Kerry Stay In Top Division After Epic Battle In Omagh

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Tyrone 1-14

Kerry 0-17 

Donaghy 1

Kieran Donaghy had a good second half to help ensure Kerry’s survival in Division One.

Kerry ensured their Division One status after a great tussle with rivals Tyrone in Omagh this afternoon.

Kerry were lacklustre in the first half, but came to life in the second period where Colm Cooper made a welcome return to the Kerry side, coming on for the last ten minutes and setting up an important score for Kieran Donaghy.

The big Stacks man had a fine second period setting up points and a goal for TG4’s man of the match Paul Geaney.

In the end, a win would have put Kerry through to the semis – despite Dublin winning in Monaghan – as Mayo and Donegal played out a draw, but it was not to be.

Kerry can look forward to Division One football next year, while Kieran Donaghy was, no doubt, looking forward to the Austin Stacks GAA club social tonight in Ballyroe.

Kerry started the game well with a Johnny Buckley point in the second minute but Tyrone came back into it with two frees from Sean Cavanagh and a superb point from Darren McCurry by the seven minute mark.

Tyrone were moving well and cutting through the Kerry defence, while Kerry’s long ball into Donaghy was plainly not working with the northern defence able to cope with the big Stacks man.

An excellent long distance point from David Moran on 11 minutes was the pick of Kerry’s points in the first half but that was followed immediately by a classy effort from Peter Harte to keep two points between  the sides – 0-4 to 0-2.

Kerry’s bench came into play with Barry John Keane, who wasn’t seeing much ball coming his way, taken off on 18 minutes to be replaced by Paul Geaney.

The sides traded scores for a while with Bryan Sheehan’s frees from long distance keeping Kerry in touch and when Paul Murphy cut through the Tyrone defence to slot over a wonderful score on 31 minutes Kerry were level at five points apiece.

The final few minutes saw a flurry of scores with Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh a constant thorn for Kerry’s defence towards the end of the half.

He got scored a free and was instrumental in points for Ronan McNabb and Mattie Donnelly, while Sheehan and Buckley got the scores for Kerry to leave the sides at 0-8 to 0-7 at the short whistle.

Bryan Sheehan levelled the scores shortly  after the restart and Kerry came to life.

Paul Murphy scored another fine point and Kieran Donaghy was instrumental setting up Paul Geaney for a point.

Then, on 44 minutes, the big Stacks man fielded a ball, laid it off to Darran O’Sullivan whose shot from 13 yards was blocked into the path of Geaney. The Dingle man coolly slotted it in the back of the net to make it 0-9 to 1-10 to Kerry.

Tyrone responded immediately with a point from McCurry but the northerners spurned a gilt-edged chance moments late when Colm Cavanagh shot wide.

Donaghy again fielded a high ball to set up Geaney for another point on 47 minutes but Tyrone responded again with a McCurry free.

Joe McMahon had another goal chance for Tyrone but shot over to leave three points between the side on 57 minutes, 0-12 to 1-12.

A tense final 15 minutes followed with Tyrone, fighting for  Division One survival, coming at Kerry with three pointed frees to make the scores level.

By this stage the great Killarney man was on the field and soon was to make an effect.

Anthony Maher scored a great point to take the lead but a McCurry free cancelled it out.

On 69 minutes, the Gooch delivered an inch perfect pass to Donaghy near the goalmouth and the Rockie punched over for Kerry to lead again.

Unfortunately, a Darren McCurry point levelled things in injury time to end Kerry’s league exploits for 2015.

Kerry: B Kealy; P Murphy (0-2), M Griffin, S Enright; J Lyne, P Crowley, K Young; A Maher (0-1), D Moran (0-1); A Fitzgerald, B Sheehan (0-4, 0-3 frees), , J Buckley (0-2); S O’Brien, K Donaghy (0-1), BJ Keane.

Subs: P Geaney (1-2) for Keane (15), D O’Sullivan (0-1) for Fitzgerald (ht), T Walsh for O’Brien (42 – black card), M O Se for Crowley (53), C Cooper for Sheehan (63), F Fitzgerald for Young (65).

Tyrone: S Curran; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb (0-1), Justin McMahon, P Harte (0-1); C Cavanagh, P McNulty; T McCann, M Donnelly (0-1), R McKenna; D McCurry(0-7, 0-3 frees),  S Cavanagh (0-6, 0-6 frees), , P Hughes.

Subs: Joe McMahon (0-1) or McNulty (ht), C McAliskey for McCann (52), PJ Lavery for Hughes (55), R O’Neill for Justin McMahon (58).

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