Dubs start league campaign with Croker win over Kingdom

Dublin 2-8 Kerry 1-10
A 66th minute Jack McCaffrey score proved decisive as Dublin claimed a slender one-point win over Kerry in their Allianz League opener at Croke Park tonight.

Dublin carved out victory in impressive fashion having been five points in arrears after 17 minutes, and with just a goal to their credit at that stage, coupled with the dismissal of Sean George on a straight red card, 10 minutes into the second half.

Jim Gavin's charges were boosted by the inclusion of Alan Brogan in the starting line-up, but despite this, it was an exuberant youthful Kerry side who drew first blood.

On their first return to GAA headquarters since their seven-point All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin last September, Kerry arrived with a bang.

Dublin had little answers in the opening quarter, with the Kingdom settling quickest thanks to early scores from play from James O'Donoghue and Barry John Keane.

Dublin registered their fourth wide by the ninth minute with Shane Carthy, Stephen Cluxton and Kevin McManamon guilty of misses, but the latter firmly made amends a minute later.

Eoghan O'Gara and Cormac Costello first combining, before McManamon sliced the ball to the net to the delight of Hill 16.

A second goal chance arrived 90 seconds later, but this time Brendan Kealy denied McManamon with a fine block.

David Moran, BJ Keane and O'Donoghue added points to open up a 1-5 to 1-0 lead.

Gradually Dublin came back into contention, with McManamon, Costello and Carthy firing points, before O'Gara netted their second goal in the 30th minute.

For the second kickout in a row, Kealy was guilty of directing the ball straight to an opponent, with Ciarán Reddin sending a high-ball into O'Gara, before the Templogue man pounced to hand Dublin a 2-3 to 1-5 lead.

Kerry finished strongly before the break as points from Keane and O'Donoghue handed them a 1-7 to 2-3 interval lead.

The Munster outfit forged a three-point lead inside six minutes of the restart, with O'Donoghue and league debutant Stephen O'Brien on target.

Dublin hadn't gone away, with Costello cutting the gap to two points, before a straight red card was produced by referee David Coldrick for George after the Meath official consulted with his umpires.

Dublin failed to be put down by their numerical disadvantage, and went on to score four of the next five points, including McCaffrey's match winner.

Kerry failed to score in the closing 19 minutes, with a last gasp burst for an equaliser from Aidan O'Mahony penalised, after he was adjudged to have committed a dive late on.

After the game Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice confirmed the retirement of Paul Galvin from Senior inter-county football.

Galvin was initially included as number 17 on the match programme, but was replaced by Milltown-Castlemaine clubman Marcus Mangan.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; J Cooper, S George, M Fitzsimons; E Lowndes, C O'Sullivan, P McMahon; D O'Mahony, S Carthy (0-2, 1f); C Kilkenny, A Brogan, C Reddin; K McManamon (1-1), E O'Gara (1-0), C Costello (0-2, 2f). Subs: MD Macauley for O'Mahony (45); J McCaffrey (0-1) for Reddin (49); P Mannion (0-2, 2f) for McManamon (53); D Byrne for O'Gara (56); K Nolan for Carthy (64); D Nelson for Cooper (67)

KERRY: B Kealy; P Murphy, M Griffin, S Enright; P Crowley, B McGuire, J Sherwood; A Maher, D Moran (0-1, 1 45); J Lyne, M Geaney, D Walsh; BJ Keane (0-4, 2f), J O'Donoghue (1-3), S O'Brien (0-3). Subs: A O'Mahony for Geaney (47); C Cox for Lyne (53); D Culhane for Sherwood (58); P Geaney for Walsh (62); P Kilkenny for Murphy (67); A Fitzgerald for Crowley (70)

REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)

  • Click to stay connected with more stories like this
  • Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.

Most Read in Sport