Brian Barry reports from Croke Park as Dublin saw off Kerry on a scoreline of 2-17 to 0-11.
All-Ireland champions Dublin entertained Kerry today at Croke Park, as Jim Gavin’s side had a point to prove given that the last time the two sides met, it was the Kingdom who came out on top in last year’s Allianz National League final.
The first half was a feisty affair, as neither team was willing to give an inch. It was the Kingdom who raced into an early three-point lead, with David Clifford, on his first senior appearance in Croker, getting the better of Cian O’Sullivan in the early exchanges.
However, the first half was decided by goal chances, as Kerry spurned two golden opportunities through Paul Geaney and Sean O’Shea. Meanwhile, Niall Scully raised a green flag for the Dubs, after being played in by Shane Carthy.
Jim Gavin’s charges headed for the break with a 1-08 to 0-08 lead.
Dublin burst out of the blocks after the break, with a third-quarter purple patch seeing off their opposition once again this campaign.
The Dubs registered 1-06 without reply before Micheál Burns registered Kerry’s first point of the second half, but at that stage the game was well and truly over.
Ciarán Kilkenny bundled the ball into the net for his side’s second goal. Dean Rock and Ciaran Reddin could have added a third, but the post came to the rescue for the visitors on two occasions in the second half.
From there, it was a mere procession, as the men from the capital continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over, as they won out by 12 points.
The result also ensured that Galway have qualified for the League final. While the Dubs are currently ahead of the Tribesmen in the table, they are not yet mathematically guaranteed to be in the decider, as two wins for Monaghan and two losses for the Boys in Blue in the two final rounds could see the Farney men reach the decider.
Dublin: Ciarán Kilkenny 1-03, Dean Rock 0-04 (0-03 frees), Niall Scully 1-01, Paddy Andrews 0-03, Colm Basquel 0-02, Jonny Cooper 0-01, Paddy Small 0-01, Philip McMahon 0-01, Cormac Costello 0-01.
Kerry: David Clifford 0-04 (0-02 free), Micheál Burns 0-02, Kevin McCarthy 0-02, Michael Geaney 0-01, Paul Geaney 0-1, Seán O’Shea 0-01.
1. Stephen Cluxton
2. Jonny Cooper
3. David Byrne
4. Eric Lowndes
17. Shane Carthy
6. Cian O’Sullivan
7. John Small
8. Brian Fenton
9. Michael Darragh Macauley
10. Niall Scully
11. Ciarán Kilkenny
12. Brian Howard
13. Paddy Andrews
14. Dean Rock
15. Colm Basquel
Paddy Small for Shane Carthy (31st minute)
Philip McMahon for John Small (black card – 36th minute)
Ciaran Reddin for Paddy Small (temporary substitution)
Paddy Small for Dean Rock (58th minute)
Andrew McGowan for Cian O’Sullivan (64th minute)
Cormac Costello for Ciarán Kilkenny (68th minute)
Emmet Ó Conghaile for Brian Fenton (68th minute)
1. Shane Murphy (Captain)
2. Shane Enright
3. Jason Foley
4. Ronan Shanahan
5. Paul Murphy
6. Peter Crowley
7. Brian Ó Beaglaoich
8. Jack Barry
9. Barry O’Sullivan
10. Micheál Burns
11. Séan O’Shea
12. Adrian Spillane
13. David Clifford
14. Paul Geaney
15. Kevin McCarthy
Éanna Ó Conchúir for Barry O’Sullivan (black card – 34th minute)
Michael Geaney for Seán O’Shea (half-time)
Barry John Keane for Paul Geaney (half-time)
Fionn Fitzgerald for Kevin McCarthy (48th minute)
David Moran for Adrian Spillane (50th minute)
Daithí Casey for Micheál Burns (64th minute)