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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
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Division 1: Kerry succeed in Omagh to avoid relegation

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side claimed the victory they desperately needed in Omagh this afternoon.

Sean Cavanagh and Kerry's Anthony Maher.
Sean Cavanagh and Kerry's Anthony Maher.
Image: INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard

Kerry 1-16
Tyrone 2-12

KERRY withstood a second-half fightback from Tyrone to claim the victory they needed to stay in the top flight this afternoon in Healy Park in Omagh.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side were 11 points clear at half-time and enjoyed a ten-point advantage during the second-half with 20 minutes left.

But they needed to hold their nerve in the finale when Mark Donnelly scrambled home a late goal for Tyrone to cut the gap to a single point.

Kerry held on for victory and then Dublin did them a favour in Ballybofey as they drew with Donegal to ensure the Kingdom avoided the dreaded drop to Division 2.

It was a remarkable turnaround by Kerry after a campaign where they slumped to defeat in their first four games.

But they have recovered, assisted greatly by the return of experienced figures like Declan O’Sullivan and Colm Cooper to their attack, and this result serves as a great pre-championship fillip for Kerry.

The Kingdom only registered three points in the second-half yet they had laid the foundations by then with an outstanding opening half display as they lead by 1-13 to 0-4 at the interval.

Kerry surged ahead by 0-8 to 0-1 by the 17th minute with Darran and Declan O’Sullivan impressing.

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Tyrone tried to gain a foothold in the game, helped by a sublime point from the wing by Stephen O’Neill, yet they were rocked before the interval when Tomás Ó Sé palmed the ball to the net after being supplied a pass from Darran O’Sullivan.

Tyrone got an early second-half boost when O’Neill rolled the ball to the net but with twenty minutes left, they still trailed by 1-15 to 1-5. Then the Red Hands revival began as they reeled off six points on the trot with substitutes Conor Clarke and Conor Gormley kicking some massive points as they cut the gap to 1-15 to 1-11.

Kerry got a badly needed point from Cooper when he converted a free yet Tyrone kept powering towards the finish line and Donnelly grabbed their second goal but it proved too late to affect the end result.

Scorers for Kerry: Tomás Ó Sé 1-1, Johnny Buckley, Declan O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy, Colm Cooper (0-2f) 0-3 each, Darran O’Sullivan 0-2, Jonathan Lyne 0-1.
Scorers for Tyrone: Stephen O’Neill 1-1, Mark Donnelly 1-0, Darren McCurry (0-2f), Sean Cavanagh (0-1f), Conor Clarke 0-2 each, Ronan O’Neill (0-1f), Niall Morgan (0-1f), Conor Gormley, Peter Harte, Joe McMahon (0-1f) 0-1 each.

KERRY Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin); Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), Mark Griffin (St Michael’s-Foilmore), Shane Enright (Tarbert); Tomás Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), Eoin Brosnan (Dr Crokes), Killian Young (Renard); Anthony Maher (Duagh), Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes); Jonathan Lyne (Legion), Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes), Paul Galvin (Finuge); Declan O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks), Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh-Glencar).

Subs: Brian McGuire (Listowel Emmett’s) for Brosnan (inj).

TYRONE: Niall Morgan (Edendork); Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciaran), Justin McMahon (Omagh), Cathal McCarron (Dromore); Ryan McKenna (Eglish), Joe McMahon (Omagh), Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran); Colm Cavanagh (Moy), Sean Cavanagh (Moy); Patrick McNeice (Coalisland), Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran), Mark Donnelly (Carrickmore); Darren McCurry (Edendork), Stephen O’Neill (Clann na nGael), Ronan O’Neill (Omagh).

Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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