Bennett, Dunnion lead K/D to Title
Kerry/Donegal 0-11 Na Fianna 0-6
The double scoring duo of Sue Bennett and Denise Dunnion led Kerry/Donegal to the Anne Kearney Cup title last Sunday with nine points between the long time stars.
It was more than enough to take the title home as Na Fianna never got a head of steam after Benny Touhy made two saves that denied their only goal chances in the first half. K/D are now the outright favorite to do the double of championship and Kearney Cup on the strength of this dominant team display.
The game opened with K/D getting the first score from Dunnion. It was cancelled out when Molly O’Rourke slotted over, but certainly the opening was being dominated by K/D.
They had their second when Bennett slotted over to punctuate their superiority. Granted, three attacks that Na Fianna had were thwarted when frees went against them as they moved forward. Eventually O’Rourke had an equalizer, but it was against the run of play at this point.
After Bennett pushed K/D into a slim lead, O’Rourke had a huge chance to go ahead; she found Karena Richards and the former Cork senior player was denied by a brave Benny Touhy.
K/D responded to the chance by getting down the field and adding to their lead. Sharon Mulligan had their fourth point as they looked to put daylight between the sides. They were pulled back, however, in the last 10 minutes by a Na Fianna team that had now turned the momentum tide.
They had two points from Molly O’Rourke, and had another goal chance when Tuohy again made a good save this time to deny O’Rourke.
Both sides had points to open the second half, with Dunnion equalizing an Aine O’Dwyer score. Na Fianna had a glorious goal chance when Steph Tierney found Joanne McKenna; her shot was wide right, however, from a very dangerous location.
It set a precedent, however. Loretta Cunningham had the same type of opportunity at the other end after eight minutes. She crashed a shot of the crossbar after a solo run and within a minute she fired a goal chance low to the left and wide.
Bennett had a point from play before she fired a free over for a 0-7 to 0-5 lead, but they sandwiched a goal chance of her own that tailed wide. They pushed forward again over the ensuing minutes and had further points from Kelly Roche and Dunnion, an excellent point.
When Allie Kelly burst through in the 18th minute she had the fourth K/D wide when goals were on in the second half alone. Michelle Brennan had a point in reply, but it was easily cancelled out by a brace from Dunnion that gave the Annie Kearney Cup to K/D.
John Madden had his team ready for action in this outing. The choice of Benny Touhy in goal again paid dividends. She made crucial stops when the game was still on the line.
Una Burke did well against the threat of Richards, while Aoife Gibson and Collette McElligott also had leading roles. They won midfield, with Kelly Roche getting a valuable point, while up front Loretta Cunningham was a perfect target for the defenders coming out. Dunnion and Bennett made all the right choices as the win was secured.
Allie Leydon had another strong game for Na Fianna. Michelle Brennan and Steph Tierney were the best of the defenders. Fiona O’Dwyer battled hard, with Molly O’Rourke and Karena Richards by far the most dangerous of the forwards.
The game was physical in nature, with both sides giving as good as they got. They were let have at it as well.
Kerry/Donegal: 1 Benny Tuohy, 2 Siobhan Neville, 3 Una Burke, 4 Kathleen Enright, 5 Anita McKenna, 6 Colette McElligott, 7 Aoife Gibson, 8 Michelle McVann, 9 Kelly Roche (0-1), 10 Marie Cassells, 11 Loretta Cunningham, 12 Sharon Mulligan (0-1), 13 Denise Dunnion (0-5), 14 Sue Bennett (0-4), 15 Allie Kelly.
Na Fianna: 1 Allie Leydon, 2 Tina Rodgers, 3 Joanne Monaghan, 4 Imelda Mullarkey, 5 Stephanie Tierney, 6 Michelle Brennan (0-1), 7 Karen Henry, 8 Ellen Cleary, 9 Fiona O’Dwyer, 10 Aisling Toolan, 11 Aine O’Dwyer (0-1), 12 Molly O’Rourke (0-4), 13 Joanne McKenna, 14 Karena Richards, 15 Mary O’Rourke.
Player of the game was Benny Tuohy (Kerry/Donegal). The saves came at crucial times. They were that important to the win.
Cross That Murtagh Can Bear
Tyrone 2-12 Kerry 1-5
Johnny Murtagh put on a scoring display on Sunday at the Mecca that was glorious for Tyrone. It gave them what was an easy win over last year’s senior football champions Kerry, and keeps Tyrone firmly in the playoff race.
Crossmaglen native Murtagh fired over 1-10 from play and frees and his goal was a gem. He lasered the ball to the top corner of the net for the goal.
Kerry were ripped apart in the second half when they were outscored 1-6 to 0-2. But for some wides by Tyrone it would have been far more.