DONEGAL were handed a lesson in power play as Kerry brushed them aside with worrying ease in Killarney on Sunday.
The accurate boot of Bryan Sheehan was crucial, but in truth Kerry were better in almost every area of the field and their physical power was awesome at times. They were much better balanced and even their scoring of 1-8 in each half had a balance about it.
Only a handful of Donegal players were up for the battle, which was over by the opening minute of the second half when Sheehan fired home the second goal from the penalty spot.
At times Paul Galvin had the freedom of Fitzgerald Stadium as he linked defence and attack. Kerry had eight different scorers and the lightning fast Darran O’Sullivan wasn’t even one of them. Donegal had just three players finding the target.
When you consider that Donegal got their goal from a penalty of the very soft variety, it was hard to take many positives from their trip south.
Donegal made two changes from the side that defeated Cork with Anthony Thompson and Patrick McBrearty replacing Christy Toye and Martin O’Reilly.
Donegal got off to a whirlwind start with three points inside six minutes, the first from Patrick McBrearty on 16 seconds.
Anthony Thompson and Michael Murphy from a free had the others but Kerry, through the accurate boot of Bryan Sheehan and some handy frees from referee, Syl Doyle, were back on level terms by the 13th minute. Donegal were still doing reasonably well possession wise with Michael Murphy at centre-forward, but he was very slow to see Leo McLoone in a supporting run which could have opened the Kerry defence.
Anthony Maher fired Kerry in front while Colm McFadden failed from a very easy free and from the kick-out Kerry went straight through the Donegal defence to goal. Paul Galvin started the move and it ended with Darran O’Sullivan finding Patrick Curtin to give Paul Durcan no chance from point blank range.
Donegal hit back in th 20th and 25th minute with Murphy scoring from play and a free, the first after a great pass from Neil Gallagher. Kieran Donaghy added two points for Kerry, the second coming with Leo McLoone receiving attention after being taken out by Paul Galvin. The Donegal players were very annoyed and Galvin was lucky to escape with yellow.
Bryan Sheehan showed his real worth to Kerry pointing from fully 57m and Barry John Keane added another before Patrick McBrearty had the final score of the half to leave Donegal five adrift at the break 1-8 to 0-6.
A minute into the second half and the lights were out for Donegal as Patrick Curtin was upended in the square and Bryan Sheehan found the net, with Paul Durcan doing well to get a hand to it.
Apart from two points inside a minute from Michael Murphy seven minutes into the half and a goal from the penalty spot from Murphy on 18 minutes, there was little for the Donegal support to cheer. The penalty award against Shane Enright as he tussled with Colm McFadden for a high ball seemed very generous at best. The goal was Donegal’s last score as they failed to score in the final 19 minutes.
Kerry kept the scoreboard operator in work with Bryan Sheehan adding to his total while Paul Galvin and Anthony Maher also got in on the scoring act. A day to forget for Donegal and plenty to ponder before they meet Mayo on Sunday next.
Kerry: Brendan Kealy; Marc O Se, Daniel Bohan, Killian Young; Peter Crowley (0-1), Eoin Brosnan, Brian McGuire (0-1); Anthony Maher (0-2), Bryan Sheehan (1-7,pen,7f); Paul Galvin (0-1), Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan; Barry John Keane (0-1), Kieran Donaghy (0-2), Patrick Curtin (1-1,1f). Subs., Shane Enright for Bohan ht; Aidan O’Mahony for M O Se; Kieran O’Leary for BJ Keane, both 61; Seamus Scanlon for Sheehan, David O’Callaghan for Declan O’Sullivan, both 68.
Donegal: Paul Durcan; Frank McGlynn, Neil McGee, Paddy McGrath; Eamonn McGee, Karl Lacey, Leo McLoone; Rory Kavanagh, Neil Gallagher; Mark McHugh, Anthony Thompson (0-1), Ryan Bradley; Colm McFadden, Michael Murphy (1-5, pen, 3f), Patrick McBrearty (0-2). Subs., Martin O’Reilly for Bradley; David Walsh for McLoone, both ht; Christy Toye for McHugh 59.
Referee: Syl Doyle (Wexford)
Man of the match
Bryan Sheehan gets the award for his scoring exploits, but there were plenty of other Kerry candidates including Brian McGuire, Paul Galvin and Darran O’Sullivan.
You could argue for the penalty goal at the start of the second half, but that would be clutching at straws. This game was over after Kerry took over in the second quarter.
Syl Doyle was a bit picky and Kerry forwards probably got their frees a little easier than Donegal. He should have stopped play when Leo McLoone was felled as he laid a ball off and also refused to stop play when Kerry full-back Daniel Bohan was down injured just before half-time. Was very liberal with yellow cards, with Donegal getting seven and Kerry escaping with three.