All-Ireland SFC Group One
Courtesy of GAA.ie
By Dan Bannon at Laois Hire O’Moore Park
Kerry’s Seán O’Shea revelled in the Portlaoise sunshine with a stunning performance to end Louth’s season and earn the All-Ireland champions a week’s break ahead of the quarter finals.
The Kenmare attacker was in devastating form to finish top scorer in the 28 point win.
O’Shea was menacing in every aspect of his play, intentional in his runs, free taking and palmed in the game’s fifth and final goal.
Louth will have to go back to the drawing board, but for now their progressive season has come to a crashing halt.
Despite bright early play from Conor Grimes and Ciarán Downey the Leinster finalists conceded 2-10 with no response.
David Clifford showed his class to work a move with late addition Tony Brosnan for the games opening goal and Mike Breen hit the second to repay the faith that Jack O’Connor showed in selecting the Beaufort half back.
Louth captain Sam Mulroy halted the Kingdom’s first half barricade to end the energy sapping first half to make 2-15 to 0-3 at the interval.
Second half was tougher going for Mickey Harte’s men. Kerry maintained the intensity of the first with the opening 1-5 upon resumption. O’Shea again, setting the tone before Paudie Clifford capped an impressive showing with a punched goal.
Tom O’Sullivan added a customary point from cornerback he would later add to it but not before David Clifford slotted away a 53rd minute penalty.
Conor Early and replacement Dylan McKeown (brace) poured some respectability on the scoreboard in the finish, but Kerry were not done whatsoever.
Clifford went off to a rousing standing ovation, the Kerry supporters allowed to bask in his greatness.
With Louth landing pop shots, O’Shea ran in his side’s fifth goal to send out a stark reminder to the other contenders what awaits them in the final eight of the Sam Maguire race.
Scorers for Kerry: Seán O’Shea 1-8 (3fs, 1m, 1’45), David Clifford 2-4 (1-0 pen, 1m), Paudie Clifford 1-2, Mike Breen 1-0, Tony Brosnan (1m) and Diarmuid O’Connor 0-3 each, Tom O’Sullivan and Dara Moynihan 0-2 each.
Scorers for Louth: Dylan McKeown (1f), Ciarán Downey, Conor Grimes, 0-2 each, Sam Mulroy 0-1 (1f) Niall Sharkey, Liam Jackson, Anthony Williams and Conor Early 0-1 each.
Kerry: Shane Ryan; Paul Murphy, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan; Graham O’Sullivan, Tadhg Morley, Mike Breen; Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Barry; Dara Moynihan, Paudie Clifford, Adrian Spillane; Tony Brosnan, David Clifford, Sean O’Shea.
Subs: Barry Dan O’Sullivan for Barry (47), Brian Ó Beaglaoich for Breen (47), Ruairí Murphy for Moynihan (52), Stephen O’Brien for Spillane (52), Micheál Burns for D Clifford (55).
Louth James Califf; Dan Corcoran, Peter Lynch, Donal McKenny; Leonard Grey, Niall Sharkey, Conall McKeever; Tommy Durnin, Conor Early; Ciarán Murphy; Ciarán Downey, Conor Grimes; Craig Lennon, Sam Mulroy, Conall McCaul.
Subs: Bevan Duffy for Murphy (HT), Liam Jackson for McCaul (HT), Anthony Williams for Corcoran (44), Dylan Mckeown for Mulroy (46), Jonathan Commins for Lynch (66).
Referee: James Molloy (Galway).