By Mike Fitzpatrick
Kerry: 3-8, Mayo: 1-5
Senior football returned to Gaelic Park Sunday after a gap of two weeks, and the first action involved two sides anxious to grab victory to stay on course for any hope of glory this season.
Kerry are doing quite well so far, having won their opening bout with Offaly, and following this victory they retained their position at the forefront of Div. 2. Kerry have not won this title for more than 30 years, an astonishingly long term for such a historically strong side.
Mayo, however, face problems of their own. Having moved up from junior ranks, they are clearly finding the going tough. Well beaten by Donie O’Sullivan’s Celtics side a couple of weeks back, their ill fortune continued when The Kingdom administered a beating upon the Connaught side that they will quickly want to forget.
It was always going to be difficult for Mayo, and within minutes of
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this tie opening, they found themselves well behind, thanks to efforts from Bingo Driscoll, Paddy Mulvihill, Seamus Harkan, and a goal from Dave McCarthy.
Willie O’Donnell, the scorer of New York’s historic first ever All-Ireland championship point on Irish soil, hit another point for Kerry, and all seemed lost for the lads from Mayo.
A second half fight back from the Connaught side saw them register points from John Browne, Tom Burke, and possibly the best point of the game from Niall Coogan, to give a little more respectability to the tie, but Kerry never really seemed in much danger of falling behind.
A clash between Mayo’s Tom Maher and Kerry’s Paddy Connor resulted in a five minute stoppage, and both players were carried off the field in urgent need of medical attention. At the time of going to press, the word is that the injuries are not as serious as first feared, though it did appear worrying for a time.
Kerry’s dominance continued throughout the second period, with Bingo Driscoll performing to a lofty standard, and knocking over another couple of efforts, John Sexton scored a goal to further their lead, and despite a late goal from Dave Hyland of Mayo, Kerry were in no mood to surrender their lead.
O’Driscoll added another point, and a late late goal from Seamus Harkan really killed off any slim hopes Mayo had of providing one of the shocks of the season.
Kerry, though never really seriously threatened during this tie, look good for at least one of the top spots in Div. 2 football this year.
However, Mayo have found Senior football to be a far more difficult proposition than the junior ranks, and unless their form improves, they could find themselves in serious trouble soon.
Mayo: Declan Fearon, Denis Curtin, Tom Maher, Marty McGivern, Seamus Burke, David McHale, David Hyland (1-0), James Prenty (0-1), Niall Coogan (0-1), John Browne (0-1), Alan Ryan, Mickey McGahon, Declan Caulfield, Christy Fallon, Tom Burke (0-2) Subs: Niall McMahon, Eamonn Duffy, Barry Heanon, Michael Reddington Kerry: Robbie Dowd, Niall Sugrue, Paul Gallivan, Peter Riney, Louis Holland, Johnny Driscoll, Mark Burke, Willie O’Donnell (0-1), Paddy Connor, Dave McCarthy (1-1), John Sexton (1-0), Bingo Driscoll (0-4) Paddy Mulvihill (0-1), Ciaran Cull, Seamus Harkan (1-1) Subs Denis Dwyer, Paul Dillon.