Kerry 0-17 Monaghan 0-14 Kerry move closer to a possible National League title with three-point win over Monaghan
Kerry moved closer to a possible National League title after resuming their campaign with a deserved win in Inniskeen. Having driven up individually and stayed overnight, the players made the journey worthwhile with a win that leaves themselves right on Galway’s heels entering the final round of games.
Monaghan, needing a win to ease relegation fears, started without Conor McManus but brought him on at half time at which point they trailed by four points. McManus finished the match with five points, three from play, underlining how much Monaghan rely on him. Near the end of ten minutes added on for stoppages Kerry sub Tommy Walsh made a relieving catch with Monaghan chasing a goal that would have earned them a draw. But it would have been an injustice. A three-point winning margin did not flatter Kerry.
David Clifford had another big match, scoring six points, including a sublime late effort, while Tony Brosnan chipped in with three in an impressive performance. The Kerry attack had more precision but they also benefitted from scores from further down the field, with four of the backs scoring points, including the outstanding Gavin White.
Kerry were quickly out of the blocks with two early scores from Clifford, the second from a mark, before he set up a third for Brosnan in the ninth minute after a sweet move. Monaghan brought everyone back into their half but Kerry still managed to find holes and finished the first half good value for their 0-10 to 0-6 lead.
They had to survive a couple of goal scares, with Dermot Malone finding room to cut through on the right but placing his hand pass towards Andrew Woods too high in the eight minute. Near half time Micheal Bannon struck a powerful shot off the Kerry upright with goal in mind.
Monaghan went in at the first water break trailing 0-2 to 0-5, not getting off the mark for 12 minutes when local player Woods sold Jason Foley a dummy and scored a smart point. Foley later made amends by scoring himself as Kerry finished the half stronger until a late free by Rory Beggan reduced the interval deficit. Kerry’s run of scores included one from the explosively fast White and a peach of an effort by Paul Murphy.
Monaghan missed McManus’ potency in attack but the situation could have been worse after an error by Beggan saw the ball run past him and Brosnan volleyed over the bar for a point with the goal exposed. Monaghan scored the first two points after the first water break from Fintan Kelly, a mark, and a Bannigan free but that led to a scoring burst from the visitors with four without reply, to go from one point up to 0-9 to 0-4 clear.
Kieran Hughes replied for the home team before Clifford, from a free, and Beggan swapped points before the interval.
Kerry were missing Paul Geaney, Stephen O’Brien and James O’Donogue and gave Ronan Buckley a first start while the game marked a welcome return for Peter Crowley who hasn’t played for Kerry since suffering a cruciate injury in May of last year.
McManus’ entrance gave Monaghan more teeth up front but Kerry still kept picking off scores and should have goaled when sub Jonathan Lyne was denied by Beggan near the hour mark after working an opening with Clifford’s assistance. Monaghan’s late scoring burst, hitting three points in injury time, wasn’t enough to save them.
Scorers: Kerry - D Clifford (0-6, 2 m, 1 45); T Brosnan 0-3, S O’Shea 0-2 (0-1 45), J Foley, G White, P Murphy, D O’Connor, D Moran, T O’Sullivan 0-1. Monaghan - C McManus 0-5 (0-2 fs), C McGuinness 0-2 (0-1 m), M Bannigan (f), A Woods, F Kelly (m), K Hughes, D Ward, R Beggan (f), S O’Hanlon 0-1.
Kerry: S Ryan; J Foley, T Morley, T O’Sullivan; P Murphy, P Crowley, G White; D Moran, D O’Connor; M Burns, S O’Shea, R Buckley; T Brosnan, D Clifford, D Moynihan.
Subs: J Lyne for Burns (52); B O’Beaglaioch for Moynihan (60); P Clifford for Buckley (68); K Spillane & T Walsh for Brosnan & Moran (73).
Monghan: R Beggan; K Duffy, C Boyle, R Wylie; R McAnespie, F Kelly, K O’Connell; D Hughes, K Hughes; D Malone, M Bannigan, D Ward; C McCarthy, A Woods, S Carey.
Subs: C McManus for McCarthy (ht), S O’Hanlon & C McGuinness for Malone and Woods (52); J McKenna for O’Connell (60); D Wylie for McAnespie (66).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).