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Kerry's league title hopes remain alive after convincing win away to Monaghan

David Clifford was once again one of the stars of the show as the Kingdom were three-point winners.

Gavin White, who was also excellent, facing Ryan McAnespie.
Gavin White, who was also excellent, facing Ryan McAnespie.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Oct 17th 2020, 5:57 PM

Monaghan 0-14

Kerry 0-17

THE RIGHTS AND wrongs of the inter-county season starting up, and the ramifications of same in the midst of a pandemic, will be hotly debated in the days ahead, but on Saturday afternoon in east-Monaghan a football match took place, and it was a welcome distraction from talk of Covid-19, NPHET, levels and lockdowns.

223 days after they were originally scheduled to meet in Inniskeen, Monaghan and Kerry made it to Kavanagh country for their delayed National League encounter and the contest was none the worse for the wait.

The weather was as cool, crisp and dry as it might have been last March, and the teams looked fresh, fit and up for the gig. Kerry travelled without Jack Barry, Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien and James O’Donoghue, while Monaghan started without Conor McManus, but the game lacked for nothing because of their absences, save for Monaghan missing the scoring adroitness of McManus.

The Clontibret man did enter the action at half time and finished with five points, and Monaghan will wonder what might have been had he been fit enough to start.

In the end, the Farney men’s inability to find the target often enough cost them the right result here, and consequently they remain with their feet to the relegation fire, though they should survive by beating Meath next weekend.

Kerry’s focus is at the other end of the table where they remain in the hunt for the league title, albeit they will need Galway to slip up, given the absence of a League final this year.

Kerry led 0-5 to 0-2 at the water break – David Clifford with a couple of early scores, linking well with Tony Brosnan inside – with the visitors well organised in defence, forcing turnovers and hitting the hosts on the counter-attack.

seamus-mcenaney-with-peter-keane Seamus McEnaney and Peter Keane. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A converted mark from Fintan Kelly and a Micheal Bannigan free cut the gap to a point, but Kerry defenders Jason Foley, Gavin White and Paul Murphy all found the target to push Kerry four clear before Tony Brosnan capitalised on a Rory Beggan error to flick a point and make it 0-9 to 0-4.

The Monaghan goalkeeper made amends with a late converted ’45’ to leave his side trailing 0-6 to 0-10 at half time.

McManus was quickly into his scoring stride after his introduction, with two fine scores, but Kerry still looked comfortable at the second water break, leading 0-14 to 0-8.

Goal chances were rare in what was a reasonably open and hard-hitting contest, but Kerry sub Jonathan Lyne really should have tapped in from David Clifford’s pass — though Beggan somehow clawed the ball away for a ‘45’.

When Clifford converted an advanced mark in the 62nd minute to make it 0-15 to 0-9 Kerry looked comfortable and uncatchable, but Monaghan rallied well to score five of the last seven scores.

It wasn’t enough, however, as Kerry held out for the win that might well deliver them the league title next week.

peter-crowley-and-sean-oshea-celebrate Sean O'Shea celebrating with his Kerry team-mates. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-5 (2f), Christopher McManus 0-2, Rory Beggan 0-1f, Fintan Kelly 0-1 (m), Kieran Hughes 0-1, Micheal Bannigan 0-1f, Dessie Ward 0-1, Andrew Woods 0-1, Stephen O’Hanlon 0-1

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 0-6 (1f, 2m), Tony Brosnan 0-3, Sean O’Shea 0-2 (1 ‘45’), Jason Foley 0-1, Tom O’Sullivan 0-1, Paul Murphy 0-1, Gavin White 0-1, David Moran 0-1, Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1

Monaghan

1. Rory Beggan

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2. Kieran Duffy
3. Conor Boyle
4. Ryan Wylie

5. Ryan McAnespie
6. Fintan Kelly
7. Karl O’Connell

8. Darren Hughes
9. Kieran Hughes

10. Dermot Malone
11. Michéal Brannigan
12. Dessie Ward

13. Conor McCarthy
14. Andrew Woods
15. Shane Carey

Subs

21. Conor McManus for C McCarthy (ht)
22. Stephen O’Hanlon for D Malone (52)
23. Christopher McGuiness for A Woods (52)
19. James McKenna for K O’Connell (61)
18. Drew Wylie for R McAnespie (65)

Kerry

1. Shane Ryan

2. Jason Foley
3. Tadhg Morley
4. Tom O’Sullivan

5. Paul Murphy
6. Peter Crowley
7. Gavin White

8. David Moran
9. Diarmuid O’Connor

10. Micheál Burns
11. Sean O’Shea
12. Ronan Buckley

13. Tony Brosnan
14. David Clifford
15. Dara Moynihan

Subs

22. Jonathon Lyne for M Burns (52)
19. Brian O Beaglaoich for D Moynihan (61)
25. Paudie Clifford for R Buckley (70)
21. Tommy Walsh for D Moran (72)
18. Killian Spillane for T Brosnan (72)

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan  / Reports from Inniskeen

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