Kerry have started their 2018 Allianz Football League season with a dramatic victory.
They came from 4 points down with ten minutes to go to beat Donegal in Killarney, the match ending 2-18 to 3-14.
Donegal had the opening point in the first minute but Barry John Keane levelled for Kerry on 3 minutes. Good defensive work then denied Donegal a goal before Kerry went in front by a point courtesy of Sean O’Se. It was two all by the 6 minute mark but Sean O’Se had the Kingdom ahead 0-3 to 0-2 on 10 minutes. Again, Donegal responded and the game was tied once more.
Kerry went back in front through Barry John Keane after 13 minutes and Sean O’Se doubled the advantage after quarter of an hour; Kerry 0-5 Donegal 0-3. Donegal halved that deficit a minute later but then lost their goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley through injury.
In the 18th minute Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien had the first goal of the day, finishing off good work by Gavin Crowley and David Clifford. Donegal’s cause was made all the more difficult 20 minutes in when midfielder Nathan Mullins was shown a straight red card for kicking out at an opponent.
23 minutes in came David Clifford’s first score in the Senior grade, a point to extend the Kerry advantage to 1-6 to 0-4. The next two points belonged to Donegal and there was just a goal between the sides 3 minutes from the break. Sean O’Se and Ronan Shanahan hit back with Kerry points to bring the gap back up to five at 1-8 to 0-6. However, 2 further points from Donegal meant the Kerry advantage stood at 3 come the half time whistle; 1-8 to 0-8.
The second half had barely started when defender Tony McClenaghan brought Donegal level with a goal.
Micheal Burns put Kerry ahead again with a point but again Donegal hit back to make it 1-9 apiece. Kerry’s Gavin Crowley pointed his side in front 5 minutes into the period. Then Paul Geaney put over to ensure all 6 Kingdom forwards were on the scoresheet. Kerry though were failing to make the extra man count and Donegal were level again by the 46th minute at 1-11 each. The away side pointed again to take the lead for the first time since the first minute. Another superb Patrick Mc Brearty score had Donegal 2 to the good at the 50 minute mark.
Kerry were awarded a penalty on 54 minutes when Paul Murphy was fouled, following good work by James O’Donoghue. Up came Paul Geaney but he drove the spot kick over the bar. That halved the deficit at 1-13 to 1-12.
Sean O’Se brought Kerry level after 56 minutes but a Donegal goal had the visitors back in front less than a minute later. The Kingdom were 4 behind 10 minutes from time.
A Kerry goal from Paul Geaney, 7 minutes from time, gave the Kingdom a chance of salvaging something from the encounter.
Stephen O’Brien restored parity with 6 to go at 2-14 apiece. Two minutes from time a Sean O’Se free put Kerry ahead by the minimum. Killian Spillane doubled the lead heading into added on time.
A Donegal goal in the 71st minute nudged them ahead at 3-14 to 2-16. The Kingdom were back on par in the 74th minute thanks to a Sean O’Se free.
The Kingdom’s Gavin Crowley received his second yellow card but the drama was not yet over as sub Daithi Casey had the final say on the scoreboard in the 75th minute
Kerry manager, Eamonn Fitzmaurice
Kerry player, Paul Murphy
Declan Bonner, Donegal Manager
Emer Hogan, Kerry Supporters Club
Billy O’Shea spoke with Joe O’Sullivan on Sunday Sports with his post match analysis