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Kerry have guard up for Red Hands test

 

John Campbell

By John Campbell

It may not have quite what they had been looking for but Kerry are nonetheless steeling themselves for an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final against Tyrone next Sunday.

Given the recent feisty rivalry between the sides, this promises to be a titanic showdown with between two sides who have brought a fresh level of intensity and passion to recent performances.

Peter Keane's Kingdom outfit have shown themselves to be a more cohesive, better balanced side of late but they will certainly require to bring their 'A' game to the table against a Tyrone side that will bear only a passing resemblance to the line-up that fell to Dublin at Healy Park, Omagh yesterday.

It was this defeat that provided confirmation that Kerry must now confront the Red Hands but the Munster outfit can garner a ration of comfort from their progress through the Super 8s.

In beating Mayo, drawing with Donegal and then eclipsing Meath at the weekend, Kerry have shown themselves to be suitably fired up to make a vibrant challenge for the top honour.

In getting the better of Meath by 2-18 to 1-13 at Pairc Tailteann, Navan on Saturday night they produced a finishing burst that hinted at valuable reserves of stamina as well as solid commitment.

But manager Keane and his players know that an enormous challenge now awaits them at Headquarters next Sunday.

Yet again the irrepressible Sean O'Shea proved the ace in the Kerry pack by scoring 1-8 while Brian O Beaglaoich, David Moran, Killian Spillane and Paul Geaney were also to the fore.

Meath, tenacious and robust as ever, more than held their own in the first-half and by the interval they only trailed by a point (1-10 to 1-9).

But the game swung palpably in Kerry's favour in the 42nd minute when O'Shea cut in from the right win and thundered a superb drive into the Kerry net which set the tone for his team's dominance of the final quarter.

Shane Walsh worked hard to keep Meath in contention and landed six points but Kerry's authority was such that Meath were left floundering.

And while there was nothing at all at stake in the match between Cork and Roscommon at Pairc Ui Rinn, Roscommon delivered on manager Anthony Cunningham's prediction that his side would win the game.

The Connacht side triumphed by 4-9 to 3-9 with Enda Smith (2), Brian Stack and Shane Killoran grabbing their goals and Conor Cox providing his by now usual ration of points.

Former Antrim player James Loughrey scored one of Cork's three goals with the others coming from Mark Collins and Luke Connolly.

But there was consolation for Cork as they beat Dublin by 3-16 to 1-14 to win the All-Ireland U20 football title.

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