Dublin got their Allianz League campaign off to a brilliant start with a convincing 2-14 to 0-14 win over Kerry on Saturday night at Croke Park.
It wasn`t the best of nights for Kerry`s back line as Dublin took full advantage of the shaky defence. Paddy Andrews top scored with 1-4.
Dublin opened the scoring early on with Andrews putting Dublin in front of Kerry, then Dean Rock added another point to double Dublin`s lead.
Kerry got themselves on the board at last after a sluggish start, but got back to back scores to get the Kingdom back within two points of Dublin.
Dublin and Kerry then matched each other point for point until the Kerry found themselves scoring the equalising point on the stroke of half time as the teams headed back to the dressing rooms at 0-07 to 0-07 apiece.
Dublin got the first score of the second half like they did in the first half with Andrews opening the scoring in the half as he`d done in the first too.
Kerry`s Tommy Walsh got his first point in the 38th minute to cancel out an Andrews score for Dublin.
But Dublin then upped their game and showed their quality which shows why they are the current All-Ireland Champions.
Andrews got the goal he was due after putting in a hardworking shift in the 43rd minute when Diarmuid Connolly sent a high diagonal ball in, Andrews got away from Shane Enright and slotted home past Brendan Kealy in the Kerry goal.
Connolly was the rewarded for his assist in Dublin`s first goal when eight minutes later when he converted a penalty for Dublin. After James McCarthy won the spot kick after being clumsily fouled by corner-back Brian O Beaglaoich.
Kerry couldn`t find any way back into the game after the two goals, Dublin matched whatever Kerry through at them.
Dublin had chances to net again late on and make the score line embarrassing for Kerry. But John Small and substitute Jack McCaffrey both hit the crossbar with vicious shots.
Dublin will be pleased with their performance but will be disappointed not to score a few more goals when they had Kerry on the ropes.
Kerry Manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was disappointed by his sides performance. He went on to say.
“I’m a glass half full kind of person but, look, that was a disappointing performance,” he admitted.
“I just felt that if you hadn’t seen last year’s All-Ireland final and you came in and looked at it, you would have maybe said that we had beaten Dublin and that they were the team that looked hungrier and looked more anxious to prove a point.
“So that was the disappointing thing from our point of view. I felt that our attitude should have been better, our work rate wasn’t near good enough.
“Even in possession our accuracy was well off but, no, a poor performance, simple as that.”
In contrast to the Kerry manager Jim Gavin was overall pleased with his sides performance
Yeah, I think the performance in certain phases was good,” “Obviously we created a lot of goal-scoring chances, on which we do an awful lot of work on the training field. Good to see come of those moves coming off. Execution could have been a lot better in most of them, so that gives us something to take away for the remainder of the league. But to see them being created, from a coaching perspective, is very pleasing.
“A quiet word at half-time to sharpen a few things up, and I thought our conversion rate was much improved in the second half. And overall, to score 1-10 from play in the opening round of the national league is pleasing enough for time of the year.”
Dublin play Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday and will look to continue their fine start to the season. While Kerry will be looking to get their campaign up and running at last against Roscommon at Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday.
Dublin: S Cluxton; David Byrne, M Fitzsimons, J Cooper; Davy Byrne, C O’Sullivan, J Small; J McCarthy, D Bastick; T Brady (0-01), D Connolly (1-00, 1-00 pen), C Kilkenny; P Mannion (0-01), D Rock (0-07, 0-04f), P Andrews (1-04).
Substitutes: J McCaffrey for Davy Byrne, E O’Conghaile for Bastick, C Costello (0-01) for Brady, C Reddin for Kilkenny, D Daly for O’Sullivan, C O’Callaghan for Mannion.
Kerry: B Kealy; S Enright, M Griffin, B O Beaglaoich; K Young, P Murphy, F Fitzgerald; D Moran (0-02, 1f), T Walsh (0-01); P O’Connor, J Buckley (0-01), D Walsh (0-01); BJ Keane (0-04, 0-04f), D O’Sullivan (0-03), S O’Brien (0-01).
Substitutes: P Kilkenny for Griffin, J Lyne for D Walsh (B/C), B O’Sullivan (0-01) for Buckley, P O’Connor for Fitzgerald, G O’Grady for Keane, C Cox for T Walsh.
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).