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Published: 15:50 | 10/4/16

Kerry ease past Roscommon

Three first-half goals settle outcome

Kerry are through to the Allianz Football League final for the first time since 2009 after beating Roscommon by 3-15 to 0-14 in a one-sided Division 1 semi-final at Croke Park.

The Kingdom were superior in every department as they put their early season stutters behind them although, despite the scoreline, Roscommon have plenty to be happy about after their first season back in the top flight.

The Rossies well and frees from goalkeeper Geoffrey Claffey and skipper Ciaran Murtagh, with Kerry replying through Colm Cooper, had them ahead by 0-02 to 0-01 after six minutes.

But the 2014 All-Ireland champions soon took control and posted 1-05 without reply, including a well-taken goal from Cooper on eleven minutes after a good run from Stephen O'Brien, before Roscommon registered again through Ciaran Murtagh on 22 minutes.

The same player was on target with a free from distance shortly afterwards for his third score of the day as the Rossies looked to get themselves back into the contest.

But Kerry struck back in devastating fashion as Donnchadh Walsh rose highest to collect a long ball towards the square before turning and hammering an unstoppable shot past Claffey.

Paul Murphy finished a flowing move with a fine score from distance a minute later and suddenly there were nine points between the teams at 2-07 to 0-04 with half an hour on the clock.

Cooper then landed a free to take his tally to 1-03 for the day and the margin out to ten points.

Ciaran Murtagh reduced the deficit with another free as the game moved into four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.

But Darran O'Sullivan effectively ended the game as a contest after taking advantage of some poor Roscommon defending to shrug off Claffey's tackle and roll the ball into an empty net to leave Kerry firmly in control at 3-08 to 0-05 at the break.

Roscommon had been guilty of some poor wides which might have gotten them closer on the scoreboard but, in truth, there was only one side in it in the opening 35 minutes.

Cooper and O'Sullivan added scores for Eamon Fitzmaurice's men immediately after the restart before Murtagh replied with his fourth free of the day shortly afterwards.

Murphy finished off a probing run into the danger area with his second point of the day before Roscommon posted four without reply through substitute Donie Shine with a 45, two Murtagh frees and one from play courtesy of Diarmuid Murtagh to make it 3-11 to 0-10 with just under 20 minutes remaining.

O'Sullivan and Conor Devaney then exchanged good scores from play before Cooper added another free to Kerry in the comfort zone at 3-13 to 0-11 with an hour played.

Although Roscommon had been much improved after the break as Kerry sat back somewhat, the final score of 3-14 to 0-15 was a fair reflection on the Kingdom's superiority. It was a far cry from their meeting at Fitzgerald Park in February as Kerry showed their long experience in getting results at the business end of tournaments.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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