Kerry's Dylan Geaney in action with Tyrone's Padraig McGrogan and Niall Toner at Austin Stack Park, Tralee. [Inpho/Dylan Crombie]

Victorious Glen men key as Derry edge league opener away in Kerry

Derry 0-15; Kerry 2-8

Make no mistake about it but Derry were by far the better team in this opening national league encounter, but new manager Mickey Harte won’t be happy that they conceded two goals. And truth be told should have given away two more late green flags only for botched handpasses on both occasions from the experienced Stephen O’Brien at Austin Stack Park on Saturday evening.

With Kerry missing a number of marque players including the Clifford brothers David and new skipper Paidi, Jack O’Connor’s crew were less up for battle than the Foylesiders who included a trio of Glenmen fresh from their win last weekend in the All-Ireland SF club final over St Brigid’s.

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The fact that they had their heavy-hitters accounted for the fact that they were the superior outfit but when shot-shy Kerry came at them in the second half, they found ways of creating goals that will cause heart attacks to Mickey and his backroom team when they watch the video.

So are Derry Sam Maguire champions in waiting or have Kerry the right for that statement to apply to them?

The truthful answer is the jury is out on both at this stage as Derry still showed little goal penetration which they will need to add to their armory if they are to lift Sam while Kerry seem to be suffering from a lack or new talent to push the squad that won the All Ireland two years ago and reached the decider last year.

Derry’s club winning trio from last week, Conor Glass, Ethan Doherty and Ciaran McFaul, drove on the northern side to a 0-8 to 0-4 interval lead.

Such paucity in scores was an embarrassment to home fans and their side fought back in the second moiety to level  before a late free from the peerless Shane McGuigan brought the points to the away side in the last minute.

McGuigan’s 0-7 meant he was the star turn on the night, but still two second-half goals from Conor Geaney and Dylan Casey got Kerry back in the frame and really they had the winning of the game not once but twice and each time they snubbed the opportunities. Then Sean O’Shea had the chance to level with a late 45 but he pulled the shot wide and slumped on the grass in disappointment as the referee Joe McQuillan blew the full-time whistle.

Jack O'Connor pointed to the late misses as the reason for leaving the game pointless but said he was proud of how his charges had played on the changeover.

"We played a lot of the game in their half, but at the end of the day, we butchered at least two, if not three, goal chances, and that’s the game right there. Very happy with the display, not happy with the result."

Referring to Derry, O’Connor added: "They have new impetus with new management and that’s shown by the fact the Glen lads came down and played a week after winning the All-Ireland. They mean business, but we do as well and we go up to Monaghan next week in good spirits because we have a lot to play for. We have a few things to work on after that, but a lot to be proud of as well."

Derry: O Lynch; C McCluskey, C McKaigue, (0-1) D Baker; P McGrogan, G McKinless (0-1), C Doherty (0-1); C Glass (0-1), B Rogers (0-1); E Doherty, D Cassidy (0-1), C McFaul (0-1); N Loughlin, S McGuigan (capt.) (0-7, 0-6f), Pl Cassidy Subs: N Toney (0-1) for Cassidy (48 mins) C Murphy for Loughlin (60 minutes).

Kerry: S Ryan; G O'Sullivan (0-1m), J Foley, D Casey (1-0); B Ó Beaglaíoch, T O’Sullivan, G White; J O’Connor, S O’Brien; D Moynihan (0-1), D Geaney (0-1), C Burke; K Spillane, S O’Shea (capt.) (0-5, 0-4f), M Burns Subs: B O’Sullivan for O’Brien (29 mins), P Murphy for Beaglaíoch, C Geaney (1-0) for Burns (both half time), S O’Brien for Burke (45 mins), D O’Connor for Spillane (49 mins).

Ref: J McQuillan (Cavan).

Mayo 2-12; Galway 0-10

Mayo have a habit of blooming early and then wilting in summer when others are starting to show their finery. Still they looked a good side against an understrength Galway at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

Even against the fresh wind in the first half, they bossed the ball against a disappointing opposition seriously missing the loss of Damian Comer who suffered a hamstring injury at training on Thursday night.

