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Darren McCurry’s super strike and late Peter Harte point secures Division One status for Tyrone

Kerry 2-11 Tyrone 1-15

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Surrounded: Tyrone’s Conor Meyler gets in a shot on goal despite the attentions of several Kerry defenders. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Surrounded: Tyrone’s Conor Meyler gets in a shot on goal despite the attentions of several Kerry defenders. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Darren McCurry. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Darren McCurry. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

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Surrounded: Tyrone’s Conor Meyler gets in a shot on goal despite the attentions of several Kerry defenders. Credit: INPHO/Bryan Keane

All-Ireland champions Tyrone retained their coveted Division One status when they ended the unbeaten run of Kerry to gain the county’s first victory in Killarney since 2003.

It was a contest that ebbed and flowed and the key moment in the game came when man of the match Darren McCurry blasted home a brilliant 52nd minute goal, a score that came just moments after Kerry had converted a penalty at the other end of the field.

Tyrone held a slender one-point lead at the break, but will feel that they should have been further in front.

The All-Ireland champions looked very composed on the ball and took some fine scores, but a Tony Brosnan goal in the opening quarter kept Kerry in contention.

McCurry opened the scoring from a free before the same player doubled the visitors’ advantage from a well-taken mark in the fourth minute. Paul Geaney then opened Kerry’s account after cutting in from the left wing to land a quality score and they were level in the 13th minute thanks to a brilliant effort from full forward David Clifford.

Sixty seconds later Kerry struck for a goal with Brosnan showing good composure to fire home after Joe O’Connor had burst through the middle. Tyrone though responded with McCurry offloading for Darragh Canavan to split the posts before McCurry then sent over the equaliser from a placed ball.

Tyrone were the better side at this stage and they should have had a goal in the 24th minute when Kerry keeper Shane Murphy didn’t deal with a high ball and his attempted punched clearance went to Conn Kilpatrick who found Conor Meyler, but the latter shot wide of the right-hand post.

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A great catch from Niall Morgan resulted in Tyrone going the length of the field for Kieran McGeary to point and McCurry quickly added another score, a quality effort from out on the right wing.

Clifford kept Kerry in touch from a 20-metre free, but Tyrone still looked the better side with Niall Sludden kicking two points in as many minutes, the second one after a great run from Peter Harte.

Kerry though closed out the half with another well-taken Clifford score coupled with a point from Brosnan to leave it 0-9 to 1-5.

Morgan opened the second-half scoring from a ‘45’ but Kerry were soon on level terms thanks to points from Brosnan and Brian O’Beaglaioch.

Kieran McGeary edged the Red Hands back in front, but in the 51st minute Brosnan converted a penalty after Stephen O’Brien was fouled.

Straight from Morgan’s kick out Canavan won possession and played a great crossfield ball to McCurry who fielded it before leaving the Kerry defence for dead and burying the ball in the top left hand corner of the net. It was a goal worthy of winning any game and it meant that Kerry had it all to do again.

Geaney though levelled matters from a free after he had been fouled himself and straight from the kick out Clifford edged the home side back in front. The large crowd were getting behind both sides and Conn Kilpatrick brought the sides level again with an outstanding point.

Kerry substitute Gavin White put his side back in front with a fisted effort, but that man McCurry then nailed a long-range free before he put Tyrone back in front with a great conversion from out near the right touchline. It was a score that lifted the visitors and Peter Harte got in on the act with an outstanding point from outside the 45m line.

Geaney narrowed the gap to the minimum, but despite seven additional minutes at the end of the game Kerry couldn’t find an equaliser as Tyrone held on to secure a deserved victory.

Kerry: S Murphy, D Casey, J Foley, T O’Sullivan, G O’Sullivan, T Morley, B O’Beaglaioch (0-1), D O’Connor, J O’Connor, S O’Brien (0-1), J Savage, M Burns, T Brosnan (2-1, 1-0 pen), D Clifford (0-4, 1F), P Geaney (0-3, 2F). Subs: P Clifford for Savage, A Spillane for Burns, J Barry for J O’Connor, K Spillane for Geaney, G White (0-1) for Casey

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1, 45), M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey, R Brennan, P Harte (0-1), F Burns, C Kilpatrick (0-1), R Donnelly, C Meyler, N Sludden (0-2), K McGeary (0-2), D McCurry (1-7, 4F, 1M), C McShane, D Canavan (0-1). Subs: M Donnelly for McShane, L Rafferty for M Donnelly, B McDonnell for McKernan, N Donnelly for R Donnelly, C McKenna for Canavan.

Referee: D Coldrick, Meath


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