A Roscommon goal spree almost produced the comeback of the season but Kerry held on to win this Bank of Ireland All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter-final on a scoreline of 1-21 to 3-10 at sundrenched Croke Park.
Roscommon got off to the worst possible start when Kerry got a point through Liam Hassett and a goal through Declan O’Sullivan. Tommy Carr’s men could only answer with a point through Stephen Lohan. While Gary Cox and Frankie Dolan pointed for Roscommon Kerry were streaking ahead through Declan O'Sullivan, Hassett, Dara O'Cinneide and Mike Frank Russell.
Frankie Dolan was in on goal at the other end and found himself with a gilt-edged opportunity to reduce the gap by three, but blazed it over the bar. Kerry, meanwhile, continued scoring through O'Cinneide and Colm Cooper. Roscommon began to get to grips with Kerry on the pitch, if not on the scoreboard, and points from Paul Noone, Seamus O'Neill and Lohan did not prevent them from going in at the break trailing by seven points on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-07.
The second half opened well for Kerry and Cooper stretched their lead even further with two points and Sean O'Sullivan and O'Cinneide all added more than one each while Cox replied with a solitary point for Roscommon. The Rosses gave themselves a glimmer of hope when, 18 minutes into the second half, Francie Grehan and Cox worked well outfield and kicked in to find Karol Mannion who did brilliantly to find the net. However, they were still eight points behind and Kerry quickly added to their advantage through O'Sullivan and O'Cinneide.
Roscommon needed more goals and got them through Cox after Dolan took a short free and surprised the Kerry defence, and again when Dolan himself found the net. During this goal spree Kerry had been tagging on points through Johnny Crowley and O'Cinneide and the scoreline stood at 1-20 to 3-09.
Roscommon were only five points adrift with four minutes to go when they had a valid penalty appeal turned down. There would only be time for two more points as Cooper and Lohan exchanged the final scores of the game and Kerry breathed a huge sigh of relief to progress to a mouth-watering semi-final with Tyrone later this month.
Filed by Barry J Whyte