Kerry 1-20 Galway 2-10
Kerry overcame Galway in an open, entertaining and high-scoring All-Ireland Football Championship quarter-final at Croke Park.
James O’Donoghue’s brilliant goal helped Kerry to a 1-05 to 0-00 lead, but a spectacular solo goal by Thomas Flynn dragged Galway back, and they trailed by 1-08 to 1-03 at the break.
Michael Lundy netted Galway’s second goal on 42 minutes, but Kerry were able to pull away, thanks to the finishing power of O’Donoghue (1-05) and Paul Geaney (0-04).
It was a delight to watch the skill and artistry of two of the game’s most exciting attackers, Kerry's O’Donoghue and Galway starlet Shane Walsh, who finished with 0-05 and kicked a couple of delightful scores from play.
Kerry suffered a blow after just four minutes, when Bryan Sheehan was forced out of action by injury, but his absence was scarcely felt by a Kingdom side that raced into a seven-point lead inside the opening 13 minutes.
Galway enjoyed an early spell of dominance, but their finishing was off-cue, and five wides in the opening seven minutes told a frustrating story.
The Munster champions, on the other hand, were supremely efficient and ruthlessly productive, harvesting 1-03 from their first four scoring attempts.
James O’Donoghue darted in from the left to fire in a brilliant 12th-minute goal, and they had points from Michael Geaney, Donnchadh Walsh, Paul Geaney and Declan O’Sullivan as they established a 1-05 to 0-00 lead half way through the first half.
With Killian Young keeping a tight rein on Galway starlet Shane Walsh, and getting wiling support from hard-working colleagues, the Westerners’ attack was squeezed and at times suffocated.
Kerry have become adept at embracing a defensive approach that not so long ago would have been unthinkable in the Kingdom, but they were caught out in the 31st minute when midfielder Thomas Flynn capped a marauding 60 metre run with a superb goal.
That score left just four points between the sides, and Galway had already kicked ten wides, while their opponents had not missed the target with a single attempt.
Having been eight points behind by the time Michael Lundy hit their opening point in the 19th minute, Galway were now in a good place.
They went in at the break trailing by 1-08 to 1-03, and Kerry turned the screw in the early moments of the second half, stretching the advantage through O’Donoghue, Walsh and Buckley.
However, Galway turned over possession on a number of occasions, and it was from one such instance that they crafted a second goal.
Paul Conroy and substitute Sean Armstrong combined to send Lundy in, and he rounded goalkeeper Brian Kelly before rolling the ball into an empty net.
Shane Walsh landed a couple of delightful scores, but Kerry, despite some uncertain defending, were able to keep their noises in front with a couple of Paul Geaney points.
O’Donoghue missed a golden goal chance, shooting wide after being sent through by Darran O’Sulivan, but moments later he kept the scoreboard ticking over with his third point.
Finian Hanley and Gary O’Donnell stood firm at the back to get Galway back on the attack, and Walsh nailed his fifth point, this time from a free.
The game had developed into a shootout, and was perfectly suited to Kerry’s lethal finishers.
Barry John Keane came off the bench to rifle over three points, and O’Donoghue brought his tally to 1-05.
Kerry: B Kelly, M O Se, A O’Mahony, S Enright, P Murphy, K Young, F Fitzgerald, A Maher, B Sheehan, M Geaney (0-01), J Buckley (0-02, 1f), D Walsh (0-02), P Geaney (0-04, 1f), Declan O’Sullivan (0-01), J O’Donoghue (1-05).
Subs: D Moran (0-01) for Sheehan, P Crowley for O’Mahony, Darran O’Sullivan for Declan O’Sullivan, BJ Keane (0-03) for Buckley, K O’Leary (0-01) for Walsh, M Griffin for O Se.
Galway: T Healy, D O’Neill, F Hanley, J Moore, G Bradshaw (0-02), G O’Donnell, P Varley, F O Curraoin, T Flynn (1-00), M Lundy (1-01), S Walsh (0-05, 3f), J O’Brien, M Martin, P Conroy (0-01), D Cummins.
Subs: S Armstrong for Cummins, D Comer (0-01) for O’Brien, K Kelly for Moore, E Hoare for Martin, C Mulryan for Varley.
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).