Kerry head and shoulders above rusty Monaghan in one-sided Killarney opener

The Kingdom were 13 points ahead at half-time and the only surprise is that Monaghan won the second half

All-Ireland SFC Group 4: Kerry 0-24 Monaghan 1-11

As All-Ireland championship group stage opening games go, it doesn’t get any more anticlimactic than this. If this was the game that was meant to launch the next phase of the championship with bells and whistles, the only sounds heard in Fitzgerald Stadium was that of Kerry metronomically kicking points and then tumbleweed rolling across the pitch.

Kerry had 10 points to spare in the end, but had they a mind to, they might have won by double that.

Amazingly, the game’s only goal came from Monaghan – a second-half consolation green flag from Gary Mohan, long after the team had collectively hoisted the white flag. But Kerry kicked 24 points and won’t be too perturbed about going a fourth game now without a goal.

Monaghan had gone six weeks since their last competitive game – an Ulster championship preliminary round exit to Cavan – and it showed. They were rusty to the point of crumbling here, which they pretty much did.


From Paudie Clifford’s opening score after 12 seconds, Kerry never looked in danger of losing this game, even though Monaghan mined an equaliser a minute later and Shane Ryan had to save smartly from Conor McCarthy two minutes after that.

That was about as threatening as Monaghan looked all afternoon, and by the time they kicked their second point, from Micheál Bannigan in the 19th minute, Kerry were 0-9 to 0-1 ahead.

Paul Geaney was among the early scorers, as was David Clifford, but perhaps the time and space Kerry were afforded by a lifeless Monaghan was best illustrated in defenders Paul Murphy and Tom O’Sullivan (two) coming forward to kick points.

Monaghan manager Vinny Corey might at least have expected a bit of petulance or crankiness from his team, the visitors’ performance was so benign that it hardly qualified as league form, never mind championship.

By half-time Kerry were 13 points ahead, 0-15 to 0-2, and the only surprise is that Monaghan won the second half.

Geaney kicked four more from play after the break, and the Clifford brothers, Seán O’Shea and Murphy extended Kerry’s lead to 0-21 to 0-6 when Monaghan scored the game’s only goal on the hour mark.

McCarthy’s high shot was batted down by Ryan with Mohan first to react and smash the ball to the Kerry net. But it was small consolation for a Monaghan team low on confidence after their relegation from Division One earlier in the season. The final 10 minutes ran its inevitable course, O’Shea adding three late scores.

Kerry move on to a meeting away to Meath in Navan in a fortnight, while Monaghan bring Louth to Clones the same weekend.

KERRY: Shane Ryan; Paul Murphy (0-2), Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan (0-3); Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White; Diarmuid O’Connor, Joe O’Connor; Tony Brosnan (0-2), Paudie Clifford (0-2), Dara Moynihan (0-1); David Clifford (0-5, 0-3f), Seán O’Shea (0-4, 0-3f), Paul Geaney (0-5). Subs: Cillian Burke for Moynihan, Barry Dan O’Sullivan for J O’Connor (both 50 mins); Armin Heinrich for Ó Beaglaoich, Stephen O’Brien for Brosnan (both 55); Darragh Roche for Geaney (66).

MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan (0-1, f); Ryan Wylie, Barry McBennett, Ryan O’Toole (0-1); Karl O’Connell, Killian Lavelle, Conor McCarthy (0-1); Gary Mohan (1-1, 0-1 m), Micheál McCarville; Stephen O’Hanlon (0-1), Micheál Bannigan (0-2), Michael Hamill; Jason Irwin, Seán Jones, Conor McManus (0-1, f). Subs: Dessie Ward (0-1) for McCarville, Andrew Woods (0-1, m) for Jones (both h-t); Ciarán McNulty for McBennett (46 mins); Joel Wilson (0-1, m) for O’Connell (50); Thomas McPhillips for Ward (53).

Referee: Seán Hurson (Tyrone).