Defending All-Ireland champions Kerry booked their place in the All-Ireland semi-final with a 2-12 to 1-12 victory over Dublin in the quarter-final replay in Thurles this afternoon.
In a damp and wind-swept Semple Stadium, Kerry drew first blood with a fine left-footed effort from Noel Kennelly in the second minute. Dublin responded with a Declan Darcy free before the men from the Kingdom eased into top gear.
Twelve minutes into the action, the excellent Johnny Crowley collected a pass from Michael Francis Russell and held off the challenge of Dublin's Paddy Christie before slotting the ball past Davey Byrne. Points from Russell, Dara Ó'Cinnéide and Kennelly stretched Kerry's lead to six points before Dessie Farrell registered what was only Dublin's second point of the game after almost 18 minutes.
With good movement and slick passing from the Kerry forward line, it wasn't long before Páidí Ó'Sé's men increased their lead. A Dara Ó'Cinnéide point and a second goal from Johnny Crowley left the Dubs steering at a humiliating defeat at the hands of their arch rivals.
To their credit, the Dublin men, with their manager Tommy Carr watching from the stands, hit back with two pointed frees from Declan Darcy. Michael Francis Russell then sent over a point for Kerry before Dublin midfielder Ciáran Whelan pointed to leave the Dublin men trailing Kerry 2-06 to 0-05 at half-time.
With the second half only seconds old, Dublin showed they were not prepared to go without a fight with Colin Moran firing over to leave his team trailing by six points. Dublin received a further boost two minutes later when Kerry were controversially reduced to 14 men after Tomás Ó'Sé was sent off for a heavy challenge on Moran. Declan Darcy pointed from the resulting free, before man-of-the-match Johnny Crowley restored Kerry's six point lead.
The teams then exchanged points, courtesy of Dara Ó'Cinnéide and Jason Sherlock, before another O'Cinnéide free stretched Kerry's lead by 2-09 to 0-08. Tommy Carr's men refused to buckle, however, and a repeat of last Saturday's dramatic finale in Thurles looked possible after midfielder Darren Homan netted after a powerful run on 48 minutes.
A Paul Curran point two minutes later brought Dublin to within three points of the Kingdom, before points from super-sub Maurice Fitzgerald and Johnny Crowley steadied the Kerry ship to leave Dublin trailing by 2-11 to 1-09. Kerry then lost Dara Ó'Cinníéide with a hamstring injury before Senan Connell and Michael Francis Russell traded points with only four minutes to go.
Dublin drove forward in the latter stages of the game looking for the elusive scores, but could only manage two points from Wayne McCarthy before referee Pat McEnaney signalled the end of a thoroughly entertaining match.
So after the second bite at the cherry, All-Ireland Champions Kerry march on to the semi-final where they will play the Meath.
Filed by Tom Grealis