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Kerry Versus Dublin Always Warms The Heart, Even In Cold Conditions

dublin kerry

Dublin 1-19

Kerry 1-19

Michael Corry reporting live from Croke Park.

There really is something to be said for Saturday night football.

Making the journey through town this evening, there was a sense of optimism flowing through the air as Drumcondra drew closer.

Dublin versus Kerry, opening game of the season, under lights and a healthy crowd in HQ, you could feel beforehand that this one would catch fire.

dublin kerry

And it did.

As Galway’s Oughterard celebrated their intermediate football success, the game’s top two forces made their way to the field. The warm-ups further fed the theory that fans were in for a blistering opening night as both teams reigned shots down on top of their keepers’.

Both teams started well, Dublin slightly better but Kerry had nothing to panic about as they showed in September that you can never count this Kingdom side out. David Clifford seemed quiet enough on his debut as captain. Davy Byrne was performing admirably and brought Hill 16 to its feet with a beautiful block on the young maestro early on.

However, Clifford would soon be firing on all cylinders as he danced his way through for the first goal of this Allianz League campaign much to the delight of the boisterous Kerry crowd.

Dublin responded to the goal in typical fashion. Five passes later and Brian Fenton called for the ball in the middle of the pitch.

The big Raheny man the carried it through the heart of the Kerry defence before clipping over with his left while under pressure. It was the perfect response and the first of three scores in a row for Fenton.

Kerry continued to trade though and moved into the lead again after half an hour.

It was then that a slick Dublin move saw Dean Rock upended as he shot on goal. A penalty was rightfully reward and Rock duly dispatched of it.

The final ten minutes of the half saw the two sides display and exhibition in attacking play.

There was also a positive example of the latest and most controversial rule change when James McCarthy’s perfect 30-yard kick pass was rewarded with a simple mark for McHugh.

However, the flip side saw Eric Lowndes received a fairly innocuous black card that marred an impressive first half for him.

Both sides had chances as the half looked set to finish level.

Fenton wasn’t finished though. With 39 minutes on the clock and the whistle about to blow the former Footballer of the Year brought the curtain down on a great half of football with his fourth from play. It saw Duin finish the half with a 1-10 to 1-9 lead.

Paul Murphy struck back-to-back scores after the break before Liam Kearney slotted home his first score of the match. All of a sudden, 10 minutes into the second half and Kerry led by two.

A free from Rock seemed to settle the nerves but it was a case of ‘anything you can do I can do better’ as a bandaged up SeΓ‘n O’Shea fired over from an acute angle to leave it at 1-11 to 1-13 with 20 minutes to go.

Rock and O’Shea continued to trade frees in the same manner that they did back in September, displaying their sweet striking abilities for all in attendance. It was the Kingdom, though, who managed to keep their noses in front leading by three as the final 10 minutes took off.

With five minutes to go, James McCarthy’s score brought Dublin back to within one.

Would there be a late rally?

It looked that way as Ciaran Kilkenny showed his strength to claim a mark in front of the posts and leave one between them as Hill 16 began to make their voices heard once more.

dublin kerry

Kerry looked to have held their nerve when Paul Geaney collected a beautiful mark that Killian Spillane converted into a score.

However, Dublin would set up the grandstand finish.

First, it was Aaron Byrne of Na Fianna who closed the gap to one. Kilkenny then levelled before Niall Scully hit the all-important point to send the Dubs back in front in injury time.

dublin kerry

However, boos rang around the stadium as their momentum was halted when Clifford won an easy free for Geaney to convert. It was 1-18 to 1-18 with two minutes remaining.

Kilkenny, who was awesome down the home stretch looked to have inspired Dublin to yet another come from behind win when he gifted Rock with a chance to point in injury time for the win.

However, Kerry would get one more chance.

Underneath the Hogan Stand, they were awarded a free. It was the 79th minute, three over the allocated six. Up-stepped captain Clifford. It was never in doubt.

dublin kerry

Final score, Dublin 1-19 Kerry 1-19.

_____

It’s true, it’s only January and this was the first game of the year. There’s no cause for wild celebrations, glorification or even panic and consternation if that’s what you’re in to, there’s plenty of football to be played in the Allianz Leagues.

But we’ve every right to be happy at the display we saw from both sides this evening in what was an excellent game of football played in the right manner, in perfect conditions and in front of a genuinely excitable crowd.

dublin kerry

Despite the freezing temperatures, this fixture did what it seems to do at this time of year, every year. It warmed the heart.

The Allianz Leagues are back!

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Author: Michael Corry

Sports Journalist born in Armagh, based in Dublin. Interested in feature writing and listening to unique, engaging stories. Up for the craic too. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @MickCorryPA Instagram: @Corry_10