Mayo finally got the “Kerry monkey” off their back, with a thrilling one point victory over the Kingdom in this afternoon’s Allianz National Football League Division One semi Final at Croke Park. The Westerners were full value for their success and proved once and for all that they were capable of beating Jack O’Connor’s side at headquarters.
The two counties had drawn 1-12 apiece in Tralee last Sunday,and there was nothing between the teams again this afternoon. After normal time, they stood at 1-13 each and extra time was required. Kerry appeared to be getting the better of the game as the minutes wore on, but a late Mayo goal from Col Boyle tied the scores before substitute Richie Feeney popped up to hit the decisive score for the Connacht men. Bryan Sheehan had a last minute opportunity to level the match but his free dragged wide and left Mayo celebrating a rare victory for Kerry.
James Horan’s side made the brighter start to the game and led early as Conor Mortimer proved his accuracy in front of the posts. Bryan Sheehan kept Kerry in touch from a free but Mortimer and Higgins added further points to leave it 0-5 to 0-1 to Mayo. Alan Dillon scored for Mayo before Kerry stepped up a gear and Cooper, O’Leary and Maher all hit the target. Cooper and Mortimer exchanged further points and Mayo med 0-9 to 0-7 at the break.
Cooper and Sheehan scored for Kerry early in the second period to tie the match before James O’Donoghue hit a goal for the kingdom. To their credit Mayo never wilted and a penalty from Pat Harte after Dillon had been fouled tied the match at 1-13 apiece. Mayo kept their heads in the added time and were fully deserving winners of this contest.
Mayo scorers – C Boyle 1-1, C Mortimer 0-7 (4f), K O’Connor (1f), A Dillon 0-2 each, A Moran, K Higgins, R Feeney 0-1 each.
Kerry scorers – J O’Donoghue 1-0, B Sheehan 0-6 (5f), C Cooper 0-4 (3f), BJ Keane 0-2, A Maher, P Galvin, K O’Leary, P Curtin, D O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Mayo – D Clarke, K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins, L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle, B Moran, J Gibbons, K McLoughlin, A Moran, A Dillon, C Mortimer, J Doherty, M Conroy.
Subs – P Harte for Doherty, E Varley for Conroy, D Geraghty for B Moran, K O’Connor for Mortimer, R Feeney for McLoughlin, A Campbell for Harte
Kerry – B Kealy, S Enright, M O Se, K Young, P Crowley, A O’Mahony, B Maguire, A Maher, B Sheehan, P Galvin, Darran O’Sullivan, K Donaghy, C Cooper, K O’Leary, P Curtin.
Subs – J O’Donoghue for O’Leary, E Brosnan for O’Mahony, D Walsh for Curtin, J Lyne for Maguire, BJ Keane for Young, J Buckley for Crowley