All’s well that ends well for Kerry and Galway

Results elsewhere render Kerry’s win meaningless for both counties

NFL Division One: Kerry 0-15 Galway 1-10

Was it all for nothing? In one sense, yes, as Kerry and Galway played out a two-point win for the Kingdom that made no difference to the final standing of either team in a bigger picture.

Kerry won in Killarney but that still wasn’t good enough to qualify them for next weekend’s Division One final, and Galway lost but still managed to survive relegation and maintain their top flight status.

Dublin doing the business against Tyrone ensured Kerry don’t need to worry about an Easter Sunday date with Derry, the day before they head for a warm weather training camp in Portugal.

Derry denying Roscommon the win they needed ensured Galway could afford to lose in Killarney and still avoid the drop. All’s well that ends well, one imagines, for Kerry manager Jack O’Connor and his Galway counterpart Pádraic Joyce.


In what was a fairly forgettable game, Galway made some effort to be masters of their own destiny with a late goal from substitute Tomo Culhane in the 68th minute, which briefly threatened the Tribesmen snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat. In the end they cut the deficit to just two points, a somewhat flattering scoreline for Galway perhaps, but it all fizzled out to a thing of nothing due to those results in Croke Park and Celtic Park.

Kerry leaving David and Paudie Clifford on the bench suggested how much - or little - they were invested in getting the win here, and yet they got it with minimal fuss, albeit they put themselves under undue pressure for the last five minute after gifting Galway that goal.

The home side opened the scoring through midfielder Joe O’Connor, who went on to have an impressive game at midfield in one of several positives for the Kingdom. How they coped without Jason Foley was another, even if they might wonder if Galway would have engineered that late goal had their injured full back been in situ.

Galway hit the front through two Rob Finnerty marks and a Cillian Ó Curraoin point from play, and by the 20-minute mark the visiots led 0-5 to 0-2, with Paul Conroy and Cathal Sweeney also on target.

The second quarter was all Kerry, with Killian Spillane, Stephen O’Brien and Sean O’Shea (free) bringing them back on level terms after 30 minutes, before further points from Darragh Roche, O’Shea and Spillane helped them to a 0-8 to 0-6 lead at the interval.

Kerry started the second half as they finished the first, with O’Shea (free), Armin Heinrich and Paul Geaney sending them into a 0-11 to 0-6 lead, with Galway’s interest in matters above in Celtic Park a little more pressing now.

With the crowd’s interest waning, Kerry sent on the Clifford brothers, with Paudie kicking a point with his first touch, and David later converting a free.

It was all fairly inconsequential at that stage, with Kerry ahead 0-15 to 0-9, and thinking more about Portugal than a Croke Park finale.

Kerry let Galway back into it in the 68th minute when Shane Ryan sold Gavin White short on a restart and John Heaney turned over the ball for Finnerty to set up Culhane for the game’s only goal.

Conroy then pointed to cut the margin to two points but Kerry held on for the win. A win few will remember, and a defeat Galway won’t lose much sleep over.

Kerry: Shane Ryan, Paul Murphy, Dylan Casey, Armin Heinrich (0-1), Seán O’Brien, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White, Barry ‘Dan’ O’Sullivan, Joe O’Connor (0-1), Adrian Spillane, Paul Geaney (0-1), Stephen O’Brien (0-1), Killian Spillane (0-4, 1f), Darragh Roche (0-1), Seán O’Shea (0-4, 2f). Subs: Paudie Clifford (0-1) for P Geaney (51), David Clifford (0-1f) for D Roche (51), Graham O’Sullivan for A Heinrich (51), Brian Ó Beaglaoich for P Murphy (53), Ronan Buckley for S O’Brien (58).

Galway: Connor Gleeson, Johnny McGrath, Seán Fitzgerald, Eoghan Kelly, Dylan McHugh (0-1), John Daly (0-1), Liam Silke, Paul Conroy (0-2), John Maher, Johnny Heaney (0-2), Cein Darcy, Cathan Sweeney (0-1), Rory Cunningham, Robert Finnerty (0-2, 2m), Cillian Ó Curraoin (0-1). Subs: Daniel O’Flaherty for R Cunningham (34), Tomo Culhane (1-0) for C Ó Curraoin (48), Patrick Egan for C Darcy (48), Jack Glynn for L Silke (56), Kieran Molley for D McHugh (58).

REFEREE: Seamus Mulhare (Laois)