10. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil), 11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks – captain), 12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks)

13. Paudie Clifford (Fossa), 14. David Clifford (Fossa), 15. Paul Geaney (Dingle)

Subs

18. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for Geaney (half-time)

19. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe) for Moran (half-time)

24. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Paudie Clifford (blood) (43)

13. Clifford for Savage (46)

20. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for O’Brien (56)

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17. Paul Murphy (Rathmore) for Ó Beaglaoich (63)

21. Joe O’Connor (Austin Stacks) for Paudie Clifford (72)

Galway

1. Conor Gleeson (Dunmore McHales)

2. Liam Silke (Corofin), 3. Sean Kelly (Moycullen), 4. Jack Glynn (Claregalway)

5. Dylan McHugh (Corofin), 6. John Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough), 7. Kieran Molloy (Corofin)

8. Paul Conroy (St James’), 9. Cillian McDaid (Monivea-Abbey)

10. Patrick Kelly (Mountbellew/Moylough), 11. Matthew Tierney (Oughterard), 12. Johnny Heaney (Killannin)

13. Rob Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra), 14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown), 15. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin-Clonberne)

Subs

23. Finnian Ó Laoí (An Spidéal) for Finnerty (46)

19. Cathal Sweeney (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for Conroy (58)

24. Eoin Finnerty (Mountbellew-Moylough) for Heaney (63)

20. Niall Daly (Kilconly) for Tierney (74)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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