Tyrone were the big winners result-wise, but this senior football contest will be remembered for the wrong reasons.
The Red Hand used two goals in the first half to build a lead and then was able to withstand a man down and control the tempo in the second half. The incidents that happened in the game were unsavory and have no place in football.
The first half will be remembered for the wrong reasons as there was a nasty skirmish that ensued with about 10 minutes left on the clock. Certainly at least three people could have received walking papers and an extended leave of absence.
That said, it was a low scoring first 30 with Tyrone using two well worked goals to have a six point advantage at the break, 2-3 to 0-3.
After the sides swapped a point apiece, Tyrone had the first major when a three player move set Jason Killeen free and the big midfielder slotted to the net.
Dermot Foley had a low shot that Michael Grimes stopped, while Conor Skeffington blasted wide when Michael Sloan set him free.
After a CJ Molloy free for Kerry, Tyrone dominated the scoreboard as the half wound down.
A 1-2 burst with Donal Hartnett and Brendan McGourty, who joined the side from the now abandoned Down, getting the points while a four player move which originated with McGourty, went through the hands of Hartnett and Sloan finished with Shane Ryan slotting to the net.
Tyrone continued their scoring to open the second half with a point from Ryan, who was showing very well off the bench, and a three pointer from Darren Petit, who was set up by an excellent pass from Brian O’Connor.
They had a player sent off, however, with nearly four minutes gone when Killeen hit Vinnie Gavin with a high shoulder and received a straight red.
Kerry had a point immediately in the aftermath with Darren Moore firing over, but the extra man did not materialize in the next 10 minute passage as Tyrone looked as if they had a numerical advantage.
They were able to get second chances up front and it was capitalized on for three points. They also had the time at the back to work the ball out early and easily.
Kerry finally got to grips with the defensive tactics, but they only succeeded in scoring three points the rest of the way as the long balls to the square never created the goal or two they so badly needed.
Ryan again and Hartnett when Paddy Maguire set him up, concluded the scoring for the winners and a successful championship start for 2011.
The winners had very good performances from Aiden Power and Brendan McGourty at the back. Michael Gallagher was also to the fore in the second half. Jason Killeen was having his best game in some time, and the hit on Gavin was not of the malicious type -- Killeen has never been that type of player.
Michael Sloan, Donal Hartnett and the brilliant Shane Ryan were the best of the forwards.
Kerry goes back to the drawing board. Nobby Smith, Alan Lyne, Mike Fitzgerald and Darren Moore were the best of the Kingdom players.
Tyrone: 1 Michael Grimes, 2 Paul Mulhern, 3 Aiden Power, 4 Michael Gallagher, 5 Declan Garvey, 6 Brendan McGourty (0-2), 7 Seamus Skeffington, 8 Jason Killeen (1-0), 9 Conor McNabb, 10 Michael Sloan, 11 Conor Skeffington (0-1), 12 Niall Farrell, 13 Paul Cahill, 14 Darren Petit (1-0), 15 Donal Hartnett (0-2). Subs: Paddy McGuire, Ryan Canavan, Shane Ryan (1-4).
Kerry: 1 Shane Clifford, 2 Nobby Smith, 3 Anthony Glacken, 4 Niall Corbett, 5 Darren Courtney, 6 Eoghan O’Mahoney, 7 Alan Lyne, 8 Dave McSweeney, 9 Mike Fitzgerald, 10 Brian O’Connor, 11 Sean Reilly, 12 Ross Donovan, 13 Dermie Foley (0-1), 14 CJ Molloy (0-1), 15 Darren Moore (0-4). Subs: Paddy Smith, Vinnie Gavin, Paul McGill (0-1).
Man of the match: Shane Ryan (Tyrone).
Referee: Brendan Moran.