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Published: 16:47 | 24/4/16

Dublin beat Kerry in Division 1 final

Dubs secure their fourth consecutive league title

Dublin secured their fourth successive league title with an emphatic 2-18 to 0-13 victory over Kerry at Croke Park.

The Dubs prospered following the second-half sending off Kerry's Aidan O’Mahony to become the first team to win four league titles in a row since the Kingdom's team of 1971 to 1974.

Two evenly-matched sides cancelled each other out in the first half, with Dublin edging the opening 35 minutes with a 0-10 to 0-08 lead at the break.

Diarmuid Connolly and Dean Rock hit early points to extend the Dubs' lead to four points at the start of the second half, but Peter Crowley and Kieran Donaghy cut the lead back to two almost immediately.

But the game turned when Kerry centre back O’Mahony was sent off following an off-the-ball clash with Jonny Cooper on 46 minutes, and though Darran O’Sullivan reduced the gap to a single point seconds afterwards, Dublin did not let the opportunity go to waste despite missing a penalty on 60 minutes when Rock blazed over the bar following Shane Enright's foul on Paul Mannion.

Paul Flynn made it 1-17 to 0-13 on 66 minutes after intercepting Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy’s kick out, then substitute Eric Lowdnes extended the lead to 11 points with Dublin's second goal in the third minute of injury time.

The victory is Dublin's seventh in eight matches against Kerry at Croke Park since their 17-point All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to the Kingdom in August 2009.

All-Ireland champions Dublin have now won their last 22 matches in all competitions, with Jim Gavin picking up a ninth winners' medal of his three-and-a-half tenure as Dubs manager.

Gavin admits the sending off of O'Mahony was a turning point in the final.

The Rathmore defender will miss Kerry's first match in the defence of their Munster senior football title, against Limerick or Clare on the weekend of 11 June, after receiving a straight red card from referee Eddie Kinsella.

"There is no doubt it had an impact," the Dublin manager said.

"That game was as close to championship pitch as you'd get. When you lose a man you are immediately under stress because there is spaces being opened up that can be exploited by the opposition.

"That said, I thought we were beginning to get some control of the game at that particular point. There is no doubt it did impact on Kerry's performance."

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