Kerry 1-15 Dublin 0-16, by Darragh Maloney

Updated: Monday, 27 Aug 2007 02:38

Kerry captain Declan O'Sullivan celebrates after his goal Killian Young and Colin Moran in action today Kieran Donaghy evades a challenge from Ciaran Whelan
Kerry captain Declan O'Sullivan celebrates after his goal Killian Young and Colin Moran in action today Kieran Donaghy evades a challenge from Ciaran Whelan

Kerry are through to another All-Ireland final after a narrow but totally deserved win over Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

Read our Kerry v Dublin matchtracker.

Watch brief match highlights and interviews (island of Ireland only).

Kerry needed all their craft and experience to win but they were the better team and just as they had against Monaghan, they showed a remarkable ability to score at crucial times. On two separate occasions in the last five minutes, Dublin got to within a point but both times Kerry were able to respond with points of their own.

The Munster champions had a six point lead with 20 minutes remaining and were coasting but, to Dublin’s credit, they trimmed it to just one after 65 minutes. However, Dublin never managed to get level and that would have really tested the Kerry resolve.

The victory sets up an all-Munster final on the 16th of next month and that will be a match to saviour. Kerry are in their fourth consecutive final and they have the chance to retain the Sam Maguire for the first time since 1991. The fact that they are playing their oldest rivals and the last team to win back-to-back All-Irelands will add to the magic of that day.

Kerry were first out of the blocks on Sunday and had a three points to no score lead after only three minutes, but they failed to score for the next 23 minutes, and by the half hour mark Dublin were in charge with a 0-06 to 0-04 lead. Dublin were 0-08 to 0-07 in front at the break.

It was a tense first half which was full of open football but was ruined slightly by some nasty off-the-ball fracas involving both teams. There was so much at stake in the match but these incidents were not nice to watch. Kerry had lost Darragh Ó Sé to injury and that seemed a huge blow at the time but it was one that Kerry were able to recover from.

The feeling at half-time was that the first team to score a goal would win the match. Kerry got what proved to be the only goal just two minutes after the re-start when the outstanding Declan O’Sullivan beat Stephen Cluxton from close range.

Just as they had done in the first half, Kerry started the half very strongly and after only 49 minutes, Kerry had outscored Dublin by 1-05 to a single point and were six ahead.

Dublin were in real trouble but Paul Caffrey refused to make changes and they set about clawing their way back. They kicked five points on the spin to come to within a point after 65 minutes. Dublin had a great goal chance through substitute Ray Cosgrove but his effort was way wide. That was a vital miss and it robbed Dublin of the chance to get level and really test Kerry.

The Munster and All-Ireland champions were able to respond to the threat to their advantage with the likes of Colm Cooper and Declan O’Sullivan coming to the fore when they were needed most.

When Dublin were just a point down, Kerry pulled three clear and, in stoppage time, Dublin were back to a single point but again Kerry responded like true champions and got another point to settle the issue in the 73rd minute.

It was classic Kerry and they could complete a dream double in the final. They love to play and then beat Dublin but to have the chance of winning the All-Ireland by beating Cork will spice up the final even more.

This is a very disappointing night for Dublin football. They gave it their best shot but they have been beaten again in the semi-final. It is not clear if Paul Caffrey will stay on as manager after a three-year term but the feeling tonight is that the decision will be left to him.

It is a day to remember for Pat O’Shea in his first year in charge of the team. He must have had a sinking feel when Darragh Ó Sé left the field in the first half but was able to re-introduce him late in the match and that gave his team a big boost. The manager made some very astute switches in the second half and the changes worked a treat as his team won and they thoroughly deserved to.

Kerry: D Murphy; M Ó Sé, T O'Sullivan, P Reidy; T Ó Sé (0-01), A O'Mahony, K Young; D Ó Sé, S Scanlon; Declan O Sullivan (1-03), E Brosnan (0-02), P Galvin (0-02); C Cooper (0-03, 1f), K Donaghy, B Sheehan (0-03, 1f).

Subs used: T Griffin for D Ó Sé (21 mins), D Ó Sé for Griffin (58), S O'Sullivan (0-01) for Galvin (62), Darren O Sullivan for Brosnan (65).

Dublin: S Cluxton; D Henry, R McConnell, P Griffin; P Casey, B Cullen (0-02), B Cahill (0-01); C Whelan, S Ryan; C Moran, A Brogan (0-03), B Brogan (0-01); J Sherlock, C Keaney (0-04, 0-02f), M Vaughan (0-05, 0-04f).

Subs used: R Cosgrove for Sherlock (41 mins), D Magee for B Brogan (54), T Quinn for Vaughan (69).

Referee: John Bannon (Longford).