DUBLIN 0-13 KERRY 0-13
Dublin showed true grit to salvage a draw in their NFL Division 1 battle with Kerry in Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Saturday night.
In very blustery conditions it was a real physical contest with late scores from Dean Rock (free) and sub Paul Mannion deservedly granted the Dubs a share of the spoils.
The counties were level at half-time before a pulsating second half.
Kerry moved four up at one stage before Dublin brilliantly lifted their game massively following the introduction of Paul Flynn, Kevin McManamon and Eoghan O'Gara to move two up themselves.
The game oscillated in the dying minutes with Kerry looking set for victory as they established a two-point cushion but Dublin kept going to the end to secure the draw.
“They had a big breeze in the second half and they pulled four ahead, with 72 minutes gone and two down, but we’ve always stayed present in games and tried to get the scores," said Dublin manager Jim Gavin afterwards.
“We played our traditional style of football and got the draw in the end. That’s expected in a team game and this football team is more than the sum of its parts - that has been its strength in previous games,” added Jim.
Kerry opened the better in the opening half with scores from Peter Crowley and Paul Geaney before Dublin eventually responded through a Dean Rock free and fine point from play from Conor McHugh, following good work from Eric Lowndes.
Three Dean Rock frees had Dublin in front heading towards the interval before Stephen Cluxton performed an excellent reflex save to deny Paul Geaney from close range as he redirected his thunderbolt over for a point.
The Kingdom began the second half in top gear with points from Paul Geaney, David Moran and Kevin McCarthy.
By the 45th minute Kerry were four points to the good, then Dublin hit their best passage of the night with the freetaking of Rock punishing Kerry's many indiscretions as well as McHugh and O'Gara firing points to put Dublin two up by the 55th minute.
Dublin almost had a goal but Conor McHugh was denied by Mark Griffin on the line, before Griffin and keeper Brendan Kealy stopped Brian Fenton's follow-up effort, with a suspicion of the ball being handled on the ground by the defender in-between.
The drama in this contest was far from over as Kerry made a resounding reply with Geaney slotting two frees and points from BJ Keane and Donnchadh Walsh edging the hosts two in front.
Dublin were not going to give up though as Rock (free) and Mannion, who had been introduced for the injured John Small, had the final words. Ciaran Kilkenny was dismissed in the last minute of added time for a second yellow card offence.
SCORERS - Kerry: P Geaney 0-7 (0-4f), P Crowley, D Moran, B Kealy (0-1 '45'), BJ Keane, K McCarthy D Walsh 0-1 each. Dublin: D Rock 0-9 (0-9f), C McHugh 0-2, E O'Gara, P Mannion 0-1 each.
KERRY: B Kealy; M Griffin, S Enright, R Shanahan; P Crowley, T Morley, K Young; D Moran, J Barry; A Spillane, P Murphy, D Walsh; J Savage, P Geaney, K McCarthy. Subs: J Lyne for Enright (16, inj), S O'Brien for Savage (ht), BJ Keane for Spillane (52), A Maher for Barry (54), D O'Sullivan for McCarthy (61), M Geaney for Young (61, inj).
DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Daly, P McMahon, M Fitzsimons; J Small, D Byrne, E Lowndes; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully, C Kilkenny, SB Carthy; D Rock, P Andrews, C McHugh. Subs: C O'Sullivan for Byrne (ht), P Flynn for Scully (41), K McManamon for Macauley (44), E O'Gara for Andrews (46), P Mannion for Small (48, inj), B Brogan for McHugh (69).
REF: S Hurson (Tyrone).