Records tumble as Mayo shock Kerry in Killarney
Mayo got their All-Ireland senior football championship group stages campaign off to the best possible start with a 1-19 to 0-17 victory over Kerry in Killarney this afternoon.
The difficulty of the task facing Mayo today was underscored by the fact that Kerry hadn't lost a championship game in their home ground since the 1995 Munster final, a run stretching for 39 games.
They were second best today, however, as Kevin McStay's charges showed that the lengthy layoff since defeat in the Connacht quarterfinal was not an issue.
There were some injury concerns going into the game too – Mayo made three late changes to the starting line-up – but none of that hindered the Green and Red on the day.
Kerry, the defending All-Ireland champions, had to play second fiddle to Mayo for the most of the game.
The visitors made their intentions known with a few early goal chances, Shane Ryan doing well in the Kerry goal, but any sense that they would rue those misses were soon banished.
With a full-forward line in fine form – between them, Aidan O'Shea, Ryan O'Donoghue and James Carr scored 10 points in the first half – Mayo were good value for their five-point (0-12 to 0-7) advantage at the break.
David Clifford was Kerry's danger man, with Sean O'Shea and Paul Geaney offering support, but by and large Mayo coped well with the vaunted Kingdom forward line, while Mattie Ruane and Diarmuid O'Connor got the better of the midfield battle against Kerry's Jack Barry and their own Diarmuid O'Connor.
Clifford and Geaney started the second half well and there were just three points between the teams as the clock ticked towards the hour mark.
Goalkeeper Colm Reape and defender Sam Callinan also came to Mayo's rescue with vital interceptions as Clifford threatened to find the net on two occasions in the same number of minutes during the game's third quarter.
Having withstood the barrage, Mayo – who were able to introduce Paddy Durcan, Enda Hession, Eoghan McLaughlin, Stephen Coen and Tommy Conroy after sterling work by Jason Doherty, Callinan, Carr, Padraig O'Hora and Jack Coyne – stole down the other end and scored the only goal of the game on 60 minutes.
McLaughlin, not long on the field, produced a classy finish after a fine move, and that left Mayo 1-16 to 0-13 ahead with 10 minutes plus injury time to play.
Kerry got the deficit down to four on a couple of occasions but Mayo responded each time, and Jordan Flynn had the final say to seal a fully merited 1-19 to 0-17 victory over the Kingdom in their own back yard.
Kerry: Shane Ryan; Dylan Casey, Jason Foley, Tom O'Sullivan (0-2); Graham O'Sullivan, Tadhg Morley, Gavin White; Diarmuid O'Connor, Jack Barry; Dara Moynihan (0-1), Sean O'Shea (0-3), Paudie Clifford; Tony Brosnan, David Clifford (0-8), Paul Geaney (0-3).
Subs used: Paul Murphy (blood), Ruairi Murphy, Brian Ó Beaglaoicht, Stephen O'Brien.
Mayo: Colm Reape; Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Sam Callinan; Padraig O'Hora (0-1), Conor Loftus, Donnacha McHugh (0-1); Matthew Ruane (0-2), Diarmuid O'Connor; Jason Doherty (0-1), Jack Carney (0-1), Jordan Flynn (0-1); Aidan O'Shea (0-3), James Carr (0-3), Ryan O'Donoghue (0-5).
Subs used: Paddy Durcan (0-1), Enda Hession, Tommy Conroy, Eoghan McLaughlin (1-0), Stephen Coen.
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).