Mayo bow out at All-Ireland quarterfinal stage
Mayo's run in the All-Ireland SFC came to an end at Croke Park today as they were defeated by Kerry on a scoreline of 1-18 to 0-13.
The game was in the melting pot for 50 minutes as Mayo put it up the favourites but a strong final quarter saw the Munster champions drive on to an eight-point victory.
For long periods it didn't appear as though a gap that big could be created as the teams were evenly matched but Mayo's inability to take full advantage of a dominant spell after half-time put paid to their chances.
The first half was illuminated by a David Clifford goal after he played a clever one-two with Stephen O'Brien and finished from a tight angle.
Clifford wasn't his free-flowing self as Oisin Mullin proved an effective marker but still finished with a goal and three points to his name, and Kerry had a good spread of scores.
So too did Mayo, though they rarely looked like breaching a tight-marking Kerry defence, even with a more direct style of play.
They did have a good chance right at the end of the first half as Kevin McLoughlin, a late change to the starting 15, got on a breaking ball and fired viciously towards goal. His effort was too high though, going over rather than under the bar.
It left just a point between the sides at the break, however, and Mayo had played the final five minutes of the half, plus almost four minutes of injury time, with 14 players as Aidan O'Shea served time for a black card offence.
While he was off the pitch Mayo actually outscored Kerry by two points to one, Cillian O'Connor (free) and that rasper from McLoughlin either side of a David Moran effort as the teams left the pitch with the scoreboard reading Kerry 1-7, Mayo 0-9.
O'Shea wasn't long back on the pitch when Tom O'Sullivan added to Kerry's tally, but Jordan Flynn responded in kind.
When Kerry's Graham O'Sullivan and Mayo's Matthew Ruane swapped scores there were still just two between them, but the Green and Red missed a few good chances as they dominated possession, letting the Kingdom off the hook.
David Clifford stretched the Kerry lead to three before substitute James Carr responded for Mayo, but that proved to be their second last score of the game.
Kerry, on the other hand, went on an impressive scoring run, adding seven points on the trot before Jordan Flynn stopped the rot with a late consolation.
Sean O'Shea had the final for Kerry, who have a couple of weeks now to prepare for an All-Ireland semi-final against old rivals Dublin.
Mayo: Rob Hennelly (0-1); Lee Keegan, Oisin Mullin, Enda Hession; Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen (0-1), Eoghan McLaughlin; Aidan O'Shea (0-1), Matthew Ruane (0-1); Jordan Flynn (0-2), Diarmuid O'Connor, Conor Loftus (0-1); Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Jack Carney (0-1), Cillian O'Connor (0-3).
Subs used: James Carr (0-1), Fergal Boland, Aiden Orme, Padraig O'Hora, Jason Doherty, Paul Towey.
Kerry: Shane Ryan; Graham O'Sullivan (0-1), Jason Foley, Tom O'Sullivan (0-3); Brian Ó Beaglaíoch, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White (0-1); David Moran (0-2), Diarmuid O'Connor; Dara Moynihan, Sean O'Shea (0-3), Stephen O'Brien; Paudie Clifford, David Clifford (1-3), Paul Geaney (0-4).
Subs used: Killian Spillane (0-1), Paul Murphy, Micheál Burns, Joe O'Connor, Tony Brosnan, Gavin Crowley.
*See Tuesday's print edition for a full match report and reaction from Croke Park