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Published: 19:37 | 22/7/18

Fitzmaurice praises Kerry resilience to keep All Ireland hopes alive


Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice hailed his players' resilience as a last-ditch David Clifford goal earned a 1-17 apiece draw with Monaghan at St Tiernach's Park to keep them in the All-Ireland Championships.

The Kingdom looked set to be going out in the Super 8s with back-to-back defeats when trailing by four points going into injury time, but substitute Anthony Maher reduced the arrears with a point and then Clifford pounced on a James O’Donoghue punt to rifle a right-footed effort into the net in the fourth of five added minutes.

The draw means that Kerry could still make the All-Ireland semis if they beat Kildare at home on 5 August and Monaghan lose to already qualified Galway.

It was tough on the Farney County, looking for their first All-Ireland semi spot in 30 years. They controlled most of the match having got off to the best possible start when Conor McManus [1-9] seized on a Kieran Duffy long ball to score a goal.

Monaghan led 1-11 0-10 at the break but Sean O'Shea [0-8] almost singlehandedly kept Kerry in the contest with some timely scores and it paid off in a grandstand finish.

Fitzmaurice told RTE Sport: "We are still in the Championship and that is the most important thing for us.

"We knew it was a severe test up here today and it was every inch of that.

"I am delighted for the players who showed fantastic resilence to keep fighting to the end. I am very proud of my players today."

The Farneymen have another chance if they can beat Galway at Pearse Park on 4 August.

In Group 1's other Super 8s contest, Galway beat Kildare 0-19 0-16 at St Conleth’s Park  to book their berth in the semi-finals for the first time since 2001.

Tribesmen, who had beaten Kerry in their Super 8s opener, were made to struggle and the turning point was the sending-off of Daniel Flynn just after the restart for an off-the-ball incident.

At that point the Lilywhites were trailing by just two points but they ran out of steam after six games in seven weeks and Galway were able to run down the clock without pulling away from their spirited opponents.

Kildare remain pointless after their two games and are now unable to qualify, but they can do Monaghan a favour by beating Kerry in Tralee in the final round of matches.

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