Kerry turned in a much-improved performance as they beat Down

March 18, 2013

• Allianz NFL Division One: Kerry 0-11 Down 1-5

James Mc Cartan named the same starting fifteen that played v Mayo last week

Kerry made four changes to their starting fifteen. Anthony Maher and Declan O’Sullivan made their return to the Kerry team against Down. Maher partnered Eoin Brosnan at centre field while O’Sullivan went into the full forward line. There were also two changes in defence with Fionn Fitzgerald and Brian Maguire coming in. Paul Galvin was included in the substitutions.

Kerry turned in a much-improved performance as they beat Down 0-11 to 1-5 in Tralee to register their first Allianz NFL Division One win.

Johnny Buckley’s five first-half points provided the platform for the Kingdom. Connaire Harrison scored the visitors’ only point as Kerry led 0-8 to 0-1 at the break with the influential Declan O’Sullivan hitting a brace.

Donal O’Hare poached an opportunist second-half goal, but Kerry managed to see out a deserved victory despite Darran O’Sullivan’s penalty miss.

Pointless after four Division 1 matches, Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s men were in desperate need of a result against a Down side that opened their win account against Mayo last weekend.

After early wides at both ends, the returning Declan O’Sullivan was out smartly to win a ball and Buckley slotted the forty yard free.

The same two players combined for Buckley’s only point from play and Buckley struck an eighth minute free for three nil.

While Kerry were thriving from the direct play of Buckley and O’Sullivan along with a stellar defensive display from Marc Ó Sé, Down were rather toothless in defence and attack.

Buckley landed another pointed free, following a strong run from Ó Sé, and Declan O’Sullivan added his name to the score sheet with Buckley and Kieran Donaghy involved in the build-up.

Down’s only point of the opening thirty five minutes came when Mark Poland ran hard at the Kerry defence, a goal chance was briefly on before he passed for Harrison to split the posts.

Jonathan Lyne and Darran O’Sullivan set up Declan O’Sullivan for a twentieth minute score, and Brian Maguire then cut in from the wing to fist Kerry sevenpoints to one clear.

With O’Hare and Benny Coulter adding to Down’s wides tally, Buckley registered his fourth pointed free at the start of a four-minute period of injury-time.

Down tightened up for the start of the second half, defending deep in numbers and squeezing the space on what had been a fluid Kerry attack.

The complexion of the game changed when a Mark Poland point attempt came back off the woodwork and Donal O’Hare finished the loose ball to the net.

O’Hare followed up with pointed free to reduce the arrears to 0-08 to 1-02, as James McCartan’s charges played their way back into contention.

Paul Galvin, coming on for captain Brosnan, made an immediate impact as he created an opening for Declan O’Sullivan’s third point and his presence restored confidence to shaky Kerry.

Donal O’Hare and Jonathan Lyne traded points as Kerry kept their noses in front. They had a serious chance to put the game to bed in the fifty ninth minute, but Darran O’Sullivan sent his penalty kick wide.

Paul McComiskey provided the assist for a Benny Coulter point as the margin was cut to three again, however, Kerry did just enough to see out this much-needed win.

Impressive wing back Brian Maguire shot his second and Kerry’s eleventh and final point with Down’s only response being a free from substitute Arthur McConville.

Scorers: Kerry: Johnny Buckley 0-5 (0-4f), Declan O’Sullivan 0-3, Brian Maguire 0-2, Jonathan Lyne 0-1

Down: Donal O’Hare 1-2 (0-1f), Connaire Harrison, Benny Coulter, Arthur McConville (0-1f) 0-01 each

KERRY: Brendan Kealy; Marc Ó Sé, Aidan O’Mahony, Shane Enright; Fionn Fitzgerald, Killian Young, Brian Maguire; Anthony Maher, Eoin Brosnan; Jonathan Lyne, Donnchadh Walsh, Johnny Buckley; Declan O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy, Darran O’Sullivan.

Subs used: Mark Griffin for O’Mahony (13 mins), Paul Galvin for Brosnan (46 mins), Kieran O’Leary for Walsh (57mins), James O’Donoghue for Declan O’Sullivan (66 mins).

DOWN: Brendan McVeigh; Daniel McCartan, Brendan McArdle, Ryan Boyle; Ryan Mallon, Aidan Carr, Keith Quinn; Kalum King, Kevin McKernan; Conor Laverty, Mark Poland, Paul McComiskey; Donal O’Hare, Connaire Harrison, Benny Coulter.

Subs used: Conor Gough for Carr (25 mins), Damien Turley for Mallon (32 mins), Arthur McConville for Harrison (46 mins).