Last minute Clifford penalty gives Kerry draw in cracking clash with Dublin

Kerry 1-18
Dublin 4-9

CLASHES BETWEEN DUBLIN and Kerry in recent years have never failed to entertain and so it transpired once again. 

David Clifford in action against Michael Fitzsimons.

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

A David Clifford penalty in the 74th minute handed Kerry a late draw in a game they trailed by seven points in the 40th minute. 

It was the second successive league draw between the great rivals following the January 2020 meeting that required a last-gasp Clifford free to level matters.

The Fossa man followed up last weekend’s hat-trick against Galway with a tally of 1-6, which was more impressive against the tenacious Dublin defence. 

Despite scoring just four times in the second-half, Dublin will be disappointed not to have left Thurles with the victory. Leading the Sky Blues attack were Con O’Callaghan, who bagged 2-1 and won a penalty, and Cormac Costello.

Costello scored 2-3, including a second-half spot kick, which brings him to 3-16 in the opening two games of the year.

The Dubs had 3-6 on the board by half-time and left another handful of goals behind them in the opening 35 minutes. Ciaran Kilkenny knit the play together well in an advanced role in attack, setting up his team-mates for numerous scores throughout.

Kerry tightened things up from the third quarter, with Tadhg Morley and Paul Murphy, scorer of two quick fire second-half points, showing well in defence. 

Dublin’s Paddy Small and Paul Murphy of Kerry.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ultimately, this was an entertaining and compelling league encounter between two sides who may well meet at the business end of the All-Ireland series. 

Both Dublin and Kerry will leave Thurles fairly happy with their efforts. Kerry scored 1-18 and restricted Dublin to 13 scores, although the number of goal chances they shipped – particularly in the first-half – will be of concern to Peter Keane.

Both teams were highly efficient on the opening day but, played out in wintry conditions for May, the swirling breeze badly affected the shooting here. Kerry either dropped short or sent wide seven strikes at the goal with Clifford guilty of three misses in the opening half.

Under the close watch of Mick Fitzsimons, the Kerry star did clip over two fine scores off the right and a free. Kerry started well, leading by 0-4 to 0-1, after stitching together some good moves in the early stages.

Despite missing nine shots at the posts in the first period, Dublin ripped the Kerry defence apart at stages and created five or six genuine goal chances.

O’Callaghan struck the outside of the post from a handpass to the back post by Scully inside the opening two minutes. With a smart backdoor cut that has become Dublin’s hallmark, the Cuala ace then hit the net after being put through by Kilkenny.

Another run along the end line, this one by Paddy Small, saw the Ballymun forward set-up Costello for a close-range finish past Kieran Fitzgibbon in the 21st minute.

O’Callaghan forced a good save from Fitzgibbon after another neat move and raised his second green flag shortly before the interval after a long delivery by Scully.

Kerry were unfortunate not to have a goal awarded after Dara Moynihan stole inside and finished past Evan Comerford in the 34th minute, but the referee failed to give him advantage.

It could be argued that Moynihan over carried the ball but it was the third such occasion when Sean Hurson called the play back despite the attacking Kerry player having space in front of him to run into.

After a host of missed chances in the first-half, the teams missed just three shots at the posts between them after half-time.

Kerry introduced Tommy Walsh for Killian Spillane at the interval, while Keane withdrew veterans Paul Geaney and David Moran in the 44th minute. 

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan scores a goal.

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

After Costello finished a good move to push Dublin seven clear, the Kingdom upped the intensity and started to come out with ball in defence. Clifford was finding space by now and brought his tally to six with two well-taken efforts off the right and another off his left.

It arrived as part of five points in succession for Kerry as Walsh created havoc by winning plenty of ball aerially and out in front.

Costello broke that run with his third point but Kerry followed it up with three further scores. Just as Keane’s men were beginning to dominate all over the field, a Dara Mullin attempt for a point dropped into the hands of O’Callaghan.

A hand into his face by Diarmuid O’Connor gave Hursen no option but to award Dublin a penalty. After scoring 1-1 from three attempts in Roscommon last weekend, Costello drilled the spot kick high to the keeper’s right. 

O’Shea (free) and O’Callaghan traded points as the clock ran down. Dublin tried to play keep ball near the end but Kerry engineered a penalty after Stephen O’Brien was fouled by Philly McMahon. 

Clifford stuck home the penalty and both sides left Thurles with a share of the spoils.  

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford 1-6 (1-0 pen), Sean O’Shea 0-4 (0-2f), Dara Moynihan, Diarmuid O’Connor and Paul Murphy 0-2 each, Paul Geaney and Paudie Clifford 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 2-3 (1-0 pen), Con O’Callaghan 2-1, Paddy Small 0-3, Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1 each.


1. Kieran Fitzgibbon (Kenmare Shamrocks)

3. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 2. Brian O Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), 4. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)

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5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore), 6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys), 18. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)

10. Dara Moynihan (Spa), 11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), 12. Paul Geaney (Dingle)

13. David Clifford (Fossa), 14. Killian Spillane (Templenoe), 15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)


21. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Spillane (ht)

23. Ronan Buckley (Listry) for Geaney (44)

9. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe) for Moran (44)

26. Stephen O’Brien (An Neidin) for Paudie Clifford (50)

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17. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for O Beagloich (57)

20. Jack Sherwood (Firies) for White (57)


1. Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams)

20. Mick Fitzsiomns (Cuala),  22. Sean McMahon  (Raheny), 2. Eoin Murchan (Na Fianna)

3. David Byrne (Naomh Olaf), 6. John Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 7. Robert McDaid (Ballyboden St. Enda’s)

5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams), 9. Tom Lahiff (St Jude’s)

15. Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille), 8. Brian Fenton (Raheny), 10. Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street),

13. Paddy Small (Ballymun Kickhams), 14. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala), 11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Castleknock), 


17. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St. Enda’s) for Lahiff (47)

12. Dara Mullin (Kilmacud Crokes) for John Small (51)

21. Eric Lowndes (St Peregrines) for McDaid (51)

24. Philly McMahon (Ballymun Kickhams) for John Small (59)

18. Sean Bugler (St Oliver Plunkett’s ER) for Kilkenny (65)

4. Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna) for McMahon (65)

23. Brian Howard (Raheny) for Scully (71)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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