Kerry were just two point winners on the scoreboard at the end of this senior football contest. They dominated the second half, but it didn’t reflect in lights.
While they pulled away by just two at the end, they created scoring opportunities in the second half and negated any quality chances for Cavan.
Cavan opened the game with a Ryan O’Hare point, but they were saved at the other end when Ciaran Shields stopped a goal-bound CJ Molloy shot with his face.
Alan Fitzgerald had a point from a free, but Cavan dominated the next 10 minutes. They had points from O’Hare and Sean Kelly who advanced intelligently but should have had more.
Kerry had three points at the other end as they started to claw back into the contest. Kelly was at the end of a five player move for the last in the mix.
Cavan did have a respite when James Connolly fisted to the net when Graham Guilfoyle did most of the work, with a point arriving from Guilfoyle afterwards, but it was all Kerry in the last five minutes.
They added three points to their total while also missing a penalty when Fitzgerald, shooting low and wide after Molloy, was fouled in the large parallelogram. It left the sides level at the short whistle.
Molloy and Fitzgerald added to their total in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Fitzie had two in the mix, the second a great point from play.
Cavan did respond in the middle third of the half with three points in reply, but they were being made to work very hard for every chance.
Substitute Kevin Walsh pushed Kerry back in front when he linked with another sub, Darren Moore, before Molloy made it a two point lead with a rangy free.
Connolly and Molloy again swapped points -- Molloy's was an excellent score from the right wing, and the clock was running down on Cavan’s chances of victory. They now needed a goal that they never seemed like getting.
A free in the last minute was too far out to blast to the net, so O’Hare took the point in the hope that they could win the kickout. It was harnessed by Kerry, however, and the win was secure.
The Kingdom now sits in joint second in the championship table with four points after three games played on the strength of this win. Cavan have four from three games, with Tyrone also sitting on four from three while Cork has six from four games.
Leitrim and Dublin are on two with three played each. Armagh with zero from three rounds out the group.
The Kerry full back line did very well against the low ball, keeping their fouling to a minimum, while Thomas Lee, Padraig King and Mike Nester did a lot of work in open play. CJ Molloy and Alan Fitzgerald combined for 0-9 and were excellent.
Cavan never got going. They had just a few flowing moves over the hour -- the goal was one, Guilfoyle’s second half point was another.
Ciaran Shields was a big loss due to injury. Michael Higgins, Sean Munnelly and James Connolly showed well. Graham Guilfoyle was far more productive last week when he was on the 40, while Ryan O’Hare had a quiet four points.
Cavan: 1 Gavin Joyce, 2 Ronan McGinley, 3 Ciaran Shields, 4 Ciaran Martin, 5 Paul Lambe, 6 Mike Higgins, 7 Sean Kelly (0-1), 8 Eoghan Carew, 9 Paddy McCullough, 10 Sean Munnelly, 11 Mike Kennedy, 12 Eoin Ward, 13 Ryan O’Hare (0-4), 14 Graham Guilfoyle (0-2), 15 James Connolly (1-1). Subs: Rory O’Connor, Alan Carolan.
Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Kieran Scannell, 3 Darren Courtney, 4 James Huvane, 5 Sean Kelly (0-1), 6 Mike Nester, 7 John Curran, 8 Mike Fitzgerald, 9 Padraig King (0-2), 10 Robbie Moran, 11 Thomas Lee, 12 Shane McSweeney, 13 Eoin Hogan, 14 CJ Molloy (0-4), 15 Alan Fitzgerald (0-5).
Subs: Paul Kelly, Paul McGill.
Referee: Sean Jones.
Man of the match: Alan Fitzgerald (Kerry).
Why all Irish men’s beards are red