After a bright start that saw them dominate the opening quarter, and amass an impressive four unanswered points, Derry lost their composure, shape and their midfield control, Kerry reeling off four points in succession to tie the scores at 0-04 each by half time.
Derry continued to struggle after half time, their failure to get any return from ‘break’ ball in the middle third, allowing the visitors to Sean De Brun Pairc to maintain a foothold at midfield.
With Kieran Donaghy winning a fair amount of primary possession in front of the posts in the second half, Kerry took a three point lead by the 45th minute. Derry were unable to make any telling impact in the attacking zone once Eoin Bradley was yellow carded a few minutes before half time for a petulant trip.
Derry did draw to within a point of Kerry midway through the second half but there was never any danger of Kerry surrendering their control.
Ten minutes from the end Enda Lynn fouled Kieran Donaghy in the goalmouth and the referee awarded a penalty. However, Derry keeper Barry Gillis made a tremendous one-handed save to deflect the ball over the bar from Colm Cooper’s spot kick.
James Kielt kicked some wonderful points from frees, two side line efforts earning generous applause as he finished Derry’s top scorer with 0-05.
Colm Cooper had a quiet first half but he added four points, 0-03 from frees, to be the game’s top scorer with 0-06.
Derry may have lost their unbeaten record in this game but manager Damian Cassidy will have learned that quite a number of players have a way to go to be top flight footballers.
The 150 travelling Kerry fans warmly received the introduction of Tadgh Kennelly twenty minutes into the second half.
Derry scorers: James Kielt 0-05, 0-04 frees, Enda Lynn, Paul Cartin, Gerard O’Kane, Eoin Bradley and Fergal Doherty 0-01 each
Kerry scorers: Colm Cooper 0-06, 0-03 frees, 0-01 pen, Paul Galvin 0-02, Daniel Bohane, Michael Quirke, Declan O’Sullivan and Darren O’Sullivan 0-01 each
Derry: Barry Gillis; Kevin McGuckin, Kevin McCloy, Sean Martin Lockhart; Paul Cartin,
Barry McGoldrick, Gerard O’Kane; Fergal Doherty, Joe Diver; Enda Lynn, Paul Young, Brian Mullan; Eoghan Brown, Eoin Bradley, James Kielt. Subs: Enda Muldoon for Eoin Bradley 30 mins Yellow Card, -Paul Murphy for Paul Young H-T, Sean Leo McGoldrick for Brian Mullan H-T, Chrissy McKaigue for Kevin McGuckin 51 mins
Kerry: Ger Reidy; Padraig Reidy, Aidan O’Mahoney, Tom O’Sullivan; Tommy griffin, Marc O’Se, Daniel Bohane; Seamus Scanlon, Micheal Quirke; Paul Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan, Donnacha Walsh; Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Darren O’Sullivan Subs: Anthony Maher for Micheal Quirke 29 mins Yellow Card, Tomas O’Se for Tommy Griffin 45 mins, Tadgh Kennelly for Donnacha Walsh 56 mins, Paul O’Connor for Paul Galvin 58 mins, Mike Frank Russell for Darren O’Sullivan 63 mins, Kieran Quirke for Aidan O’Mahoney 71 mins
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)