By Mike Fitzpatrick
In this game, at Gaelic Park, Kerry, having already qualified for the playoffs, didn’t need the victory as much as Roscommon. The lads from the Kingdom have now won five out of five, and are assured playoff participation. Roscommon though, are behind Offaly and the unbeaten Longford in the race for a spot to keep their playoffs hopes alive once the regular season is complete.
The game was a rather messy affair, with a number of stoppages for injuries preventing much free-flowing football from taking place. When it did occur, however, Kerry always looked as if they would win the game.
Willie O’ Donnell took control of the play in the center of the park and provided his side with a vital early goal. This, added to efforts from Seamus Harkan and Darren Reddy, increased Kerry’s dominance in the first half, and it was beginning to look as if Roscommon would be nursing a heavy defeat come the end of the 60 minutes.
Halftime arrived and Kerry were in front by a healthy margin, thanks to the efforts of the aforementioned players and Dave McCarthy, who really got into his stride and began to fire efforts over the bar.
Despite slowing down a little in the second half and letting their opponents back into the tie, Kerry were always in front and never looked seriously threatened. Some woeful finishing from Roscommon, including a missed penalty, really threw the tie away.
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Kerry, despite their subdued second half performance, ran out winners by a five point margin, though it could have been so much more. The lads from the kingdom are certain for playoff activity this season, and how far they get after that is anybody’s guess.
Roscommon: Paul Levins, Ollie Hoare, Mike Rennicks, Joe Naughton, Tom Sims, Ken Deacon, Sean Carney, Adrian Lannon, Adrian Carthy (0-1), Donie Farrell, Aidan Smith, Joe Murray (0-1), Sean McDermott, Mike Keena (0-5), Stephen McGuinness. Subs: Kevin O’Brien (0-2), Kevin O’Flaherty.
Kerry: Robbie Dowd, Paddy Mulvihill, Paul Gallivan, Paul Dillon, Kieran Driscoll, Johnny Driscoll, Louis Holland, Willie O’Donnell (1-1), Paddy O’Connor, Dave McCarthy (0-4), John Sexton, Bingo Driscoll (0-1), Seamas Harkin (0-4), Darren Reddy (0-3), Kieran Cull. Subs: Mike Herlihy, Niall Sugrue, Declan Doregan.