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Analysis

Kerry lay Tyrone ghost to rest

Kingdom destroy Red Hand to book semi-final place and make emphatic statement of their All-Ireland credentials

Kerry made a stunning statement of their All-Ireland SFC intentions when brushing aside the challenge of old rivals Tyrone, 2-18 to 0-12, in Croke Park this afternoon.

The pair had shared four victories apiece in their previous championship meetings but there was only ever one team in it as Kerry bossed the physical stakes and never allowed the Red Hand to breath.

Had they swapped jerseys, you would have chalked it down as a textbook Tyrone display with the Kingdom tackling ferociously and causing turnover after turnover.

Stung by their last championship clash when Tyrone defeated them after extra-time in the 2021 All-Ireland semi-final, Kerry were the aggressors from the off and there was plenty of verbals in a feisty opening half.

Kerry scorched into an early lead despite David Clifford being kept under wraps by Pádraig Hamspey but when the Canavan brothers, Ruairí and Darragh, helped Tyrone get back on level terms, it looked like a real classic may unfold.

That never materialised, however, as Kerry hit nine of the next 10 points as their 0-9 to 0-6 lead at the break quickly turned into a 0-14 to 0-6 advantage.

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The were dominant in all sectors with Na Gaeil clubmates Diarmuid O’Connor, voted man-of-the-match after firing 1-2 from play, and Jack Barry dictating affairs in the middle of the park, much to Jack O’Connor’s satisfaction.

“The word is out there that we don’t have a midfield,” O’Connor quipped afterwards.

The word is definitely out there that Kerry are keen to make it back-to-back All-Ireland successes and in holding Tyrone scoreless for 25 minutes midway through the game, they turned in a defensive masterclass.

Tyrone native Paddy Tally has been a revelation since joining O’Connor’s backroom team last season and his fingerprints were all over a measly display at the back.

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Kerry scored 1-10 from turnovers as they laid traps all over the pitch and O’Connor’s second-half goal ended the game as any kind of contest with Tyrone, All-Ireland champions two years ago, stuck in second gear and unable to find any answers.

Clifford was not his usual self in front of the posts but the reigning Footballer of the Year did provide another cameo for his endless highlight reel with a spectacular pass to set up Seán O’Shea, who had a huge second half, for their second goal.

Things got pretty heated going down the Cusack Stand tunnel at half-time and it was hardly too much of a surprise to see some red mist in the second half with both Conor Meyler and Paudie Clifford departing in the dying seconds after receiving their second yellow cards.

And so it finished with a double-scores victory for Kerry – something few saw coming – and on this form, it will take something special to take Sam Maguire from their grasp.

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As for Tyrone, they limped out of the championship for the second successive season having once again failed to come anywhere near scaling the heights of two years ago.

The next step for joint-bosses Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan will be an interesting one but Kerry march on to the last four in superb style.

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