Kerry goalfest a sobering experience for Red Hands in Division One sem-final
Allianz Football League Division One semi-final: Kerry 6-15 Tyrone 1-14
A long trip to Kerry on Saturday proved to be a pretty sobering experience for Tyrone as their first game in the Kingdom in the post-Mickey Harte era ended in a stark 16-point defeat. Paul Geaney put himself back on the scoring front with two of Kerry's goals but David Clifford left the small attendance in the ground and those watching at home in awe with his 1-6 total.
Tyrone joint manager Brian Dooher said afterwards that while he felt his very not as bad as the scoreline suggested, Tyrone simply had to hold their hands up to Kerry on the day.
“They hit us very hard at the start and we just seemed to be shell shocked. Collectively as both players and management we have to look at it and see where we go from here," Dooher said.
"Kerry kept us at arm's length for the rest of the game after conceding the five goals in the first half. It's hard to know if it is a good or a bad thing that it is four weeks until we play Cavan, sometimes you would prefer to go straight back out and try and rectify things. I don't think Cavan being relegated changes things though, they are still Ulster champions and you have to prepare for it that way."
Kerry boss Peter Keane reiterated his desire for Kerry to have come through the League campaign injury-free despite their six-goal salvo giving them a share of the Division One title.
“I know there will be a lot of talk about the six goals but if you take them out of it then there wasn't really a whole lot scoring wise between the sides," Keane said.
"In every game you want to build momentum and win it and the focus is now on Clare (in the Munster Championship) for us in two weeks' time. There is a bit of transition for us considering we lost four players at the end of last year and we are happy with the experience we have given some of our players and how consistent we have been in terms of the amount of scores we are conceding per game.”
Kerry were just simply ruthless in front of goal, Niall Morgan caught out from a kick-out by Gavin Crowley as he played it to Gavin White in the 15th minute. White lobbed the ball into the empty net for a facile finish that summed up the difference between the sides on the evening. David Clifford had been fouled in the fifth minute for Kerry's opening goal as he converted from the penalty spot. Despite Tyrone's ability to get points and nearly match them on that front, Kerry were just on another level when it came to goals.
Dara Moynihan finished off a magnificent move between David Clifford and Sean O'Shea soon after their gift of a second goal as Paul Geaney announced his return to form by firing in Kerry's fourth and fifth goals. O'Shea did the work for the fourth but Niall Morgan's attempt to block his shot for the fifth as the game entered first half injury time was futile. As well as trailing by 5-6 to 0-7 at the break, Tyrone also lost Darragh Canavan to a worrying injury in the first period as they had half of their substitutions made by half-time.
One of them Tiernan McCann finished their goal well in the 42nd minute after a pass by Darren McCurry but they could not live with David Clifford's ability in particular to kick scores. Niall Morgan came out second best in a battle for a high ball with Kerry's Tommy Walsh in the 65th minute as another Kerry substitute Jack Barry fired in the host's last goal. Man-of-the-Match Jason Foley being one of two Kerry defenders put the icing on Kerry's win for them as they retain (albeit a share) the title they won outright last year.
Kerry: K Fitzgibbon; B Ó Beaglaoich, J Foley (0-1), T O'Sullivan; M Breen (0-1), G Crowley, G White (1-0); D O'Connor, A Spillane; S O'Brien, S O'Shea (0-3, 0-1 free), P Geaney (2-0); D Clifford (1-6, 0-4 frees), D Moynihan (1-0), P Clifford
Subs: M Burns (0-2) for P Geaney (42), K Spillane (0-2) for S O'Brien (49), J Barry (1-0) for S O'Shea (53), J O'Connor for D Moynihan and J Sherwood for G White (both 59), P O'Shea for A Spillane (64) and G O'Sullivan for M Breen (70 +2)
Yellow cards: M Burns (70)
Temporary sub: J O'Connor for P Clifford (35 to h-t)
Tyrone: N Morgan; C Moore, R McNamee, P Hampsey; M McKernan, P Harte (0-1), L Rafferty; M Donnelly (0-1), F Burns; K McGeary (0-3), D Canavan, C Meyler; D McCurry (0-3, 0-2 frees), C McKenna, P Donaghy (0-1 free)
Subs: M Bradley (0-1) for D Canavan (8), T McCann (1-0) for C Moore (25), R O'Neill (0-1) for P Donaghy (h-t), R Donnelly (0-1) for F Burns (h-t), R Brennan (0-1) for M McKernan (45), N Sludden (0-1) for L Rafferty (45) and C Kilpatrick for R McNamee (66)
Yellow cards: R Brennan (50), M Bradley (53), M Donnelly (70)
Referee: C Lane (Cork)