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Clinical Clifford puts Mayo to the sword

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Adam Moynihan reports from Croke Park, Dublin

National League: Division 1 Final

Kerry 3-19 Mayo 0-13

Croke Park

Another wondrous display by David Clifford helped Kerry to a surprisingly comprehensive victory over Mayo in today’s National League Division 1 final.

Clifford was simply sensational on the day, tormenting his marker Pádraig O’Hora and scoring six points and a classy goal the process.

For Mayo, the only real positive was the return of long-term injury concern Cillian O’Connor. The championship’s all-time leadings scorer received a warm Croke Park welcome when he was introduced as a substitute in the 56th minute but not even he could penetrate Kerry’s mean defensive unit.

In truth, Kerry were dominant all over the pitch as they retained their league title and secured a unique two-and-a-half-in-a-row.

WHITE GOAL

Points by David Clifford, Stephen O’Brien and Adrian Spillane gave Kerry a 3-2 lead by the 10-minute mark but it could (and, perhaps, should) have been much more. Paudie Clifford failed to convert a goal chance in the 5th minute and then Tadhg Morley squared for David Clifford but the Mayo defence did enough to put him off.

Even so, scores by the Clifford brothers gave Kerry a three-point advantage, and points by James Carr and Jordan Flynn were cancelled out by Paul Geaney and Jack Barry to leave the scores at 0-7 to 0-4 with 20 minutes on the clock.

Kerry welcomed Gavin White back into the starting line-up and the incredibly pacy wing back cause the opposition all sorts of problems in that first half. White’s efforts were rewarded in the 24th minute when he bravely reached for Paul Geaney’s deflected shot and palmed home Kerry’s first goal of the game. He received a severe whack in the face for his troubles and had to leave the field, but thankfully he returned later in the half.

That goal put some daylight between the sides and The Kingdom never looked back. David Clifford launched over another beauty to make it a seven-point game and although Mayo went on a mini-run with points by Ryan O’Donoghue, James Carr and Conor Loftus, it was Kerry who finished the half in the ascendency.

David Clifford brushed aside the challenge of O’Hora to chalk up his fourth of the day and then goalkeeper Shane Ryan marched forward to send over a spectacular free from way out on the Cusack Stand sideline. Ryan’s point would prove to be the last of the period and Kerry went in six points to the good (1-10 to 0-7).

GAP

Despite some fine scores from Michael Plunkett and Ryan O’Donoghue (two), Mayo were unable to eat into Kerry’s lead in the third quarter. Paul Geaney (two) and a Paudie Clifford 45 kept The Kingdom ticking over and when things opened up for Dara Moynihan in the 49th minute, he made no mistake to widen the gap to seven.

Kerry were dealt a blow in the 51st minute when Diarmuid O’Connor received a black card and when O’Donoghue scored again, Mayo were dreaming of a comeback. It was the Kerry faithful who liked what they saw next, however, as their boys rattled off 1-5 without reply to put the outcome of this final beyond doubt.

First the younger Clifford fired over a superb point from a tricky angle, and then Adrian Spillane scored an excellent solo effort after he was picked out by his half forward line colleague Moynihan. Paul Geaney picked off another fine score in the 57th minute before the walking highlight reel, David Clifford, buried the opposition almost singlehandedly.

Clifford had O’Hora hanging off him and chatting into his ear all day but the Fossa superstar did his talking with ball in hand. After receiving a pass from Tony Brosnan, he breezed by his Mayo marker and popped over his sixth point. Then, in the 66th minute, he left O’Hora eating dust before dispatching a perfectly placed right-footed shot beyond the reach of Rory Byrne in the Mayo goal. The score now read 2-18 to 0-11 and Kerry had two hands on the cup.

Geaney added his fifth point and then, two minutes into stoppage time, Jason Foley sprinted 136 metres to gather a deflected shot and score Kerry’s third goal of the game. Foley was one of Kerry’s best performers throughout the league and speaking to the media after the game, Jack O’Connor noted that it was only fitting that the Ballydonogue man should round off the campaign in style.

Afterwards, stand-in captain and Man of the Match David Clifford and captain Joe O’Connor lifted the Division 1 cup together. Kerry supporters will be hoping that it’s not the last time the pair get their hands on silverware this season.

KERRY: S Ryan (0-1f); G O’Sullivan, J Foley (1-0), T O'Sullivan; G White (1-0), T Morley, B Ó Beaglaoich; D O’Connor, J Barry (0-1); D Moynihan (0-1), P Clifford (0-2, 1 ‘45), A Spillane (0-2); S O’Brien (0-1), D Clifford (1-6, 1f), P Geaney (0-5, 1f).

Subs: G Crowley for White (temp 27-32), T Brosnan for O’Brien (49), G Crowley for White (53), M Burns for Spillane (63), J O’Connor for Barry (67), J Savage for Moynihan (67).

MAYO: R Byrne; L Keegan, S Coen, P O’Hora; M Plunkett (0-2), R Brickenden, E Hession; J Flynn (0-1), M Ruane (0-1); C Loftus (0-1), A O’Shea, J Carney; J Carr (0-2), J Doherty, R O’Donoghue (0-5, 2f).

Subs: K McLoughlin for Carney (HT), C O’Shea for Flynn (47), A Orme for Doherty (50), C O’Connor for Carr (56), D McHale for Ruane (67).

Attendance: 31,506

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Paudie Clifford returns and scores wondergoal as Kerry dismantle Monaghan

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Adam Moynihan reports from the Fitzgerald Stadium

National League Division 1

Kerry 3-16 Monaghan 0-14

HT: Kerry 0-10 Monaghan 0-6

A spectacular second-half goal by surprise inclusion Paudie Clifford helped Kerry to an impressive 11-point over Monaghan in Killarney this afternoon.

