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GAA: Kerry Are Crowned 2014 All-Ireland Champions

the-sam-maguire-trophy-is-raised-2-390x285All-Ireland Senior Football Final

Kerry 2-9 Donegal 0-12

This was definitely not a classic All-Ireland final as it lacked the usual intensity, but Kerry came out on top in this dour battle with two key goals from Paul Geaney and Kieran Donaghy giving them victory.

The Kingdom started at a blistering pace with Geaney catching a high ball close to goal and finishing his beautiful low shot to the far corner of the Donegal net to give them a crucial early lead. Geaney was the key figure in the first half with two further points which kept them in front. Michael Murphy added some points to help Donegal back into the game and later levelled matters with a point from Karl Lacey. Donegal recovered from that early goal in the first half with some good points.

Kerry’s defence was benefitted by bringing back a sweeper to help protect the area in front of goal near the 21 metre line. This helped prevent any Donegal players tearing down the middle of their defence which had been a weak point for Kerry all year. The down side to this was that Kerry were conceding possession as the Donegal kick-out’s were going short. The second half seemed to be turning in Donegal’s favour with Michael Murphy putting the Ulster Champions ahead with his first point of the second half. Kerry responded with a point from Paul Murphy to level matters.

The game went into a bit of a lull after this as neither side scored for a long period of time and things got very quiet. Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durkin tried to pick out a fellow defender but he realised he had gifted Kieran Donaghy possession right in front of goal enabling Donaghy to bag a crucial goal. Durkin will certainly have nightmares about that for a long time. Donegal tried to recover with points from Paddy McBrearty and Neil McGee, but Kerry seemed to answer everything they had towards the end of the game. Donegal tried frantically towards the end to get an equaliser but their best efforts only managed to come off the outside of the near post as Kerry held out winners by 2-9 to 0-12.

All-Ireland Minor Football Final

Kerry 0-17 Donegal 1-10

Kerry started the better of the two sides in this minor game in Croke Park with Killian Spillane being the prominent forward for the Kerry youngster’s. The first half started brighter for the Kingdom with points from Spillane and Michael Burns giving them a comfortable lead. Stephen McBrearty was doing well as he kept his side in touch with two good first half points to keep Donegal within touching distance of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom stepped up a gear in the start of the second half with a flurry of points, which included a superb score from Liam Carey, giving them real breathing space as they opened a significant lead. Donegal seemed to be dead and buried at this point in the game, but a superb goal from Jamie Brennan from Bundoran brought renewed hope that Donegal might fight back. Donegal did get some points after this goal, but Kerry ensured victory with some late points to run out comfortable winners by 0-17 to 1-10.

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All-Ireland Final: Sam Set To Return To The Hills

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All-Ireland Senior Football Final

Kerry v Donegal

Donegal have been a dominant force in Ulster in the last few years are aiming for their second title in three years, while Kerry hope to end a five year spell without claiming Sam Maguire. Kerry with their history of success in the championship means they are a hard side to write off, but Donegal’s impressive display against Dublin and other teams during the championship certainly gives them the favourites tag.

Looking at both teams in depth, we’ll start with the defence of both sides. Donegal’s defence has been fairly rock solid all year as they have limited the score ability of the opposition with their tight knit defence. Kerry on the other hand have been quite poor in defence so far this season conceding some easy goals from players making long direct runs towards goal. Kerry will need to improve immensely and can’t afford to concede these goals in the final. Donegal have been impressive so far and their defence has been quite impressive with the McGee brothers Eamon and Niall from Gweedore being key players in their defence. Continue reading

GAA: Donegal Crush Dublin As Kerry Edge Thriller Against Mayo

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All-Ireland Senior Football Semi-Final

Donegal 3-14 Dublin 0-17

This was an interesting tactical battle as the 2012 Champions Donegal crushed Dublin in this All-Ireland Semi-Final. Ryan McHugh was the crucial individual who finished with two brilliantly taken opportunistic goals and also Colm McFadden added the third goal to put the game beyond the reigning All-Ireland Champions.

Dublin started the game brightly and established an early lead with long range points from Diarmuid Connolly and Paul Flynn, both influential figures in this part of the first half. Dublin were not going to be able to keep scoring long range points no matter how good they are made out to be, this was more evident as the game progressed. Dublin raced into a five point lead at one stage and it seemed a tall order for Donegal to come back, but they did as the game dragged on. Donegal never panicked and this coupled with good scores from McHugh and Michael Murphy kept them within touching distance. Dublin failed to deal with a high ball in that resulted in McHugh finishing his low shot to the Dublin net. Dublin were very comfortable up until McHugh struck and there confidence was rattled as Donegal began to impose themselves on the game. Continue reading

GAA: Final Four Aim For All Ireland Glory

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All-Ireland Football Semi-Final

Donegal v Dublin

This will be another rip roaring game of football, but tactics and how these sides approach the game will determine the flow as Donegal are designed to pounce on the opposition mistakes. Monaghan did this well for the opening quarter of their encounter with Dublin before fatigue and other factors allowed Dublin to breach the Monaghan defence and it started raining scores for the Dubs in Croke Park. This will certainly not happen this weekend. Donegal will go out to impose themselves physically and mentally in this game as Armagh did to Cavan earlier in the Championship.

