Down shock Kerry at Croke Park

Updated: Saturday, 31 Jul 2010 20:50

Kerry's reign as All-Ireland Football Champions will not extend into 2011
Kerry's reign as All-Ireland Football Champions will not extend into 2011


Down shocked Kerry with a deserved 1-16 to 1-10 win in their GAA Football Championship quarter-final clash at Croke Park.

The Kingdom were flattered by the extent of this six-point defeat, with their goal coming deep into stoppage time from a penalty.

The Mourne men, who plotted an impressive course through the qualifiers, displayed passion and skill from start to finish, and in Martin Clarke they had a player of vision and creativity who played an immense role in this massive victory.

Clarke controlled the game for long stretches, contributing to many of his side’s scores and posting a 0-04 tally himself.

Down, now with five wins from five Championship meetings with Kerry, never showed any fear of their opponents, who looked disjointed and lacking in leadership.

Down stunned the Sam Maguire Cup holders with a goal after just 52 seconds.

Mícheál Quirke was caught in possession, Paul McComiskey slipped the ball quickly to Mark Poland, and the centre-forward gave Brendan Kealy no chance with a rasping drive.

The Mourne men maintained that dazzling offensive, adding points through Benny Coulter, Ambrose Rogers (a ’45) and McComiskey to lead a shell-shocked Kerry side by 1-03 to 00-00 after just 10 minutes.

Bryan Sheehan eventually got Kerry’s first score in the 14th minute, and they steadied the ship, winning breaking ball around midfield to set up three further scoring chances which Colm Cooper executed.

And they had the ball in the net in the 23rd minute when Cooper and Donnacha Walsh combined to send Killian Young in to blast past Brendan McVeigh. Walsh, however, was penalised by referee Joe McQuillan for an illegal hand-pass.

Down went 17 minutes without scoring, but with Clarke orchestrating things, they played their way back into the game and banged over four points, two each from Clarke and Poland.

And former Aussie Rules star Clarke inspired his colleagues by drifting back to make a superb interception as Walsh tried to release Cooper.

Down led by 1-07 to 0-04 at the break.

Kieran Donaghy moved to midfield for the second half with Declan O’Sullivan, but Down pair Ambrose Rogers and Kalum King continued to dominate in that sector.

Cooper and Sheehan pulled back points for Kerry as they cut the deficit to four, but they had a let-off when Down had a McComiskey goal disallowed.

The Kingdom were reduced to 14 men in the 45th minute when Donnacha Walsh picked up a second yellow card, but nevertheless crafted a couple of goal chances, only to see Brendan McVeigh pull off two stunning saves from Donaghy.

Down grew in confidence once more, and a volley of superb points from Benny Coulter and Ronan Murtagh saw them kill the game off.

Kerry pulled back a late goal when David Moran netted a penalty after Donaghy had been fouled.

Down: B McVeigh, D McCartan, D Gordon, D Rafferty, D Rooney, K McKernan, C Garvey, A Rodgers (0-2, 1 ’45), K King, D Hughes, M Poland (1-2, 0-1f), P McComiskey (0-2), B Coulter (0-3), J Clarke, M Clarke (0-4, 2f, 1 ’45).

Subs: C Maginn (0-1) for J Clarke, R Murtagh (0-1) for McComiskey, B McArdle for Rooney, P Fitzpatrick (0-1) for King, R Sexton for Poland

Kerry: B Kealy, M O Se, T Griffin, T O'Sullivan, A O'Mahony, M McCarthy, K Young, S Scanlon, M Quirke, Darran O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan, D Walsh, C Cooper (0-7 (5f), K Donaghy, B Sheehan (0-3, 1f, 1 ’45).

Subs: D Moran (1-0, pen) for Quirke, BJ Keane for Scanlon, K O’Leary for Darran O’Sullivan, A O’Connell for O’Mahony, D Bohan for Young, A Maher for Sheehan