By Mike Fitzpatrick
Kerry 5-12, Offaly 1-12
Despite a brave Offaly performance in the first half of this senior football championship, when they kept the kingdom’s lead to within a couple of points, it will be reigning champions Kerry who go forth to the semi finals.
Kerry have been suffering something of a dip in form of late, with a run of three consecutive defeats at the end of their regular league program. Out of character perhaps, but they still managed to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament, and Paddy O’Connor, Bingo Driscoll, Peter Riney and company are still the team to beat.
Offaly started well, with Dave Reynolds hitting a fine free in the first minute that curled and sailed over the bar from a considerable distance.
Mel Keenehan followed up with another effort minutes later, to give Offaly a two point lead.
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It was early days however, and it appeared as if Kerry was merely getting into their stride. Dave McCarthy and Paudi Mulvihill hit back for Kerry and it was all level. McCarthy hit another to put his side in front for the first time.
After that, Offaly were not to see another lead throughout the afternoon.
A Mike Carmody goal swiftly followed, and despite some great attacking from Reynolds and Keenehan, the Kerry backline managed to keep the onslaught at bay.
Finbarr Flood produced a great save from Offaly’s Paul Glennon, and coming up to the half time interval, Offaly were denied twice on the line by Riney and Paul Dillon.
The second half opened with Kerry leading by three points, but two quick goals from Bingo Driscoll and Genie Farrell increased the lead following some fantastic work in midfield from Sean Og O’hAlpin.
Offaly did manage to get on the scoresheet, thanks mainly to Reynolds superb freetaking, but Kerry went on the rampage late in the half, with Bingo, and Carmody grabbing more goals, and McCarthy finishing off the scoring late in the game with another three pointer.
At the end of the day’s proceedings, it was Kerry who won by a deserved twelve point margin, and they will go on to face newcomers Rockland in the semi final.
Kerry: Finbarr Flood, Jake Rooney, Adrian Riney, Paul Dillon, Paddy O’Connor, Peter Riney, Dave McSweeney, Sean Og O’Halpin, Mike Carmody (1-2), Willie O’Donnell (0-1), Bingo Driscoll (2-3), Dave McCarthy (1-2), Genie Farrell (1-3), Paudi Mulvihill (0-1). Sub: Mark Burke.
Offaly: Tom Furlong, Mark Dolan, Pat Leavy, John Hannify, Mike Dolan, Sean Nolan, Warren Beatty, Nigel Carney, John Higgins, Danny Leavy, Enda Condron, Paul Glennon (0-1), Mel Keenehan (1-2), Dave Reynolds (0-9), Pa Treacy. Subs: Kieran Farrelly, Brendan Lynch.