By Mike Fitzpatrick
Kerry 1-15, Offaly 0-4
The lads of the lower division were given another rare opportunity to parade their talents at Gaelic Park, rather than perform in the confines of Van Cortlandt Park, Sunday in the Bronx. Offaly had played some good football on their way to this game, the first playoff match of the season, but coming up versus a side as strong as the Kingdom in this division’s first quarterfina, was never going to be easy.
With experienced heads such as Peter Riney, Kieran Cull and Liam Hartnett, Kerry always looked good on paper. Games are played on grass, however, and Kerry proceeded to steamroll their way to the next stage of the championship.
Kerry looked strong from the start. Just as their championship-holding senior team plays as a unit, so does their junior side. With Hartnett and Brendan Lynch commanding the middle of the park, allowing very little Offaly attacking play to commence, the Munster side’s forwards reveled in racing upfield to lay siege to their opponents goalmouth. Brendan Lynch capped a fine personal performance in this tie by snatching six points from midfield, and along with Hartnett, and substitute Danny Sheehan, the Offaly backline were besieged throughout.
Offaly will certainly look to put this result behind them, trailing throughout the game thanks to the scoring exploits of the Kerrymen, Hartnett’s successful penalty late in the game merely hammered the nails into the coffin that was Offaly’s participation in this game. Offaly will be severely disappointed, with forward talents such as David Bracken and Emmet Molloy, they have enjoyed some good results this year, but versus this Kerry machine, it’s never easy.
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Kerry: John Fogarty, Pat O’Driscoll, Peter Riney, Timmy Lynch, Adrian Flynn, Damien O’Connor, Mark Burke, Brendan Lynch (0-6), Liam Hartnett (1-1), Emmet Kelly (0-1), Michael Lyne (0-2), Danny Sheehan (0-3), Michael Herlihy (0-1), Noel Curran, Kieran Cull (0-1).
Offaly: James Keenehan, Noel Coughlan, Liam Coughlan, Paul Dolan, Damien Beattie, Kevin Curran, John Larkin, Bosco Guinan, Mike Quigley, Gary Dolan, Sean O’Donoghue, Emmet Molloy (0-1), Ollie Murphy, Kieran Clavin, Dave Bracken (0-3). Subs: Shane Dolan, Peter Nolan, Martin Bracken.
Sent off: Damien Beattie (Offaly), Adrian Flynn (Kerry), Liam Coughlan (Offaly).