The All-Star forward wasn’t named on the initial panel of 27 but when his name was called out as No. 26 before the game, a loud cheer rang out around the O’Sullivan Stand. Kerry fans had to wait until the 46th minute to see the Fossa captain make his first appearance of the season but it didn’t take him long to make his mark.

After soloing all of 80 metres, the elder Clifford dispatched a perfect finish beyond the reach of Rory Beggan to send Kerry nine points clear with 51 minutes on the clock.

In truth the game was drifting away from Monaghan before Clifford’s cameo but his sensational contribution made absolutely certain.

With two points on the board and David Clifford and Seánie O’Shea waiting in the wings ahead of Mayo away in two weeks’ time, Kerry manager Jack O’Connor will be a happy man leaving Killarney this evening.

GIFTED

Monaghan stayed in touch with Kerry for the first quarter, thanks in the main to a string of needless fouls that gifted the away team some easy scores.

Conor McCarthy broke the deadlock with one such free in the 6th minute and Tony Brosnan got Kerry off the mark two minutes later with a placed ball of his own.

The reliable Dessie Ward and Kerry’s bustling full forward Darragh Roche exchanged scores before Micheál Bannigan tapped over a free to re-establish the Farney’s early lead.

Kerry then went on a mini-run, instigated by a neat team move that saw Tony Brosnan and Micheál Burns combine to tee up the excellent Tom O’Sullivan for a close-in score.

Good work by Barry Dan O’Sullivan from a hop ball led to another Brosnan free, and then a high, skyscraper of a point from the stand side into the scoreboard end by Donal Down O’Sullivan gave the hosts a two-point lead.

However, two more avoidable fouls handed Monaghan’s free-takers McCarthy and Bannigan a point apiece and midway through the first half, the scores were level at 0-5 each.

The Kingdom finally began to inject some pace into proceedings in the second quarter with Dara Moynihan and Micheál Burns especially active. The All-Ireland champions scored five of the next six points with Roche, Brosnan (free), Moynihan, Donal Down O’Sullivan and Burns all hitting the target.

A tasty individual effort by Monaghan’s best forward, Conor McCarthy, left the scores at 0-10 to 0-6 at the break.

UNDONE

Monaghan’s good work in the first half was rather quickly undone in the second as Kerry exerted their dominance in all sectors. By the time Darragh Roche evaded Beggan and goaled in the 39th minute, the home side led by eight (1-12 to 0-7) and the result already appeared to be beyond question.

In fairness to Vinney Corey’s charges, they rattled off three unanswered points over the next 10 minutes – and they would have scored a goal but for a great save by Shane Murphy – but then Clifford’s introduction set the tone for the remainder.

Adrian Spillane’s goalbound effort was tipped over in the 49th minute (Spillane was the last of Kerry’s six forwards to score) and then Clifford gathered the ball inside his own 65, sprinted straight for goal, and finished emphatically to make it 2-13 to 0-10.

Things got worse for Monaghan four minutes later when Ryan O’Toole saw red for a high tackle on Stefan Okunbor. In the next attack, Tom O’Sullivan sauntered forward to drive a trademark outside-of-the-boot shot between the uprights and Kerry led by double scores (2-14 to 0-10).

Stephen O’Hanlon was one of Monaghan’s shining lights and he scored two of his three points in the final quarter, but they counted for little when all was said and done.

TG4’s Man of the Match Donal Down O’Sullivan capped a fine full debut with a nice goal in stoppage time as Kerry picked up their first league win of the season.

KERRY: S Murphy; G O’Sullivan, J Foley, T O’Sullivan (0-2); P Warren, T Morley, P Murphy; J Barry, BD O’Sullivan; M Burns (0-1), D Moynihan (0-1), A Spillane (0-1); T Brosnan (0-4f), D Roche (1-2), D O’Sullivan (1-3).

Subs: P Clifford (1-1) for Moynihan; S Okunbor for BD O’Sullivan; K Spillane (0-1m) for Roche, G Horan for Warren; R Murphy for A Spillane.

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; T McPhillips, K Duffy (0-1), R Wylie; C Boyle, D Ward (0-1), K Loughran; K  Lavelle, C Lennon; S O’Hanlon (0-3), M Bannigan (0-3, 2f), J Wilson; C McCarthy (0-5, 4f), K Gallagher (0-1), S Carey.

Subs: D Treanor for Lennon; G Mohan for Wilson; T McPhillips for Lavelle; S Jones for Carey; S Slevin for Wylie.

Attendance: 10,232

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St Paul’s ladies’ contribution to club honoured

By Sean Moriarty St Paul’s Basketball club recognised the contribution of its ladies’ players during their National Basketball League home game on Saturday night. Since the start of the season, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Paul’s Basketball club recognised the contribution of its ladies’ players during their National Basketball League home game on Saturday night.

Since the start of the season, coach James Fleming has named his Most Valuable Player (MVP) after each home game.

The club presented each MVP award winner with a special trophy at halftime during the club’s tie with Dublin side Swords Thunder at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday.

Lynn Jones, who is one of the sport’s longest servants in Kerry, picked up her award from the Limerick Celtics game earlier in the season.

Rheanne O’Shea won the MPV during the Portlaoise Panthers match.

Yuleska Ramirez Tedja was the MPV against UL Sport Huskies last year.

Deise Dunlea was the most recent nomination for an MPV award and she also received her award on Saturday night.

The team also honoured their Irish International player Leah McMahon and presented Leah’s mother Anne with flowers as a thank-you for her support to the club.

“The dedication of these ladies is unbelievable, we have eight games in a row coming up, five at home and one each in Belfast, Cavan and Dublin and they are all working or studying,” manager Siobhan Bennett told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Coach James Fleming wanted to show his appreciation for this dedication.”

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