END TO END football, a championship clash as tight as they come and no matter what, Kerry and Donegal couldn’t be separated in their thrilling Super 8s clash in Croke Park this afternoon.
It looked like the Kingdom had just edged it when Paul Murphy finished off a brilliant team move with 73 minutes on the clock. But no, there was room for a little more excitement for the 48,723 watching on.
Donegal’s captain fantastic Michael Murphy — who finished with 1-7 — fired over a last-gasp free-kick to level matters at the death, leaving the game tied at 1-20 a-piece.
Man-of-the-match Ryan McHugh and Patrick McBrearty also enjoyed splendid performances for Donegal, while Paul Geaney led the scoring charge for Kerry. It really was a dramatic and enthralling contest from start to finish, and one no one probably deserved to lose.
Both sides made three late changes before throw-in with some injury concerns coming to the fore. Big names David Moran and Neil McGee were among those absent for both sides, as a new Kerry midfield partnership took to the field in Shane Enright and Diarmuid O’Connor.
Killian Spillane also started, with Jack Sherwood and Graham O’Sullivan the players to make way. For Donegal, Eamonn Doherty came in for McGee while Caolan Ward and Eoin Murphy started in place of Daire Ó Baoill and Paul Brennan.
The first half was a fascinating battle, with excellent football on show from both sides at HQ. Black cards shown to Gavin White and Niall O’Donnell will come as talking points, but it was tit-for-tat stuff with the teams level six times throughout the opening period.
Jason McGee opened the scoring with three minutes on the clock, before the in-form Stephen O’Brien fired back at the Canal End seconds later. That set the tone. Michael Murphy’s opening offering was a sixth-minute free, and that was followed swiftly by a Killian Spillane point.
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David Clifford had some uncharacteristic early misses but soon found his feet alongside Paul Geaney and Sean O’Shea to really get the Kerry attack purring. McBrearty and McHugh led the way at the other end, the Kilcar duo combining for five first-half points.
Declan Bonner and Peter Keane afterwards.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
In the 25th minute, there may have been a goal on for Peter Keane’s side but Geaney blasted his second of three first-half points over the bar.
The Dingle man added another, as did O’Shea (free) before McBrearty tied proceedings at 0-9 a-piece as the clock turned 33. O’Shea had the last say of the opening period, and the Kingdom went in one point up.
The second half was again, absolutely scintillating. And up a level, at that, on a damp, misty afternoon in the captial. It was one that had it all; two goals — one of those a penalty — cards, exceptional points, and influential performances all round.
Early doors saw Michael Langan and Clifford exchange points, before Murphy hit back-to-back monster frees. The 44th minute brought the game’s first goal as Geaney rattled the net to make it 1-11 to 0-12.
Declan Bonner’s Ulstermen, of course didn’t lie down, responding immediately through Oisin Gallen, but Tom O’Sullivan bit back straight after. Then it was McBrearty (free) and Spillane’s turn to trade scores, before Donegal’s all-important goal came in the 50th minute.
Substitute Ó Baoill was fouled in the area by O’Brien, and Murphy stepped up to power home accordingly. That left it 1-14 to 1-13 after 53 minutes. Almost immediately afterwards, Donegal had the ball in the back of the net again but it was overruled after Eoin McHugh was adjudged to have thrown the ball.
O’Shea and Spillane added points either side of the 60th minute, with Murphy sandwiching another in between. Level for the 10th time then, a McBrearty free came as the next score. O’Brien and Clifford combined with the next two as a grandstand finish approached, and Langan levelled matters again in the 67th minute.
Michael Murphy after scoring a penalty.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
At 1-17 a-piece, they were nowhere near done.
Kerry struck next through a Jason Foley fisted effort, Gallen cancelled that out at 71 minutes. The lead shifted in Donegal’s favour when Murphy made it 1-19 to 1-18 seconds after, and then, like a flash, it was Geaney at the other end.
The two late, late scores followed, with a red card shown to Tomas Ó Sé — who was just on the pitch — amid all the drama. But woah, what a game, with plenty to play for in Group 1 in Castlebar the next weekend.
Scorers for Kerry: Paul Geaney (1-4), David Clifford (0-3, 1f), Sean O’Shea (0-4, 3f), Stephen O’Brien and Killian Spillane (0-3 each), Tom O’Sullivan, Jason Foley, Paul Murphy (0-1 each).
of the team
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Scorers for Donegal: Murphy (1-7, 4f, 1pen), Patrick McBrearty (0-5, 3f), Ryan McHugh, Oisin Gallen and Michael Langan (0-2), Jason McGee and Niall O’Donnell (0-1 each).
1. Shane Ryan
2. Jason Foley
3. Tadhg Morley
4. Tom O’Sullivan
5. Paul Murphy
6. Gavin Crowley
7. Gavin White
17. Shane Enright
18. Diarmuid O’Connor
10. Adrian Spillane
11. Sean O’Shea
c23. Killian Spillane
13. David Clifford
14. Paul Geaney
15. Stephen O’Brien
25. Jonathan Lyne for Gavin White (black card) (33)
9. Jack Sherwood for Diarmuid O’Connor (43)
20. Micheal Burns for Stephen O’Brien (blood) (52) — reversed (60)
19. Mark Griffin for Shane Enright (55)
12. Graham O’Sullivan for Gavin Crowley (62)
20. Micheal Burns for Adrian Spillane (68)
26. Tomás Ó Sé for Killian Spillane (72).
1. Shaun Patton
2. Odhran McFadden-Ferry
20. Eamonn Doherty
4. Stephen McMenamin
5. Ryan McHugh
23. Caolan Ward
19. Eoin McHugh
8. Hugh McFadden
9. Jason McGee
10. Ciaran Thompson
11. Niall O’Donnell
12. Jamie Brennan.
13. Patrick McBrearty
14. Michael Murphy
15. Michael Langan
6. Daire Ó Baoill for McGee (23)
25. Oisin Gallen for Niall O’Donnell (black card) (35)
17. Frank McGlynn for Hugh McFadden (38)
7. Paul Brennan for Eamonn Doherty (46)
24. Brendan McCole for Odhrán McFadden-Ferry (62)
18. Leo McLoone for Ciarán Thompson (69).
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