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Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
# Return of the King
Clifford scores 0-5 on return as Kerry reach league decider and relegate Roscommon
The result confirmed a swift return to Division 2 for the Rossies.

Kerry 2-17

Roscommon 0-13

Paul Brennan reports from Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon

KERRY DID THE necessary in getting the win they needed against Roscommon to be absolutely certain of playing in next weekend’s Division 1 final, where they will meet Mayo – the only team to beat Kerry in this campaign – while the result confirmed a swift return to Division 2 for the Rossies, who are relegated with Cavan.

Victory or even a draw weren’t absolutely imperative for Kerry but they weren’t going to leave their fate to results and scorelines elsewhere, and the presence of David Clifford in the Kerry full forward line -in his first action of the year – suggested the Kingdom meant business.

Clifford certainly did when he ducked the Roscommon defence after 10 seconds only to be denied a goal by an excellent save from Colm Lavin, but the Fossa man carried a threat that Roscommon simply couldn’t deal with, and he finished with five points.

That didn’t get him the top scorer honour, however, which went to Sean O’Shea who claimed a goal and five points, with Stephen O’Brien chipping in with a goal and two points from play, as Kerry ease away in the second half, having led by O’Shea’s goal, 1-8 to 0-8, at half time.

Tadgh O'Rourke and Diarmuid O'Connor Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Kerry had played against a strong wind in that first half, which Roscommon couldn’t utilise in that period, though they did lead 0-4 to 0-2 after the first quarter, with scores from Nial Kilroy, Cathal Gregg and frees from Conor Cox and Donie Smith.

In the 17th minute Clifford was at it again, weaving his magic to skip through the tackles before his shot skinned the crossbar on its way over for a point. The gap was back to one point, 0-6 to 0-5 to Roscommon, when O’Brien teed the ball up for O’Shea to score past Lavin for what was, remarkably, the Kenmare man’s first senior goal for Kerry in League and Championship.

Roscommon’s cause was hardly helped when midfielder Tadhg O’Rourke was sin binned for the last seven minutes of the half, with Kerry taking that one goal lead to the interval.

Any chance Roscommon harboured of a comeback and a lifeline disappeared as soon as the game resumed. O’Shea and Clifford converted frees, O’Shea extended Kerry’s lead from play and then Clifford, Tommy Walsh and O’Shea combined neatly to set up O’Brien for a tap-in goal to make it 2-11 to 0-8 after 47 minutes.

Cathal Cregg and Paul Murphy Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Roscommon could only manage five points in the second half and Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan was never unduly troubled, as Kerry eased to their sixth and easiest win of the campaign to finish clear of the pack.

They now have seven days to prepare for a Croke Park date with Mayo where a big performance at HQ will be as much a priority for manager Peter Keane as exacting any revenge for that sole defeat in Tralee a week ago. Silverware and a national league title wouldn’t be unwelcome either.

Scorers for Kerry: S O’Shea 1-5 (0-4f), S O’Brien 1-2, D Clifford 0-5 (3f), D Moynihan 0-2, T O’Sullivan 0-1, K Spillane 0-1, J O’Donoghue 0-1

Scorers for Roscommon: C Cox 0-4 (f), R Daly 0-2, D Smith 0-2 (f), D Murtagh(0-2 (1f), S Killoran 0-1, C Cregg 0-1, N Kilroy 0-1


1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
20. Jack Sherwood (Firies)
21. Graham O’Sullivan (Piarsaigh na Dromoda)

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

8. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
18. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa Killarney)
11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare)
15. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)

13. Kevin McCarthy (Kilcummin)
14. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys)
22. David Clifford (Fossa)

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26. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for K McCarthy (inj, 5)
24. James O’Donoghue (Killarney Legion) for T Walsh (50)
19. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue) for J Sherwood (52)
21. Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore) for P Crowley (57)
23. Conor Geaney (Dingle) for D Clifford (66)


1. Colm Lavin (Éire Óg)

2. David Murray (Padraig Pearses)

3. Sean Mullooly (Strokestown)
4. Conor Daly (Padraig Pearses)

5. Conor Hussey (Michael Glaveys)
6. Niall Daly (Padraig Pearses)
7. Ronan Daly (Padraig Pearses)

8. Tadhg O’Rourke (Tulsk)
9. Shane Killoran (Elphin)

10. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)
11. Cathal Cregg (Western Gaels)
12. Ultan Harney (Clan nan Gael)

13. Donie Smith (Boyle)
14. Conor Cox (Listowel Emmetts)
15. Aonghus Lyons (Fuerty)


20. Enda Smith (Boyle) for A Lyons (ht)
21. Diarmuid Murtagh (St Faithleachs) for D Smith (45)
19. Conor Devaney (Kilbride) for N Kilroy (47)
23. Hubert D’Arcy (Padraig Pearses) for C Cregg (57)
18. Gary Patterson (Michael Glaveys) for N Daly (67)

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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