Kerry lead the way in Allianz Football League Division 1.
They’ve moved about Galway thanks to a 17 points to 14 win away to Monaghan.
Kerry round off their campaign in Tralee against Donegal next Saturday; whoever finishes top of the table wins the League.
Kerry took possession from the throw-in and retained that possession through some efficient passing towards the forward line to find the Captain. David Clifford registered the first point of inter-county football for the Kingdom inside the first minute.
From the restart, Monaghan tried to get a foothold in the game before Kerry could add to their tally and a free from 20 metres out from the Kerry goal was squandered leaving Kerry in front after a couple of minutes.
Clifford doubled the lead with a point from a Mark soon after the opening score.
Both sides exchanged periods with the ball with Marks being won at opposite ends of the pitch. Conor Boyle and Fintan Kelly were lively for the hosts along with Ryan McAnespie but Kerry’s defence held firm drawing the foul and a free to clear their lines.
Diarmuid O’Connor and David Moran stood out in midfield and imposed their presence forcing Monaghan to avoid the area from the kick outs.
Monaghan’s first goal chance came and went after 8 minutes but the Kingdom defence thwarted the danger.
Monaghan 0-00 Kerry 0-02
Some beautiful sweeping play from Kerry with Sean O’Shea to David Clifford who found Tony Brosnan to put the ball over the bar.
Monaghan 0-00 Kerry 0-03 after 10 minutes.
The first point for Monaghan came after 12 minutes from a good move through the phases with Andrew Woods finishing to make it 0-03 to 0-01 for the Kingdom.
Diarmuid O’Connor restored Kerry’s 3 point lead soon after and just before the water break with a good point from play.
Monaghan were lacking pace which was contributing to their difficulties in breaking down the Kerry defence.
The hosts perseverance paid off with a great effort from Dessie Ward splitting the posts from play to leave Kerry in front by double-scores after 16 minutes.
Another Kerry attack came close to yielding a score but Monaghan cleared it out for a 45 which was taken and converted by the great Sean O’Shea.
At the Water Break – Monaghan 0-02 Kerry 0-05
Once they refuelled, it was Monaghan who went on the offensive and found the target twice in quick succession with points from Fintan Kelly and Micheál Bannigan leaving the minimum between the teams.
Monaghan 0-04 Kerry 0-05 after 22 minutes.
Such is the talent of the Kerry panel it was corner back Jason Foley who went to the opposite end to put his name on the score sheet with great point for the Ballydonoghue man.
Monaghan 0-04 Kerry 0-06 after 23 mins.
Kerry’s first goal chance was prevented by Rory Beggan who narrowed the angle on Gavin White. The Dr Crokes defender fisted the ball over the bar to extend the Kingdom’s lead to 3 points again.
Those quick points from Monaghan after the water break seemed to poke the bear and Paul Murphy’s score, a third unanswered point from a Kerry defender put four between the sides.
Tony Brosnan could have hit the net only for some good defending from Monaghan but he was happy with the point.
Monaghan closed the gap straight away with a point from Kieran Hughes.
Monaghan 0-05 Kerry 0-09 after 30 minutes.
All Kerry’s great work with 7 out of 9 points from play was nearly undone when Micheál Bannigan’s shot for a goal hit the post and a big let-off for Kerry!
Kerry looked to finish the half with a flourish with some good possession up front leading to a free. David Clifford’s kick went over to double the lead for Kerry.
Monaghan’s Rory Beggan pointed from a free to mark the last action in the first half.
Half-Time: Monaghan 0-06 Kerry 0-10
Kerry came back after the break as they were and played in the same manner they had performed in the first half while Monaghan tried to make more of an impression on the scoreboard.
Conor McManus came on instead of Conor McCarthy to add more firepower to the Monaghan attack.
Early pressure from Monaghan, in particular from Micheál Bannigan was repelled by Shane Ryan in the Kerry goal.
Referee Barry Cassidy stopped the game and put the name of Karl O’Connell into his notebook after showing the Monaghan player a yellow card for an incident that happened a minute or two earlier.
Kerry won a free and David Clifford found David Moran to put the ball over for the first score of the second half.
Monaghan 0-06 Kerry 0-11
The quality of Conor McManus was evident with his first effort from the restart to give Monaghan their 7th score.
That was cancelled out immediately with a point for Kerry from Captain Fantastic David Clifford.
In the next phase of play, Gavin White blazed a trail through the centre of the Monaghan defence to find his
Dr Crokes team mate Tony Brosnan who pointed from play.
Monaghan 0-07 Kerry 0-13 after 11 minutes of the second half.
It’s very difficult to stop quality and Monaghan have that with Conor McManus. He scored a wonder point for the hosts after 16 minutes of the second half.
After two more substitutions, the momentum was with Monaghan and Micheál Bannigan came close to finding the net but he was foiled for a second time thanks to strong Kerry defending.
Darren Hughes and newcomer Christopher McGuinness linked up with some good passing but Kerry regained possession with David Moran who pushed the Kingdom forward to Sean O’Shea to pop it over.
Second Half Water Break
Monaghan 0-08 Kerry 0-14
Kieran Hughes took a tremendous Mark to give Monaghan a boost heading into the final quarter of the game while Christopher McGuinness added a point to the scoreboard.
Kerry sub Jonathan Lyne (on for Micheál Burns) combined brilliantly with David Clifford and the goal chance was turned around for a 45 after a great point-blank save from Rory Beggan.
The 45 from Sean O’Shea dropped short into the hands of the Monaghan net-minder.
Another Kerry change saw the introduction of Brian Ó Beaglaoich for Dara Moynihan after 24 minutes.
The scoreboard was feeling lonely for a while until David Clifford scored from a Mark after 27 minutes to make it 0-15 to 0-09.
Conor McManus and Stephen O’Hanlon popped over consecutive points to leave four between them heading into the last 5 minutes of the game.
Monaghan 0-11 Kerry 0-15
Kerry maintained possession of the ball and kept Monaghan at arms-length to see out the game as they headed into stoppage time.
After David Clifford and Tom O’Sullivan completed the scoring for Kerry, Peter Keane ran the bench to bring on Killian Spillane and Tommy Walsh for Tony Brosnan and David Moran respectively.
Conor McManus added two more points to finish as Monaghan’s top scorer and perhaps they could have done better had he started the game. Christopher McGuinness followed with another point to leave 3 between the sides in the dying moments.
It was a nervy final few moments for Kerry as Monaghan went in search of a goal to draw the game. Barry Cassidy allowed Monaghan another chance to get something out of the fixture with one last play. After an additional 10 minutes the game ended with a victory for Kerry.
Final Score: Monaghan 0-14 Kerry 0-17
Kerry manager Peter Keane
Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney
Sean McCaffrey of Northern Sound reviews the match