Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park, Tralee
A DAVID CLIFFORD hat-trick – and a fourth goal from his brother Paudie – would have been enough on their own to beat Galway in a criminally one-sided Division One South game in Tralee this afternoon that could be barely called a contest.
Those 12 points alone from the Fossa brothers’ goals would have done for a Galway team that showed all the signs of being locked down for the last six months, as Kerry routed the Tribesmen to the tune of 22 points.
In their own way, both Peter Keane and Padraic Joyce have tough work ahead of them this week: Keane to dampen expectations in the Kingdom ahead of a Thurles summit with Dublin next weekend, and Joyce to lift his players’ chins up off the floor before Roscommon rock up to Tuam.
HATRICK! David Clifford with another GOAL for @Kerry_Official v @Galway_GAA in the Allianz League #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/1OWLYEZiZB
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 15, 2021
Keane had said at the start of the week that he and his players would be “poking in the dark” against Galway after coming out of that six-month Covid-induced hiatus, but this was as illuminating a performance as any in Kerry could have hoped for.
Kerry were as devastating from the start as Galway were atrocious. It took Paudie Clifford just 37 seconds to score from play, and when Damien Comer equalised within a minute the classic Kerry-Galway expansive game looked on.
By the time Galway next scored – a Shane Walsh free in the 14th minute – Kerry led 0-6 to 0-1 and the result looked to be only going one way.
Sean O’Shea teed up David Clifford for a palmed goal just before the water break, a score that made it 1-6 from play for the Kerry full forward in that first quarter.
Moments after the drinks were on board Paudie Clifford took Dara Moynihan’s pass and slipped the ball past Bernard Power to make it 2-7 to 0-3. If it was a boxing match Galway were already getting a count of eight.
The visitors had so little to offer that manager Padraic Joyce cut a forlorn figure on the sideline, frustrated that so many of his players looked out of oxygen and ideas so early in the game. Galway were laboured in everything they tried, and it will take serious work to get them up to speed to extricate themselves from what is now a very tight corner in the league, and with a Connacht championship looming fast.
Kerry kept piling on the pressure with slick movement, incisive running and crisp finishing from the Cliffords and Killian Spillane, whose four from play helped Kerry to a 2-10 to 0-6 half time lead.
Any small hope of a Galway come-back in the second half was quickly extinguished with David Clifford’s second goal – less than two minutes into the half.
Five minutes later the Fossa man conjured another moment of magic for the highlights reel with a cheeky drag-back and neat finish to the net to help make it 4-13 to 0-7 at the second water break.
After that both teams simply emptied their benches; in Galway case it seemed more an act of compassion for those coming off, while Kerry got a few familiar faces on to the field as well as the Cliffords’ cousin, Paul O’Shea, who came in for a debut and a score.
Scorers for Kerry: D Clifford 3-6 (0-1f, 0-1m), S O’Shea 0-7 (4f, 1m, 2 ‘45’), P Clifford 1-2, K Spillane 0-4, P O’Shea 0-1, T Walsh 0-1 (m)
Scorers for Galway: P Conroy 0-2 (1f), D Comer 0-2, S Walsh 0-2 (1f), M Tierney 0-1, D Conneely 0-1, S Kelly 0-1, K Molloy 0-1, R Finnerty 0-1 (f)
16.Kieran Fitzgibbon (Kenmare Shamrocks)
2. Brian O Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), 3. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 4. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)
5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore), 6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)
8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys), 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil)
10. Dara Moynihan (Spa), 11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), 12. Paul Geaney (Dingle)
13. David Clifford (Fossa), 14. Killian Spillane (Templenoe), 15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)
Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin) for P Geaney (41)
Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil) for D Moran (41)
Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys) for D Clifford (51)
Adrian Spillane (Templenoe) for B O Beagaloich (56)
Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for G White (56)
Micheal Burns (Dr Crokes) for D Moynihan (61)
Mike Breen (Beaufort) for P Murphy (66)
1. Bernard Power (Corofin)
of the team
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2. Jack Glynn (Claregalway), 3. Seán Ó Maoilchiaráin (Aran Islands), 4. Liam Silke (Corofin)
5. Gary O’Donnell (Tuam Stars), 6. Dylan McHugh (Corofin), 7. Johnny Heaney (Killanin)
8. Peter Cooke (Moycullen), 9. Paul Conroy (St James)
10. Paul Kelly (Moycullen), 11. Matthew Tierney (Oughterard), 12. Eamonn Brannigan (St Michaels)
13. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen), 14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown), 15. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin-Clonberne)
Cathal Sweeney (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for J Heaney (27)
Ronan Steede (Corofin) for P Cooke (27)
Robert Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for P Kelly (h-t)
Sean Kelly (Moycullen) for G O’Donnell (h-t)
Finnian O Laoi (Spiddal) for P Conroy (49, inj)
Tomo Culhane (Salthill-Knocknacarra) for D Conneely (58)
Kieran Molloy (Corofin) for E Brannigan (60)
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)
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