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Kerry land 21st league title after dismissing Donegal

Sean O’Shea and Gavin White hit the goals as Kerry lifted the league title for the first time since 2017 after victory over Donegal in Tralee

Tony Brosnan and Sean O'Shea

Sean O’Shea and Gavin White hit the goals as Peter Keane’s Kerry lifted the National Football League title for the first time since 2017 after victory over Donegal in Tralee.

BY SHANE STAPLETON
Peter Keane’s Kerry lifted the National Football League title for the first time since 2017 with a 2-18 to 0-10 victory over Donegal in Tralee.

Sean O’Shea and Gavin White smashed in two goals during three first-half minutes to set up the win, with Tony Brosnan impressing upfront with six points.

Donegal made nine changes to their starting team from the win over Tyrone a week ago, giving frontline stars such as Michael Murphy a break ahead of the Ulster opener against the Red Hand County next weekend.

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Kerry, who will face Cork in two weeks, profited and unusually it was while they were down to 14 men midway through the first half that they pulled away from the Ulster side, with Jason Foley in the sin bin after a harsh black card.

O’Shea scored the first goal shortly after the water break in the first half, after being released through on goal by a gorgeous Tom O’Sullivan foot-pass over the cover.

White added a second a few minutes later, bursting through a couple of would-be Donegal challengers before rifling home with his left foot.

The Kingdom were 2-3 to 0-3 ahead after 21 minutes, but Donegal made a mini-fightback largely thanks to Ciaran Thompson (0-4; 0-2f) before the interval, with the home side leading 2-9 to 0-8 by the short whistle.

Tony Brosnan scored 0-4 in the first half, outshining star man David Clifford — who was well marshalled by Stephen McMenamin — during that opening 35 minutes.

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The 2018 Young Footballer of the Year knocked over two beauties from play early in the second half as Kerry kept the visitors at arm’s length, with manager Keane beginning to use his bench.

The Kingdom coasted after the second water break as the intensity of the game dropped, with the two sides turning an eye to their upcoming championship openers.

Clifford ultimately finished the game with four from play, while Thompson was the star turn for the travelling crew.

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