By Mike Fitzpatrick
Kerry 3-14, Leitrim 1-7
Leitrim, the team which conquered all before them in the last decade, was truly humbled by this fabulous display of Senior Football Div. 1 football at Gaelic Park from Paddy Kearney’s squad from the Kingdom.
Each side had won a championship in the last two years, so the crowd were eagerly anticipating this one long before a ball was kicked.
In the 90-plus degree weather, the fans came out in force to witness this Kerry side send out a strong message to all at Gaelic Park that they’ve serious plans to hold on to their title.
Including Kerry men Eamon Breen and Morgan O’Shea in their panel, Leitrim added a little extra to proceedings, as if we needed any more excitement before the game. The game opened at a lightening pace, with both sides grabbing scores, Bill Dennehy for Leitrim, and the ever dependable New York All Star, Bingo Driscoll for Kerry.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
After a sloppy opening few minutes, possibly due to the unbearable heat, or maybe just the tension between the sides, the game quickly balanced out, with Kerry grabbing more of the play. A goal from Willie O’Donnell gave Kerry a healthy lead, and more points before the break followed for Kearney’s men, from Johnny Driscoll, and Bingo again.
At half time, Kerry led by 1-5 to 0-2, in a game that they began to threaten total domination.
Johnny Driscoll added another goal right after halftime to leave Leitrim trailing by nine points, and the former champs were on a slide towards defeat.
Tommy Gee hit a goal back for Leitrim to add a little more respectability to the tie but, with six points to catch up, it began to look a lost cause for Mike Brosnan’s Leitrim men, particularly playing an on-form side such as Kerry.
Mike Carmody hit another goal for Kerry, followed by points from Dave McCarthy and Mark Fitzgerald to give their side a lead that was virtually uncatchable.
Bill Denney again hit one for Leitrim, but by this stage it was almost a damage-limitation exercise. Kerry amazingly stepped up a gear, despite the tiring legs in the blistering heat, and further points from Paddy O’Connor, Mark Fitzgerald, Hughie Murphy and McCarthy gave the championship points to the Munster side.
It doesn’t look good for any team attempting to snatch the championship from Kerry. They’ve a few more tough games coming up however, and there is indeed a long way to go in the championship, but on this form, it will be tough to bet against them for another title.
Kerry: Finbarr Flood, Jake Rooney, Paul Gallivan, Paul Dillon, Mike Carmody (1-2), Adrian Riney, Peter Riney, Dave McSweeney, Willie O’Donnell (1-2), Mark Fitzgerald (0-2), Johnny Driscoll (1-1), Paudi Mulvihill, Dave McCarthy (0-2), Bingo Driscoll (0-3), Paddy O’Connor (0-1). Subs: Hughie Murphy (0-1), Kenneth Leen, Louis Holland, Paddy Conway.
Leitrim: Enda Lohan, Malachy McHugh, Morgan O’Shea, Tom Maher, John Donohue, Eamon Breen, Jim Donohue (0-1), John Meehan, Stephen Ward, Mike Brosnan, Rory Hussey, Bill Dennehy (0-4), Gary Doohan, Tommy Gee (1-0), Gareth Blake, Subs Liam O’Rourke (0-1), Johnathan Daly, Alan Travers (0-1) Man of the Match: Mike Carmody (Kerry).