It was one of the most eagerly-awaited games of this year’s All-Ireland senior football championship. Jimmy McGuinness’s Donegal side, who were so impressive during their march to Ulster honours, against Jack O’Connor’s Kerry team, who revived their season in the All-Ireland qualifiers.
We were live from Croke Park to capture all the action.
RESULT: Donegal 1-12 Kerry 1-10
15.46 – Welcome to Croke Park for this eagerly-awaited meeting of Kerry and Donegal who meet for the first time in a championship clash. Both sides have just taken to the field.
15.53 – Here’s all you need to know about today’s game.
15.56 – Here’s the Kerry team for today’s game.
KERRY: Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin); Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), Aidan O’Mahony (Rathmore), Shane Enright (Tarbert); Tomás Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), Eoin Brosnan (Dr Crokes), Killian Young (Renard); Anthony Maher (Duagh), Bryan Sheehan (St Mary’s); Paul Galvin (Finuge), Declan O’Sullivan (Piarsaigh Na Dromada), Donnchadh Walsh (Cromane); James O’Donoghue (Legion), Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes), Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks).
15.59 – Here’s the Donegal team.
DONEGAL: Paul Durcan (Four Masters); Paddy McGrath (Ardara), Neil McGee (Gweedore), Frank McGlynn (Glenfin); Martin McElhinney (St Michael’s), Karl Lacey (Four Masters), Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill); Ryan Bradley (Buncrana), Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s); David Walsh (St Brigid’s), Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill), Mark McHugh (Kilcar); Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar), Michael Murphy (Glenswilly), Colm McFadden (St Michael’s).
16.00 – We’re about to get underway. A round of applause just took place in memory of the late great Irish journalist Con Houlihan who sadly passed away yesterday morning.
16.02 – Michael Murphy has the first scoring chance of the game but the Donegal man’s effort is off target.
16.04 – Donegal 0-1 Kerry 0-0: 2 mins – Donegal take the lead through a great booming kick by Colm McFadden after he was supplied by Michael Murphy. The huge Donegal following here reacted with a massive cheer to that score.
16.06 – Donegal 0-1 Kerry 0-1: 4 mins – Donegal may pack their defence with bodies but Kerry have attacking weapons which they can use to dismantle it and captain Colm Cooper shows the way by lofting over a fine point to tie the game.
16.08 – Donegal 1-2 Kerry 0-1: 7 mins – Goal for Donegal! Colm McFadden arrows in a sideline ball from the Cusack Stand side and as Michael Murphy rises to challenge for it with Aidan O’Mahony, the ball appears to miss both and travel past Brendan Kealy in the Kerry goal before going into the net via the crossbar. Moments later Murphy lands a point.
16.11 – Donegal 1-2 Kerry 0-2: 9 mins – Declan O’Sullivan bags a point for Kerry to cut Donegal’s lead. A hectic start here and I neglected to mention there was one other change to the Donegal line-up with Eamonn McGee from Gweedore replacing David Walsh.
16.15 – Donegal 1-2 Kerry 0-3: 13 mins – Kerry have weathered the storm with the concession of that early goal and Bryan Sheehan has just slotted over a free after Kieran Donaghy was fouled.
16.17 – Colm McFadden wide with a sideline ball from the Cusack Stand side of the pitch.
16.19 – Paul Durcan does excellently to hold on to the ball in the Donegal goalmouth under pressure from Kieran Donaghy after Marc Ó Sé’s lobbed ball in drops short. 17 minutes have elapsed here.
16.21 – Donegal 1-2 Kerry 0-4: 19 mins – Donegal’s defence are slow to cut out a delivery and Donnchadh Walsh seizes the ball, transfers it to James O’Donoghue and the corner-forward lashes an assured kick over the bar. Colm McFadden nearly cancels that score out at the other end but his shot just tails wide.
16.25 – Donegal 1-3 Kerry 0-4: 23 mins – Donegal go in front by two when Colm McFadden converts a chance. But it could easily have been avoided by Kerry with Killian Young giving away possession in defence, Leo McLoone intercepting the ball, feeding Karl Lacey, who in turn set up the opening for McFadden.
16.27 – We may have had a rout in the first match but this game looks like it’s going to go down to the wire already. It’s tight, tense and utterly absorbing. The Kerry management have just made their first change with Eoin Brosnan, who looks to have incurred a knock, coming off and Brian McGuire from Listowel Emmetts coming on.
16.29 – Donegal temporary substitution sees David Walsh in for Patrick McBrearty.
16.30 – Donegal’s defence are closing down the Kerry attacking and depriving them of time and space to compose their shots. Tomás Ó Sé comes forward from defence on this occasion but sees his effort fly to the right and wide into the Davin End.
16.33 – A yellow card for Kerry’s James O’Donoghue for a foul on Leo McLoone. Change on the Kerry team sees Darran O’Sullivan enter the game instead of Killian Young while Patrick McBrearty is back on for Donegal replacing David Walsh.
16.36 – Noticeable that Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan appears to be limping around the middle of the pitch, he could be in trouble to stay on. Darran O’Sullivan has hit first shot of the game but he’s under severe pressure and has to rush his kick which results in the ball tailing wide.
16.37 – Donegal 1-3 Kerry 0-5: 36 mins – Kerry grab a point but it could easily have been a goal. Colm Cooper gets loose, tears forward, exchanges passes with Kieran Donaghy before fisting over the bar as Paul Durcan advanced.
16.40 – HALF-TIME: Donegal 1-4 Kerry 0-5: The half concludes with Donegal making a mark on the scoreboard courtesy of Colm McFadden who launches over a fantastic free from outside the 45 yard line. Michael Murphy has a chance to send the Ulster champions three ahead at the break but his free effort is wide.
