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rebuilding Kerry were the better team by miles, but Dublin GAA prove future is bright

Kerry beat Dublin, but not the Dublin of Stephen Cluxton, Jack McCaffrey, Bernard Brogan and Diarmuid Connolly.

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Kerry's David Clifford wins the race for possession with Dublin's David Byrne. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Kerry's David Clifford wins the race for possession with Dublin's David Byrne. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Kerry's David Clifford wins the race for possession with Dublin's David Byrne. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

THIS game reminded me hugely of the famous All-Ireland qualifier in 2012 when Kerry beat Tyrone down the road in Killarney.

Kerry fans were dancing on the pitch at the end of that match, celebrating victory over a team that had caused them so much heartbreak in the preceding decade.

Of course, it wasn’t the same Tyrone team of 2003, 2005 and 2008 — so many of their heroes had moved on. And so it was last night in the wind and the rain in Tralee.

Kerry beat Dublin, but not the Dublin of Stephen Cluxton, Jack McCaffrey, Bernard Brogan and Diarmuid Connolly.

Nor that of James McCarthy, Con O’Callaghan, Michael Fitzsimons or Johnny Cooper who will return later this summer.

One point made by last night’s TV analyst struck home with me.

Last night’s Kingdom XV was more or less their Championship side, bar perhaps big midfielder David Moran.

Their manager Jack O’Connor knew he had to beat this weakened Dublin team at home.

The Kerry fans wanted, no demanded, nothing less.

By contrast, Dublin boss Dessie Farrell is trying to blood players in the Allianz League and defeats like this one are the collateral damage.

Young players are coming in and trying to take the places of some of the best players who have ever worn the Sky Blue shirt.

Good times are just not going to happen overnight.

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Kerry were the better team by miles last night.

I was hugely impressed by their handling in the dreadful conditions.

Handpasses and footpasses all stuck — and they moved the ball up and down the pitch at their ease.

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Dublin manager Dessie Farrell during the Allianz Football League Division 1 defeat to Kerry at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell during the Allianz Football League Division 1 defeat to Kerry at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell during the Allianz Football League Division 1 defeat to Kerry at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Yet Dublin will look to two crucial moments of the first half. There was Niall Scully being black-carded wrongly for a challenge that led to a Dublin goal being chalked off.

Kerry made hay when Dublin were a man down and playing into the wind.

The other moment of note was Lorcan O’Dell not managing to shoot for a goal when he had the chance.

Instead, he tried to pass the ball to Dean Rock and ballooned the ball over the Ballymun man’s head.

That was the sort of mistake that a youngster like O’Dell will make as he gets used to senior level.

Remember, he is coming from last year’s Under-20 team, he’s a year behind in physical development to the old days of Under-21.

If I do have a gripe about what happened in Tralee, it was a little bit of naivety on the sideline.

Halfway through the first period, with the gale at Kerry’s backs, there were only a couple of points in it.

Then Scully was off for ten minutes and Kerry won the match by scoring for fun.

Surely, Dublin should have crowded their defence in that period.

Get bodies back, make it difficult for Kerry to get their shots off.

Instead, a man down for ten minutes, Dublin went man-to-man with the likes of David Clifford and Sean O’Shea and paid the price.

Dublin’s next game is against their old rivals Mayo in Croke Park. After it, Dublin have only one home game left in the league. They will have four away ones still to come.

Lose to the Green and Red, and Dublin are definitely in a relegation battle — a place they do not want to be.

But it is the price to be paid for trying to build again after the demise of the greatest team there has ever been.

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