Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Kerry v Mayo in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship here on #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/3HiHr6Nl9d— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 20, 2023
Mayo Stuns Kerry in Killarney: Mayo Makes Waves with Surprise Victory
In a stunning turn of events, Mayo delivered a resounding blow to Kerry’s unbeaten streak at home, which lasted an impressive 39 games. The match played out in the formidable fortress of Killarney, where Mayo’s triumph was sealed by Eoghan McLaughlin’s crucial goal in the 61st minute, propelling Kevin McStay’s team six points ahead. With a solid performance in the final 12 minutes, the Allianz Football League Division One champions navigated the remainder of the game flawlessly, securing a well-deserved five-point victory.
Mayo’s Commanding Performance from Start to Finish
From the outset, Mayo displayed remarkable prowess, taking the lead in the fourth minute with a goal from Ryan O’Donoghue. Apart from a brief three-minute period midway through the first half when the score was level at 0-3 apiece, Mayo maintained their advantage throughout the match. They exhibited exceptional composure and skill, hardly putting a foot wrong on the field.
Matthew Ruane Shines as Mayo’s Tour de Force
The race for the coveted man of the match title was initially a close call between the two goalkeepers, Shane Ryan and Colm Reape, who collectively made eight superb saves. However, it was hard to ignore Matthew Ruane’s outstanding performance as he orchestrated a dominating display in midfield. Assisted by his Breaffy club mate Aidan O’Shea, Ruane orchestrated the game expertly, contributing two crucial points alongside his extensive contributions to the team’s efforts.
Kerry’s Defeat Lies in the Engine Room
Kerry’s loss can largely be attributed to their underperforming engine room. While Paudie Clifford valiantly fought for his team, the absence of similar support from Kerry’s midfield ultimately led to their downfall. Mayo’s Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor Loftus, and others exploited the gaps in Kerry’s middle diamond, with only Ryan’s exceptional goalkeeping preventing a more significant margin of defeat for the home team.
Mayo’s Intensity and Front-Foot Football
Right from the second minute, Mayo showcased their intent to play assertive, front-foot football. This determination was exemplified when O’Donoghue swiftly delivered a quick free to Diarmuid O’Connor, who unleashed a powerful shot at goal that Ryan impressively pushed away. Mayo’s message was clear: they were ready to challenge Kerry head-on and dictate the game on their terms.
Mayo’s Dominance and Kerry’s Missed Opportunities
Throughout the first half, Mayo demonstrated their superiority, launching two wicked shots at Ryan, both from James Carr. Ryan’s exceptional goalkeeping skills were on display as he denied Carr’s attempts brilliantly. Despite Mayo’s clear dominance, they settled for a deserved five-point lead at halftime, with notable contributions from Carr, O’Donoghue, and O’Shea.
Meanwhile, Kerry’s attacking threat, which was evident in the Munster final, failed to materialize. Although David Clifford notched eight points, including five from play, he received insufficient support from his teammates.
Mayo Maintains Control, Kerry Struggles
Mayo continued to assert their dominance early in the second half, with Ruane setting the tone with a point two minutes after the restart. While Mayo temporarily regressed and played more defensively during a portion of the half, Kerry failed to capitalize on this opportunity. Although Kerry had their chances, Reape’s reflex saves denied Clifford a much-needed goal. Despite his valiant efforts, Clifford simply didn’t receive enough assistance from his teammates.
Mayo GAA senior football manager Kevin McStay told GAAGO after there victory over Kerry this afternoon that he was delighted with the attitude of his players. He said that having a fit panel and getting impact off the bench was critical at this stage of the championship. pic.twitter.com/y5PqQ9iiKg
— Mayo GAA (@MayoGAA) May 20, 2023