New Kerry manager Peter Keane got off to a great start as he watched his side defeat Tyrone in their NFL Division One opener in Killarney.

Sean O’Shea produced a classy display of creativity and finishing as the Kingdom put in an impressive performance on their first competitive outing of the season against a Red Hand side which has played five Dr McKenna Cup games.

Without ace attackers James O’Donoghue and David Clifford, the Kingdom will reflect on this tie with optimism, their pace, intensity and freshness hitting high levels in front of a big crowd at Fitzgerald Stadium.

Stephen O’Brien posed problems early on as they ran at the Tyrone defence, but the visitors held firm despite spells of intense pressure in a high-tempo opening ten minutes.

It wasn’t until the 12th minute that Sean O’Shea opened the scoring from a free, steering the ball between the posts from a difficult angle, and adding a second a short time later.

Sean O'Shea in possession for Kerry.

Red Hand goalkeeper Niall Morgan frequently came off his line to add his input to the transition from deep, and almost paid a heavy price when possession was turned over, but Stephen O’Brien’s shot from distance skewed wide of the unguarded goal.

It was Morgan who got his side’s first score in the 28th minute as he thumped a 43-metre free between the posts, and while Peter Harte was pulling the strings around the middle, the Ulster men just couldn’t get their offensive men into the game.

O’Shea won the free that he converted himself, and the game’s first score from play came from Dara Moynihan in the 34th minute, finishing off a well worked move involving O’Brien and Paul Geaney.

Tyrone were twice penalised from playing sideline kicks backwards, and on the latter occasion, the Kingdom profited with Moynihan accepting possession in acres of space to shoot his second point.

Kerry led by 0-5 to 0-1 at the break, but Tyrone added a new dimension to their game with the introduction of Kyle Coney for his first league appearance in four years, and he began to spray passes that created openings for the inside men.

Peter Keane urges his charges on from the sideline.

Darren McCurry popped over a couple of frees as the Red Hands stepped up their attacking intensity, but in committing more players forward, they left gaps at the back but were let off the hook by a wasteful Kerry attack which shot some bad wides.

O’Shea was equally important for his creativity as his finishing, and he sent the impressive Jack Barry in for a point, while wing back Tom O’Sullivan also claimed a fine score as the Munster men kept their noses in front, three ahead going into the final quarter.

O’Sullivan was sharp in the tackle as he dispossessed Cathal McShane in a dangerous situation, while Michael Geaney came off the bench to score with his first touch and keep the big Kerry following at Fitzgerald Stadium happy.

Kerry had all 15 men inside their own ’45 as the Red Hands pressed in the closing stages for something which would salvage the occasion, and they did so in stoic fashion, for O’Shea to apply the coup de grace sending a Maurice Gitzgeraldesque sideline ball sailing between the posts late on.

Kerry: S Ryan; P Crowley, J Sherwood, B O Beaglaoich; T Morley, P Murphy, T O’Sullivan (0-01); J Barry (0-01), A Spillane; J Lyne, S O’Shea (0-06, 4f, 1 s/l), S O’Brien; D O’Connor, P Geaney, D Moynihan (0-02).

Subs: G Crowley for Morley (45), G O’Brien for Geaney (57), M Geaney (0-01) for Lyne (62), K Spillane for O’Brien (69)

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-01, f); L Rafferty, R McNamee, HP McGeary; T McCann, R Brennan, M McKernan; B Kennedy, D McClure; M Donnelly (0-01), P Harte (0-01), N Sludden; D McCurry (0-04, 4f), D Mulgrew, C McShane.

Subs: K Coney for Mulgrew (h-t), K McGeary for Rafferty (38), D Canavan for Sludden (52), C Meyler for HP McGeary (65)

Referee: D Gough (Meath).