A largely fringe-playered Donegal went down to a heavy defeat at the hands of Kerry, who were crowned Allianz League Division 1 champions in the most muted of circumstances at an empty Austin Stack Park in Tralee.
Kerry 2-18 Donegal 0-10
Goals from Gavin White and Sean O’Shea rammed home the dominance of Kerry in the second quarter, with man of the match Tony Brosnan kicking seven points at full-forward. David Clifford lifted the trophy, Kerry’s 21st time winning the league, and that was that.
Declan Bonner, the Donegal manager, shuffled his pack with their 2-17 to 2-13 victory over Tyrone having secured safety in Division 1 last week. Out went Michael Murphy, Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Neil McGee, Hugh McFadden, Paul Brennan, Niall O’Donnell and Peadar Mogan.
Bonner had said during the week that he felt Donegal “could do without” the trip and his side competed well in the first quarter and in the end, could’ve been beaten by more.
With only 23 players named in the panel, Paddy McGrath, Brendan McCole, Caolan Ward, Eamonn Doherty, Daire O Baoill, Jason McGee, Michael Langan and Andrew McClean – his first league start – were given starting berths eight days out from the Ulster SFC quarter-final meeting against the Red Hands.
A win for Bonner’s side combined with a draw in tomorrow’s clash of Dublin and Galway would’ve given Donegal a first league title since 2007.
Ciaran Thompson managed to beat that blanket with his side’s opening score on four minutes, excellently executed from long-range to cancel out David Moran’s opener for Kerry. Another Thompson point from the left edged Donegal in front.
A free from Oisin Gallen had Donegal 0-3 to 0-2 up at the waterbreak.
Sean O’Shea got in for the first goal on 16 minutes, taking a pass from Tom O’Sullivan, getting in behind Stephen McMenamin and rounding Shaun Patton.
A flowing Kerry move almost garnered a second goal for the Kingdom when O’Sullivan put over a point that might well have been a goal. The home side were much the better in the second quarter, opening up a 1-3 to 0-3 lead on 20 minutes.
Jason Foley of Kerry and Donegal’s captain for the day Paddy McGrath were both black-carded late in the half for deliberate trips.
A brilliant run by Gavin White brought a second goal for Kerry, with the wing-back brushing past Daire O Baoill before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the net.
Tony Brosnan then took two points when he might’ve though and was then gifted another score when he intercepted a Patton kickout.
A couple of Jason McGee scores and Thompson frees, with Donegal getting most of their joy from further out the field than inside, whereas at the other end Paul Murphy continued Kerry’s excellence on the run to set up O’Shea to point. Kerry were 2-7 to 0-7 in front five minutes before half-time.
Donegal were getting the runaround on occasion and Brosnan finished another intricate move. Caolan McGonagle made a chance for himself following a fine run and his shot fizzed just over the crossbar.
At the break it was 2-9 to 0-8 for Kerry with David Clifford scoring his first of the day and his side’s first free of the day, in first half injury time.
Kerry manager Peter Keane had the luxury of naming an unchanged team from the 0-17 to 0-14 win over Monaghan in Inniskeen.
Gallen opened the second half scoring with a well-taken shot after a patient build-up, only for O’Shea to restore Kerry’s seven-point cushion.
Clifford was coming to life and showed his class with a fabulous point on 45 and at the other end, Thompson, Donegal’s best player, cut inside to post a fine point.
By the second half waterbreak, Kerry were 2-13 0-10 in front, with Clifford, again, and Brosnan on target.
Conor O’Donnell from Carndonagh made a late appearance for his first at this level, just rewards for his 974km roundtrip. Donegal will be looking forward to getting on the road home.
Kerry: Shane Ryan; Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Tom O’Sullivan (0-1); Paul Murphy, Peter Crowley, Gavin White (1-0); David Moran (0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor; Micheal Burns, Sean O’Shea (1-4, 2f), Ronan Buckley; Tony Brosnan (0-7, 1f), David Clifford (0-4, 1f), Dara Moynihan (0-1). Subs: Jack Barry and Stephen O’Brien for Moran and Burns (44), Gavin Crowley and Brian O’Beaglaioch for Buckley and White (55), Tommy Walsh for Moynihan (63)
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Brendan McCole, Stephen McMenamin; Caolan Ward, Eamonn Doherty, Daire O Baoill; Caolan McGonagle (0-1), Jason McGee (0-2); Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui, Andrew McClean, Ciaran Thompson (0-5, 2f); Jamie Brennan, Michael Langan, Oisin Gallen (0-2, 1f). Subs: Peadar Mogan for Ward (half-time), Eoin McHugh for McMenamin (46), Ethan O’Donnell and Niall O’Donnell for McGee and Brennan (51), Conor O’Donnell (Carndonagh) for Gallen (63)
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).Tags: