Kerry get the 2024 League Season off to the perfect start

Kerry 1-8

Dublin 0-6


Emma Dineen struck 1-3 at Parnell Park on Saturday evening as Kerry won the battle of the champions in the opening round of the new Lidl National Football League Division 1.

Whereas Kerry got the better of Galway to claim NFL top-tier honours at Croke Park last April, Dublin recorded a 0-18 to 1-10 win at the Kingdom’s expense a little under four months later to reclaim the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship crown. Although it doesn’t necessarily make amends for their defeat in the latter game, Kerry will undoubtedly take great confidence from this victory as they look to defend their Division 1 title.

In their first clash since that All-Ireland SFC decider, Kerry squeezed in front with a point from Jadyn Lucey after just 27 seconds. The Jackies were welcoming Olwen Carey back following a two-season absence, but even though they created a number of scoring chances early on, Katie Brosnan ultimately doubled the Kingdom’s lead on seven minutes.

Dineen also found the range just shy of the first-quarter mark to offer her side further breathing room and while Dublin finally opened their account with a point from centre half-back Martha Byrne a little over 21 minutes into the play, this was immediately cancelled out at the opposite end by Lucey’s second of the half.

Kerry did receive a let-off when Dublin full-forward Niamh Hetherton subsequently fired wide off a goalscoring opportunity, but a second point from her opposite number Dineen ultimately ensured the Kingdom brought a 0-5 to 0-1 cushion into the interval.

In a bid to eat into their deficit, Dublin (who had eight starters from the 2023 Brendan Martin Cup showpiece, as opposed to five from Kerry) introduced team captain Carla Rowe and Kate Murray on the resumption. However, after Dineen and Hetherton swapped points in an initially cagey third-quarter, the Kingdom’s own substitute Hannah O’Donoghue released Dineen for a palmed goal off a quick break in the 41st minute.

This was followed by a brace of points from new skipper Niamh Carmody to leave Kerry nine points to the good with just 13 minutes remaining, before Dublin finally developed a purple patch that yielded scores from Hetherton, Rowe (free) and Murray.

This left Mick Bohan’s charges with a fighting chance of getting something out of the game, but even though Murray added a second point, Kerry had already done enough to claim the three points on offer.

Scorers – Kerry: E Dineen 1-3, N Carmody, J Lucey 0-2 each, K Brosnan 0-1. Dublin: N Hetherton, K Murray 0-2 each, C Rowe 0-1 (f), M Byrne 0-1.

KERRY: M.E. Bolger; C O’Brien, D Kearney, A Dillane; C McCarthy, K Cronin, A O’Connell; A Harrington, A Galvin, N Carmody, N Ní Chonchúir, K.A. Hanrahan; K Brosnan, E Dineen, J Lucey.

Subs: L Scanlon for Hanrahan (24), H O’Donoghue for Lucey (36), E O’Connor for McCarthy (40), C Lynch for Cronin, S Burns for Galvin (50), E McGlynn for Ní Chonchúir (54), B O’Connor for O’Connell (58), R Rahilly for Brosnan (59).

DUBLIN: R Fleming; N Crowley, L Caffrey, N Donlon; L Magee, M Byrne, H Hegarty; C Darby, O Carey; C O’Connor, O Nolan, J Egan; K Murphy, N Hetherton, L Grendon.

Subs: C Kirwan for Egan, D Lawless for Grendon (both 23), K Murray for Darby, C Rowe for Murphy (both h-t), C Coffey for Kirwan (42), A Nyhan for Caffrey (44), K Sullivan for O’Connor, E Deeley for Hegarty, F O’Connell Bell for Magee (all 50), H McGinnis for Donlon (54).

Referee: Jonathan Murphy (Carlow).