From the time wing back Eoghan McLaughlin came marauding up the field in the 11th minute to crash home a great left-footed goal, the defending league champions always had the upperhand and substitute Cillian O'Connor tucked away a penalty in injury time to add gloss to a strong first showing of the year.

Without Comer and the likes of Liam Silke, Seán Kelly and Cillian McDaid Galway had not the strength in depth to ask questions of their neighbors and rivals and depended on placed ball to keep them ticking on the scoreboard.

An indication of their inability to penetrate the Mayo defense was the fact that they managed one point only from play from substitute Cillian Ó Curraoin in the second period. Add that to the fact that there was close on a 20 minute period in the first half when they failed to raise a flag of any kind and you get the idea of how inept they were on the day.

Mayo were ahead by 1-6 to 0-5 despite playing against the substantial wind in the first half. Then, as expected, they put the foot on the pedal and allowed Galway no way back thanks to tacking on points while keeping their own defense largely intact.

They will have a greater appreciation of how they stand when they entertain Dublin this weekend while Galway will hope to make a successful raid on  Dr Hyde Park  where they face Roscommon who were beaten by Tyrone in round one of the competition.

Mayo: C Reape; J Coyne, D McBrien, R Brickenden; P Durcan (0-1), S Callinan, E McLaughlin (1-0); B Tuohy (0-1), C Reid; F Boland (0-3), J Carney (0-1), J Flynn (0-2); A O’Shea, T Conroy, R O’Donoghue (0-2fs) Subs: D Duffy for Reid (46); P Towey (0-2) for Conroy (56); C O’Connor (1-0p) for O’Shea (59); D McHugh for Tuohy (63); S Coen for Boland (69).

Galway: C Gleeson; J McGrath, S Fitzgerald, E Kelly; S Mulkerrin, J Daly, K Molloy; J Maher, D McHugh (0-1); J Heaney, S Walsh (0-4, 0-2f, 0-1 ‘45), C Darcy; L Ó Conghaile (0-2), N Daly, C Sweeney (0-1) Subs: M Tierney (0-1f) for N Daly (19); P Conroy for Heaney (HT): C Ó Curraoin (0-1) for Molloy (50); R Finnerty for Darcy (52); D O’Flaherty for Ó Conghaile (64).

Ref: S Hurson (Tyrone).

Tyrone 0-17; Roscommon 1-11

Fourteen-man Tyrone still had too much firepower to overcome a Roscommon side that only got going in fits and starts at Healy Park on Sunday.

The winners overcame the loss of  powerful midfielder Conn Kilpatrick who was giving his marching orders shortly after the resumption and can thank in large measure the performance of Darragh Canavan in the second-half who ended up with eight points to his personal tally.

The Rossies were always playing catch-up and when Donie Smith struck for a goal after 14 minutes, it gave the visitors renewed confidence and they were only a point behind at the break  - 0-10 to 1-6.

Roscommon went super defensive to cover for Dylan Ruane black card but once Kilpatrick saw red, there was a sense that the Connacht men could cause another upset against the Red Hand.

However, that was when Canavan cut loose to shoot four great points which put the game beyond doubt.

Tyrone: N Morgan; C Devlin; P Hampsey (0-1), A Clarke; C Quinn, M McKernan (0-1), T Quinn; B Kennedy, C Kilpatrick; N Devlin (0-2), P Harte, B Cullen (0-1); S O'Donnell (0-1m), D Canavan (0-8, 0-2f), C Daly (0-3) Subs: R Canavan for Devlin (55), D Mulgrew for C Quinn (63), J Donaghy for Cullen (74)

Roscommon: C Carroll; D Murray, E Flynn (0-1), N Higgins; N Daly (0-1), C Walsh, E McCormack; K Doyle (0-1), D Ruane; C Connolly (0-1), D Smith (1-0), D Cregg; D Murtagh (0-5, 0-4f), C Lennon (0-1), C Cox Subs: R Dolan for Higgins (49), L Glennon for Flynn (51), A McDermott for Lennon (55), A Glennon for Cox (59), J Fitzpatrick (0-1) for Walsh (66)

Ref: M McNally (Monaghan).