Dublin 4-9 Kerry 1-18 Late drama in Thurles sees David Clifford penalty help Kerry claim draw against Dublin
It was billed as a game Kerry couldn't afford to lose and they took that frame of mind to the finish to secure a third draw with Dublin in their last four league and championship meetings in this Allianz Division 1 South game at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
Seven points down at one stage, Kerry fought back to level in the second half but went behind again to a Cormac Costello penalty when Con O'Callaghan was fouled by Diarmuid O'Connor with Costello converting the penalty in the 61st minute.
That looked like Dublin's passport to another psychological wound on the Kingdom but they were relentless in their pursuit and eventually found parity again when Philly McMahon hacked down Stephen O'Brien and David Clifford put away the penalty four minutes into injury time.
For Kerry, it will feel more like a point gained than lost, given where they found themselves at half-time, all at sea as Dublin hit them for three goals to lead by 3-6 to 0-9.
They had defended chaotically, failing to deal with Con O'Callaghan's sorcery or the vision of Ciaran Kilkenny.
But to their credit, Kerry showed a level of spirit that will stand to them over the summer and especially if they meet again in an All-Ireland final. But O'Callaghan will be on their minds between now and then.
For a long time Dublin looked at their ease and nothing summed them up more than their opening point of the second half from Costello, such a patient build-up with no Kerry player touching the ball from throw-in until Costello fired over in the 39th minute.
Kilkenny had run the show so impressively, setting up the first goal for O'Callaghan with that trademark fist pass over the top that has undone so many defences over the last few years.
Opponents see it coming but the understanding between them is so strong at that stage that it's like a relay baton pass and once O'Callaghan had got in behind Tadhg Morley, Kieran Fitzgibbon was always odds on to be picking the ball out of his net and with a deft sidestep that's how it transpired to make it 1-1 to 0-4 after 16 minutes, wiping out Kerry's hard-earned early gains.
They regained a foothold with Paudie Clifford and Diarmuid O'Connor points but Dublin struck for their second goal on 20 minutes with Kilkenny again involved in the build-up, sending Paddy Small away who in turn fed Cormac Costello who turned back on his left to give Fitzgibbon no chance.
Dublin sensed blood at this stage and clear advantages in all their one-to-ones and it was their cue to take the defender on more.
With James McCarthy alternating with Brian Fenton at midfield and sweeping impressively Dublin got better control of Kerry's lively forwards and while Clifford finished the half with three points, two from play, he wasn't as clinical as the previous week.
One of his two points off the right foot got Kerry back to within two points, 2-4 to 0-8, after Dublin had stretched ahead by four and there were three points in it as they approached half-time, Small helping himself to a third point.
Dara Moynihan had the ball in the Dublin net but referee Sean Hurson brought back play for a foul by Robbie McDaid instead, bringing renewed focus on the advantage rule again.
It was a goalscoring opportunity and though Moynihan had taken six steps before he had offloaded the shot, in this instance it paid to foul.
By then Dublin had figured out the Kerry full-back line's aerial deficiencies and a Small delivery was judged perfectly by O'Callaghan as Paul Murphy lost his bearings and once more O'Callaghan showed the nerve of the ruthless assassin in these situations that he is.
Clifford was much more clinical in the second half bringing his tally to five from play, six overall, and showed the nerve to beat Evan Comerford with a late penalty.
Scorers - Dublin: C Costello 2-3 (1-0 pen) C O'Callaghan 2-1, P Small 0-3, B Fenton C Kilkenny 0-1 each. Kerry: D Clifford 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), S O'Shea 0-4 (2fs), D O'Connor, D Moynihan, P Murphy all 0-2 each, P Clifford, P Geaney 0-1 each.
Dublin: E Comerford; E Murchan, D Byrne, M Fitzsimons; S McMahon, J Small, R McDaid; J McCarthy, T Lahiff; N Scully, B Fenton, C Costello; P Small, C Kilkenny, C O'Callaghan. Subs: C Basquel for Lahiff (47), D Mullin for P Small (54), E Lowndes for McDaid (54) P McMahon for J Small inj (50) S Bugler for Kilkenny (65), J Cooper for McMahon (65), B Howard for Scully (71).
Kerry: K Fitzgibbon; B O Beagloaich, T Morley, J Foley; P Murphy, G Crowley, G White; D Moran, D O'Connor; D Moynihan, S O'Shea, P Geaney; D Clifford, K Spillane, P Clifford. Subs: T Walsh for Spillane (h-t), R Buckley for Geaney (44), A Spillane for Moran (44), S O'Brien for P Clifford (50), G O'Sullivan for O Beagloaich (57), J Sherwood for White (57), M Burns for Moynihan (62).
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