Disappointment as mayo minors are defeated
Kerry came to Croke Park for today’s minor semi-final against Mayo with a big reputation and underlined their class with a convincing 1-14 to 2-7 win.
Trailing by a point at the break, 0-3 to 0-4, Kerry simply upped the intensity on the turnaround and won a shade handily, despite a late goal by T.J. Byrne giving an air of respectability to the scoreboard.
Mayo suffered a blow in the opening half with the loss of captain and attacking talisman Cian Hanley, who departed with a leg injury -– the second time in as many years he had to leave the Croke Park field in an All-Ireland semi-final due to injury. Liam Byrne replaced the man who had opened the scoring with a free.
Overall, Mayo enjoyed the better start and while Kerry seemed to have left their shooting boots at home, the Connaught champions showed more accuracy and led 0-2 to 0-0 by the end of the first quarter. It took a good save by goalkeeper Matthew Flanagan to keep it that way, however, as the fancied Munster side cut through for a goal chance. Elsewhere, Eoin O’Donoghue was mopping up plenty of ball, snuffing out Kerry’s advances along with his full-back line colleagues.
Kerry’s first point didn’t arrive until the 19th minute when Killian Spillane found the range. In a flash, however, they were level, and the game was level again at 0-3 apiece before a late Gary Boylan free gave Mayo a 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the end of a surprisingly low-scoring first half.
The Munster champions were full of vigour after the break and three quick scores saw them leading by 0-6 to 0-4. A Gary Boylan free stopped the rot, leaving it 0-6 to 0-5 with 20 minutes to go.
Conor Kilkenny had been playing well in the full-back line so his departure on a black card was another blow for Mayo, who again faced a two-point deficit when Killian Spillane landed a free before Irish dancer Tomas Ó Sé scored the game’s first goal, leaving it 1-7 to 0-5.
When they needed inspiration, T.J. Byrne provided it with a great goal for Mayo as the Connaught champions responded instantly, Brian Reape following up with a point from play.
In an altogether more entertaining second half, Flanagan produced a superb save from a Jordan Kiely penalty and from the clearance Gary Boylan made it a two-point game, 1-9 to 1-7.
However, Kerry were finding scores easier to come by and closed the match out with a flurry of points before Byrne’s late goal left four between the teams at the end.
Mayo: M. Flanagan; C. Kilkenny, S. Cunniffe, E. O’Donoghue; J. Forkan, B. Duffy, S. Conlon; G. Walsh, M. Ruane; G. Boylan (0-4, 3f), C. Hanley (0-1), S. Akram; F. Duffy (0-1), T.J. Byrne (2-0), B. Reape (0-1).
Subs used: L. Byrne, S. Brennan, D. Clarke, K. Hopkins, J. Reilly, D. Cannon.
Kerry: S. Ryan (0-1f); D. O’Donoghue, B. Ó Beaglaíoch, T. O’Sullivan; B. Sugrue, A. Barry, C. Coffey; B. O’Sullivan, M. O’Connor (0-1); M. Flaherty (0-1), B. Rayle, M. Burns (0-1); J. Kiely, K. Spillane (0-6, 3f), T. Ó Sé (1-1).
Subs used: L. Carey (0-3), S. O’Sullivan, L. Kearney, R. Wharton, I. Parker.