Home record is smashed but where there’s life…

Kerry manager Jack O’Connor,selectors Diarmuid Murphy and Mike Quirke and physio Jimmy Galvin keep an eye on proceedings


1. When the final whistle sounded, five points separated the sides but, truth be told, if it wasn’t for the sheer brilliance of Shane Ryan, it would easily have been double scores.

The Rathmore man pulled off four spectacular point-black saves to keep the rampaging Mayo attack at bay on a day when very little went Kerry’s way and most things Mayo touched turned to gold.

Such was his impact on proceedings, Ryan was – or at least should have been – a contender for the man-of-the-match gong and on a day some serious shortcomings were exposed in the Kerry backline, they have the big number one to thank for preventing a mauling. He’s not an All-Star for nothing.

2. Always an absolute delight to watch, David Clifford had his goal chances and while the Mayo goalkeeper and defence didn’t exactly prove it but hinted that the Fossa star was human after all, he still finished as the game’s top scorer with eight points, three from frees.

He‘s a quality act, a joy to observe but he couldn’t do it on his own and while his offensive colleagues battled hard – Paul Geaney and Seanie O’Shea both notching three points and Paudie Clifford linking up well with his younger brother in the second half – Kerry struggled to play their usual attack-at-pace game and they were outsmarted time and again by the tenacious Mayo rearguard.

Former Kerry coach Donie Buckley giving instructions to the Mayo players from the sideline

3. The evidence can’t be disputed – Kerry were cleaned out around the middle of the field for long passages of play and that was the foundation for this very spirited and impressive Mayo performance and victory.

Mattie Ruane and Diarmuid O’Connor lorded it over Kerry’s Diarmuid O’Connor and Jack Barry and the breaking ball, more often than not, was swept up by the hugely industrious Mayo half back and half forward lines.

Playing on the edge, as always, the wily Aidan O’Shea was causing absolute havoc inside, particularly in the first half, but ,for reasons best known to themselves, the Kerry selectors were slow to react and waited until half-time before making any changes.

4. Records are there to be broken and Kerry’s unbeaten championship run at Fitzgerald Stadium, locked tight since 1995, was shattered by a Mayo side that, quite frankly, played better football, showed more imagination, were more tactically tuned in and, in a nutshell, looked more up for it.

Watching a fired-up former Kerry coach Donie Buckley racing down the steps of the O’Sullivan Stand in the closing stages of game, to shout instructions from the sideline, at a stage when the result was already all but decided, says it all about how much this victory means to them.

So often the bridesmaids, Kevin McStay is determined that Mayo will go all the way this year and teaching Kerry a lesson on their precious home patch will go a long way in that respect.

Tadhg Morley heads for the stand after being replaced having suffered a heavy knock early in the game

5. Killarney was packed for the big occasion this Saturday and the pre-match atmosphere on the streets more than matched anything a Kerry v Cork Munster final clash could deliver. Strangely, however, the attendance at Fitzgerald Stadium – 23, 128 – was well below capacity, particularly when tickets were said to be at a premium in the build-up to the game.

The fact is there were plenty of seats available in the O’Sullivan Stand, numerous big gaps on the terraces and sufficient space for another 10,000 people around the ground, if required.

The atmosphere in the ground was strangely subdued throughout but, perhaps, that had more to do with Mayo’s impressive performance and Kerry’s disappointing display that anything else.

The consolation, of course, is that it wasn’t a knockout encounter and battered and bruised Kerry live to fight another day. But they must fight harder. And where there’s life…


Kerry scorers: David Clifford 0-8 (0-3 frees); Paul Geaney 0-3; Seanie O’Shea 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 45); Tom O’Sullivan 0-2; Dara Moynihan 0-1.

Mayo scorers: Ryan O’Donoghue 0-5 (0-2 frees); Padraig O’Hora 0-1; Eoghan McLaughlin 1-0; James Carr 0-3; Aidan O’Shea 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 mark); Mattie Ruane 0-2; Padraig O’Hora 0-1; Donncha McHugh 0-1; Jack Carney 0-1; Jason O’Doherty 0-1; Jordan Flynn 0-1.

Kerry: Shane Ryan, Dylan Casey, Jason Foley, Tom O’Sullivan, Graham O’Sullivan, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Barry, Dara Moynihan, Seanie O’Shea, Paudie Clifford, Tony Brosnan, David Clifford.

Subs: Paul Murphy for Tadhg Morley (temporary); Paul Murphy for Dylan Casey; Adrian Spillane for Tony Brosnan, Ruairí Murphy for Dara Moynihan; Brian Ó Beaglaoich for Tadhg Morley; Stephen O’Brien for Jack Barry.

Mayo: Colm Reape, Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Sam Callinan, Pádraig O’Hora, Conor Loftus, Donncha McHugh, Mattie Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jason Doherty, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn, Aidan O’Shea, James Carr, Ryan O’Donoghue,

Subs: Paddy Durcan for J Doherty; Enda Hession for S Callinan; Tommy Conroy for J Carr; Eoghan McLaughlin for P O’Hora;  Stephen Coen for J Coyne.

Referee: Seán Hurson (Tyrone).

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