Mayo surge comes too late to deny the Kingdom

A FRUSTRATED Mayo manager James Horan could only wonder how things might have panned out if Mayo had turned up for the first half of this game as well as the second.

It finished Kerry 1-14 Mayo 1-13 before a crowd of just over 8,000 at MacHale Park, Castlebar, this afternoon in a game which was  moved from Saturday night for safety reasons due to the weather.

An amazing statistic from this game is that Mayo, playing into the wind, outscored Kerry by 1-9 to 0-6 in the second half but sadly it was not enough and relegation now looms large for the current league champions with two games to go.

The Mayo manager James Horan said they have two weeks to work on their problems ahead of what is going to be massive game against Galway in Salthill.

“We didn’t play for 70 minutes and that is unfortunate but if we can reproduce that second half on a more consistent basis then we still have  a chance,” he said.

It looked pretty grim for Mayo at half-time as they trailed by 1-8 to 0-4, three of those first half scores coming from frees, two from Kevin McLoughlin and their only point from play scored by Tom Parsons.

Kerry toyed with Mayo in the first half and it could have been worse if David Clifford hadn’t hit the crossbar with a penalty.

However, Kerry were gifted a goal when a stray pass from Keith Higgins found Michael Burns who linked with Tommy Walsh and he set up Sean O’Shea who side-stepped David Clarke before firing to the empty net.

Three second half substutions turned this game on its head with impact sub Eoghan McLaughlin from Westport firing home the goal which finally lit the fire under Mayo.

Two early frees from Diarmuid O’Connor and a fine point from substitute Eoghan O’Donoghue had the gap back to five points -1-10 to 0-8 - when Eoghan McLaughlin struck for the Mayo goal and suddenly it was a two-point game -1-10 to 1-8  on 57 minutes.

Mayo were now beginning to run at Kerry and twice they came within a point of them and as four minutes of injury-time was announced it looked as if the home side just might land a share of the spoils.

But an effort from Keith Higgins went inches wide and with it went Mayo’s last chance of picking up what would been a massive point.

They now take a break as they head to Salthill in two weeks time for what is a huge game against the Tribesmen and one that could well decide Mayo’s destiny, although they do have a final game at home against Tyrone and other result may yet fall in their favour.

But they need to win one of their last two games to have any hope of avoiding relegation.

Mayo: D. Clarke, J. Stretton, O. Mullin, K. Higgins, L. Keegan, S. Coen, P. Durcan, A. O’Shea (0-1), T. Parsons (0-1), J. Flynn, R. O’Donoghue (0-1), D. O’Connor (0-2, 2f), K. McLoughlin (0-3, 2f), D. Coen (0-1, 1f), J. Durcan.

Subs used: Eoghan McLoughlin (1-1) for Parsons (ht), Eoin O’Donohgue (0-1) for J Durcan (ht), T Conroy (0-1) for D. Coen (ht), P. Towey (0-1, 1f) for Flynn (65).

Kerry: S .Ryan, G. O’Sullivan, .T Morley, T. O’Sullivan, P. Murphy, S. Enright, G. White (0-1), D. O’Connor (0-1), J. Berry, M. Burns (0-1), S. O’Shea (1-4, 4f), T. Walsh, D. Moynihan (0-1), D. Clifford (0-3, 1f), T. Brosnan (0-1).

Subs used: S. O’Brien (0-1) for Burns (48), P. Geaney (0-1) for Walsh (56), C. Spillane for Moynihan (65). L. Kearney for Brosnan (70)

Referee: M. McNally (Monaghan)..