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Kerry 1-21 Tyrone 2-11: Tyrone hopes of final date blown away at Kerry

By Kevin Kelly

Tyrone's hopes of reaching the Division One Allianz National League final ended at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney when they were well beaten by Kerry.

The Red Hands went into this encounter on the back of two successive defeats and they never looked like ending that sequence after a first half when they trailed by nine points. To their credit they battled hard in the second half but the damage had been done.

The game got off to an explosive start with Kerry grabbing a well worked third minute goal and they never looked back. Donnchadh Walsh and David Moran combined for the latter to play a superb ball to Michael Geaney who finished in style to the bottom right hand corner.

Walsh then added a superb point before Paul Geaney converted the first of his five frees in the opening period.

Tyrone opened their account in the seventh minute from a Sean Cavanagh free but it was the hosts who continued to dominate.

Barry John Keane pulled on a loose ball to send it over the bar before Walsh landed another fine score. Cavanagh converted a free before the visitors had a goal chance but Darren McCurry's shot was well saved by keeper Brendan Kealy.

Geaney converted a brace of frees with Cavanagh replying at the other end of the field before Michael Geaney and Walsh both weighed in with quality points. Tyrone were at sixes and sevens as Kerry continued to cut through them at will.

Two more Geaney frees came either side of a point from play from Stephen O'Brien with Tyrone's sole response coming from another Cavanagh placed ball. In the 31st minute Cavanagh and Padraig McNulty combined to play the ball to Peter Harte but he was denied by another superb save from Kealy.

Things could have been worse for the Ulster champions had keeper O'Neill not made a fantastic save to thwart Keane at the expense of a '45' which Kealy sent wide. Michael Geaney then took his first half haul to 1-2 with an eye catching point from out on the left wing and while Harte had the final say from a close in free the Red Hands had it all to do in the second half.

Tyrone made a couple of changes at the break but it was Kerry who picked up where they left off with the accurate Geaney making no mistake from another placed ball. Tyrone lost both Kieran McGeary and Niall Sludden to black cards early in the second half either side of grabbing a goal.

Substitute Frank Burns cut the ball back to Harte whose shot dipped in over the head of keeper Kealy. Keane and centre half back Tadhg Morley had superb points for the home side either side of another Cavanagh free.

Paul Murphy joined the attack to split the posts before man of the match Walsh registered again. It took Tyrone exactly an hour to get their first point from play via substitute David Mulgrew.

Bryan Sheehan and Harte exchanged points from frees, and four minutes from time Tyrone were awarded a penalty when Burns was fouled by Ronan Shanahan.

Harte stepped up to clinically finish to the bottom right hand of the net. Mulgrew added another point but Kerry closed out the game with Walsh getting his sixth point of the afternoon from play and substitute Sheehan converting another long range free.

Kerry: B Kealy, F Fitzgerald, M Griffin, R Shanahan, P Crowley, T Morley (0-1), P Murphy (0-1), D Moran, A Maher, M Geaney (1-2), K McCarthy, D Walsh (0-6), B J Keane (0-2), P Geaney (0-6, 6f), S O'Brien (0-1). Subs: B Sheehan (0-2, 2f) for McCarthy, J Lyne for Crowley, D O'Sullivan for Keane, J Barry for Maher, G Crowley for Fitzgerald, D Daly for O'Brien

Tyrone: M O'Neill, A McCrory, P Hampsey, C McCarron, T McCann, R McNabb, P Harte (2-4, 4f), C Cavanagh, P McNulty, C McCann, N Sludden, K McGeary, M Bradley, S Cavanagh (0-5, 5f), D McCurry. Subs: J Monroe for C McCann, C Meyler for McCurry, F Burns for McGeary (black card), D Mulgrew (0-2) for Bradley, C McShane for Sludden (black card), R Brennan for McNabb.

Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).

Belfast Telegraph

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