16.43 – It’s delicately poised at the break with Donegal’s early goal proving the critical moment in helping them establish a half-time advantage. We’ll be back shortly with the second half action but here’s the scorers from the opening half of the game.
DONEGAL: Colm McFadden 1-3 (0-1f), Michael Murphy 0-1.
KERRY: Colm Cooper 0-2, Declan O’Sullivan, James O’Donoghue, Bryan Sheehan (0-1f) 0-1 each.
16.54 – The attendance here in Croke Park today is 56,191.
16.56 – Kerry are back out for the second-half, interesting to see Darran O’Sullivan lining up in a half-back role.
16.57 – Donegal half-time substitution sees Neil Gallagher into the team at midfield for Martin McElhinney.
16.59 – Donegal 1-4 Kerry 0-6: 37 mins – That’s a marvellous point by Kerry’s Anthony Maher to start off the second-half.
17.01 – Donegal 1-5 Kerry 0-6: 38 mins – Fine response by Donegal with Leo McLoone blasting over a left-footed shot after he linked up superbly with Patrick McBrearty to cut open the Kerry defence.
17.03 – Donegal 1-5 Kerry 0-7: 40 mins – Back to a one-point game again with Colm Cooper converting a free for Kerry after Darran O’Sullivan was fouled. An earlier incident in the build-up to that score saw Donegal’s Michael Murphy shown a yellow card.
17.07 – Donegal 1-6 Kerry 0-7: 44 mins – Michael Murphy restores Donegal’s two pointe lead as he converts a free into the Davin End. It may be low scoring but this is a gripping match in Croke Park.
17.09 – Donegal 1-7 Kerry 0-7: 45 mins – Donegal are now three points clear courtesy of another Michael Murphy pointed free. Kerry have reacted by bringing on Johnny Buckley for Bryan Sheehan at midfield while Kieran O’Leary replaces Declan O’Sullivan at centre-forward. Sheehan appears to have been injured after hurting his ankle but O’Sullivan’s withdrawal seems to be tactical.
17.10 – James O’Donoghue lines up a ’45 for Kerry but strikes it wide. This is a major challenge for them now as they try to retrieve a three-point deficit.
17.11 – Yellow card for Donegal’s Neil McGee after he went in strongly on Darran O’Sullivan.
17.13 – Donegal 1-7 Kerry 0-8: 50 mins – The weather is miserable in Croke Park with rain sweeping across the pitch but no one in attendance is leaving this one as it continues to remain in the balance. A Colm Cooper free for Kerry has cut Donegal’s lead to two points.
17.16 – Donegal 1-8 Kerry 0-8: 53 mins – In a tight and tense battle like this, accurate long-range kicking is key and Donegal are fortunate that Colm McFadden is shining in that regard. He has just lofted over a brilliant point as the rain starts to pour down in Croke Park.
17.18 – Michael Murphy spurns the chance to stretch Donegal’s lead when his effort from a free tails wide. Kerry substitution, and their last one of the game, sees Patrick Curtin into their attack for James O’Donoghue.
17.22 – Donegal are frustrating Kerry’s attacks as a long ball from outfield towards Kieran Donaghy is over hit and rolls wide. The Ulster men’s defensive tactics, which frequently see no player inside the Kerry’s 65 yard line are paying off so far. They lead by three points with 11 minutes remaining. David Walsh has just come into their team for Ryan Bradley.
17.24 – Donegal 1-10 Kerry 0-8: 61 mins – Donegal go five points clear when Patrick McBrearty punts in a shot that sees Colm McFadden challenge goalkeeper Brendan Kealy and palm the ball over the bar, before Christy Toye, just on the field for Leo McLoone, curls over a point.
17.26 – Kerry face a massive challenge to overhaul Donegal now with Jimmy McGuinness’s team looking in a strong position to contest the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork on August 26th. Seven minutes of normal time left for Kerry to bridge the five-point gap.
17.27 – Donegal 1-11 Kerry 0-8: 65 mins – And Donegal’s position looks even stronger now with Colm McFadden tapping over a close-range free.
17.28 – Donegal 1-11 Kerry 1-8: 66 mins – A lifeline for Kerry when Kieran Donaghy finds the net, rising highest in the square to fist to the net after the ball is sent across by Donnchadh Walsh.
17.30 – Donegal 1-11 Kerry 1-9: 67 mins – Suddenly the game is back in the melting pot with Paul Galvin kicking over a point for Kerry. The excitement is mounting.
17.31 – Donegal 1-11 Kerry 1-10: 69 mins – Now there’s only one point in it! Anthony Maher with a great long-range effort for Kerry.
17.32 – Two minutes of injury-time will be played.
17.33 – Patrick Curtin’s attempt to level it for Kerry goes across the goal and wide. Daniel McLaughlin replaces Patrick McBrearty for Donegal.
17.35 – FULL-TIME: Donegal 1-12 Kerry 1-10: Donegal have done it! Karl Lacey strikes the injury-time point which is the insurance score.
17.38 – What a finish to an absorbing contest. It’s Donegal who advance though to face Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final while Kerry’s campaign draws to a close. Here are the scorers from today’s game.
DONEGAL: Colm McFadden 1-6 (0-2f), Michael Murphy 0-3 (0-3f), Karl Lacey, Leo McLoone, Christy Toye 0-1 each.
KERRY: Colm Cooper 0-4 (0-2f), Kieran Donaghy 1-0, Anthony Maher 0-2, Paul Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan, James O’Donoghue, Bryan Sheehan (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Thanks for joining us and for all your comments. We’ll be back later with analysis and reaction.