The defence for both sides will be a key area Firstly looking at the Dubs, they will use their backline as their platform for their attack as they can’t afford to kick the ball long down field as Donegal will shut down that avenue very quickly, it may take a very long time for Dublin to breach the Donegal rearguard, but they will get chances. Monaghan’s defence held out for 25 Minutes, Donegal could well hold out for about 60 Minutes, but putting a figure on it, is very hard. Donegal will play ultra-defensively but they will need to push up on the Dublin kickouts, a thing that Laois did well against them in the Leinster Championship. They can’t afford to gift Dublin possession; otherwise it will be a matter of how long before Dublin breach through their defence. Stephen Cluxton’s kickouts could be a good indicator of whether Donegal are going to throw caution to the wind or set-up a real tough blanket defence. Donegal need to push up on Dublin, a thing Mayo (the last team to beat the Dubs in Croke Park) have been quite good at recent years. Continue reading

GAA: Kerry And Mayo Play Out Entertaining Draw

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Final

Mayo 1-16 Kerry 1-16

Kerry and 14-man Mayo finished level on 1-16 each in an epic All-Ireland Football Championship semi-final at Croke Park.

The two teams must no battle again at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick next week as Croke Park will be unavailable due to the Croke Park Classic, an American Football bout between University Of Central Florida and Penn State.

Mayo have been the more consistent performer in recent times as Kerry are a team rebuilding from the greats of the last decade, but still a formidable force in the Championship. Kerry will certainly be more relieved as they took their chances in the last few minutes of the game to send it to a replay and could have possibly snatched it from Mayo’s grasp.

The first half was slow paced and lacked any real intensity as it was point for point for the most part as Kerry edged in front with some good play from Paul Geaney and Michael Geaney and some strong midfield play from David Moran. Kerry’s ball handling skills let them down on occasions as Mayo will be very disappointed with some chances they missed, including a great chance by Cillian O’Connor who failed to find the net. Mayo were reduced to 14 men when Lee Keegan deliberately kicked Johnny Buckley approaching half time. Kerry were somewhat better in the first half as neither side showed any real intensity. Kerry led by 0-9 to 0-5 at half time. Continue reading

GAA: Mayo And Kerry Eye Final Berth

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All-Ireland Senior Football Semi-Final

Kerry v Mayo

This will be a very interesting tactical affair as neither of these two sides have met in the championship since 2011, with the Kingdom emerging on top for most of the recent battles between these two sides. Mayo have yet to show us why they have made it to this stage of the championship, playing rather poorly with plenty of room for improvement. Kerry have had some hiccups to their play and they have left their defence very exposed on occasions, for example in the All-Ireland quarter final they conceded two relatively easy goals to Galway while Clare also put two past them in the Munster Championship.

Looking at both sides in depth, I would have to ask the question, are these two sides ready to win an All-Ireland at the moment? This is certainly a question that has puzzled me for a while, Kerry haven’t won a title in five years while Mayo haven’t won one in almost sixty years. Kerry’s Defence has at times this year been a little too nice to the opposition and have conceded goals a little too easily for my liking. Kerry’s midfield has been relatively okay so far this year, but they haven’t been as dominant in this area in the last few years and this is possibly a reason for them being left exposed in defence. Kerry forwards have been the main highlight to their championship as they are improving with every going season, with the absence of Colm Cooper due to an ACL tear. James O’Donoghue has been the main star for the Kingdom in the past two seasons and Mayo will certainly need to keep a close eye on him. Kerry still have some experienced forwards like Paul Geaney and Michael Geaney to help take pressure off  O’Donoghue. Continue reading

GAA: Donegal And Dublin Advance To Semi Final Date

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All Ireland Football Quarter Finals

Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11

A late point from Paddy McBrearty fired 2012 All-Ireland champions Donegal into an All Ireland semi final against Dublin as they overcame Ulster rivals Armagh at Croke Park.

The first half started rather slowly and Armagh soon began to impose themselves on the opposition as they started adding points from Tony Kernan, Aaron Kernan and Aidan Forker. This game was a lot more open than most other Ulster matches. Armagh seemed to be in control of this game and they were playing much better football however all their good work was undone when Donegal’s Odhran McNiallais found the back of the net with the help of the post. This goal was completely against the run of play and it helped keep Donegal in touch approaching half time. Donegal improved after this for the remainder of the half and they retook the lead and went in at half time leading by two points. Continue reading

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