Category: Archive

Kerry keep 3-in-row bid alive, through to last 8

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

That just about summed it up for Monaghan in last Sunday’s football third round qualifier at Croke Park. On a mission to recover from their Munster final drubbing, Kerry appeared determined to win no matter what and if simply getting in Monaghan’s way was enough, then so be it.
Because this wasn’t Kerry at their most fluent or their most precise. If they were never in the sort of danger that characterized last year’s game between the two teams, they were never totally comfortable either. But the reigning champions are through to a quarterfinal meeting with Galway, and the three-in-a-row is still alive.
“We probably showed a little bit of rustiness in the first half,” said Kerry coach, Pat O’Shea, “but we still had the cool heads when it mattered. You can’t put a price on winning tight games, and I think we showed the necessary hunger to win tight games.”
The turning point undoubtedly came midway through the second half when Monaghan’s Ciaran Hanratty burst away down the left, and with an unmarked Rory Woods an option for the pass, he chose to go for goal only to see his shot slide agonisingly past the post.
That meant it was still 10 points a piece, however, Kerry responded with scores from Kieran Donaghy and Bryan Sheehan before Eoin Brosnan put Donaghy into space and the big full forward picked his spot expertly to drive a dagger through Monaghan’s heart.
In the corresponding match last summer, it had taken a last-minute point to see Kerry home, but on this occasion they were able to see out time following Donaghy’s goal as Darragh O Se, playing in his 70th championship game, continued to control the midfield exchanges.
Monaghan were probably a bit lucky to just be trailing by 0-6 to 0-3 at the break, but with Woods, Tomas Freeman and Eoin Lennon becoming more and more prominent, they deservedly drew level before Donaghy effectively settled the issue.
“We believed coming up here that we could win the game,” added McEnaney who will consider his future after four years in charge, “and we believed at half time that we would pull it out of the fire. We got our chances, didn’t take them – very, very disappointing.”
If Kerry’s performance wasn’t exactly ominous in this most open of All Irelands, Colm Cooper will surely get better and Declan O’Sullivan is on his way back after injury. There’s still some distance to travel before a possible semi-final against their Munster nemesis, Cork, but you can be sure they’ll be ready if the two rivals clash again.

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