In what was the first meeting between the sides since last year’s league final, Dublin and Kerry produced a spicy encounter this afternoon in Croke Park in the Allianz NFL.
Long before the end of the contest Dublin had swatted aside the Kerry challenge with consummate ease and are on the cusp of qualifying for yet another league final.
Kerry started brightly and led by four points to one by the ninth minute with points from David Clifford, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Geaney and Sean O’Shea, Dublin’s solidarity reply coming from the boot of Colm Basquel.
By the end of the first quarter there was just a point between the sides with Ciaran Kilkenny swinging over two points in a row in the space of a minute.
The action was going from one end of GAA headquarters to the other and the teams traded a brace of points each, Clifford and Kevin McCarthy for the Kingdom and Dean Rock with a Free and a good finish from Jonny Cooper for Jim Gavin’s side.
The game turned in Dublin’s favour in the 20th minute of the first half, a free from Clifford was intercepted by Cooper who started a sweeping move towards the Hill 16 end.
A shot by Shane Carthy looped up into the air and Niall Scully was quickest to react and palmed the ball to the back of the net to give Dublin the lead in the game for the first time and one they wouldn’t relinquish.
That goal seemed to signal not just a change on the scoreboard but a rise in incidents in what was already a feisty affair as scuffles broke out in different areas of the pitch.
There seemed to be a concerted effort to get Niall Scully sent off, first Peter Crowley who was lucky to have lasted the game got involved in a scuffle with Scully with both players yellow carded.
Straight away Brian Ó Beaglaoich was switched onto the Dubs number 10 and proceeded to push and drag out of Scully off the ball in an attempt to get a reaction, luckily Niall didn’t fall into the trap.
At this stage referee Ciaran Brannigan who performance was abysmal today had lost control of the game. In between the mini flash points a free from Dean Rock and points from Kerry’s David Clifford and Michael Burns had kept the scoreboard ticking over.
As the game headed towards the break Dublin were bossing proceedings and points from Dean Rock and Ciaran Kilkenny gave Dublin a three point lead.
Kerry were left to rue two goal chances in the first half, Paul Geaney hit the butt of the post with an effort and then Sean O’Shea provided a contender for miss of the season when he somehow smashed an effort wide of an empty goal.
Just before the short whistle both teams had a player black carded, Barry O’Sullivan was sent to the line for dragging down Brian Fenton after the Dublin midfielder marked a kick-out.
And then Dublin’s John Small had his afternoon come to a premature end on the advice of the linesman’s for hauling Sean O’Shea to the ground off the ball.
Shortly afterwards the whistle went to end the first thirty five minutes and Jim Gavin’s side headed down the tunnel with a three point lead on a scoreline of 1-08 to 0-08.
It was all Dublin after the break as they up the gears and blew Kerry away in the third quarter blasting and unanswered 1-06.
Paddy Andrews and Paddy Small put Dublin five ahead inside the opening three minutes after the restart. Three minutes later and it was game over when Ciaran Kilkenny who put in a man of the match performance poked the ball home for Dublin’s second goal of the game.
Further points from Colm Basquel, Niall Scully, Paddy Andrews and Dean Rock made sure there would be no comeback from the men in Grennell and gold.
Kerry finally got their first score of the second half in the 50th minute from Micheál Burns. Paddy Andrews swung over his third point of the game in 54th minute.
With no challenge left in the game Dublin played keep ball for long periods frustrating Eamon Fitzmaurice’s men. A Philly Mahon point sandwiched between points from Michael Geaney and a David Clifford free and a fine point from substitute Cormac Costello ended the scoring in a game that was over long before the final whistle.
It may have only been a fifth round league tie but it was sobering defeat for Kerry and it could have been an even bigger margin as Dublin had two further goal chances come back of the post in the second half and had another effort saved.
Dublin head to Pearse Stadium next weekend to take on an unbeaten Galway side with the distinct possibility that both sides will meet in the League Final on the 1st Of April.
Ciaran Kilkenny 1-03
Niall Scully 1-01
Dean Rock 0-04 (3f)
Paddy Andrews 0-03
Colm Basquel 0-02
Jonny Cooper 0-01
Cormac Costello 0-01
Philly McMahon 0-01
Paddy Small 0-01
David Clifford 0-04 (2f)
Kevin McCarthy 0-02
Micheál Burns 0-02
Sean O’Shea 0-01
Paul Geaney 0-01
Michael Geaney 0-01
1. Stephen Cluxton
2. Jonny Cooper
3. David Byrne
4. Eric Lowndes
17. Shane Carthy
6. Cian O’Sullivan
7. John Small
8. Brian Fenton
9. Michael Darragh Macauley
10. Niall Scully
11. Ciarán Kilkenny
12. Brian Howard
13. Paddy Andrews
14. Dean Rock
15. Colm Basquel
26.Paddy Small For 17. Shane Carthy (30th Min)
21. Philly McMahon For 7. John Small (HT) (Black Card)
25. Ciaran Reddin For 26. Paddy Small (53rd Min) (Blood Sub)
26. Paddy Small For 14. Dean Rock (58th Min)
20. Andrew McGowan For 6. Cian O’Sullivan (63rd Min)
18. Cormac Costello For 11. Ciaran Kilkenny (67th Min)
22. Emmet O’Conghaile For 8. Brian Fenton (67th Min)
1. Shane Murphy
5. Paul Murphy
4. Ronan Shanahan
3. Jason Foley
6. Peter Crowley
2. Shane Enright
7. Brian Ó Beaglaoich
8. Jack Barry
9. Barry O’Sullivan
10. Micheál Burns
11. Séan O’Shea
12. Adrian Spillane
13. David Clifford
14. Paul Geaney
15. Kevin McCarthy
19. Eanna O’Conchair For 9. Barry O’Sullivan (34th Min)(Black Card)
22. Michael Geaney For 11. Sean O’Shea (HT)
17. Barry John Keane For 14. Paul Geaney (HT)
23. Fionn Fitzgerald For 15. Kevin McCarthy (47th Min)
26. David Moran For 12. Adrian Spillane (49th Min)
21. Daithi Casey For 10. Micheál Burns (63rd Min)