Aidan O’Shea and Mayo make a statement with triumph in Tralee
Matthew Ruane’s late goal ends Kerry unbeaten league run
Kerry’s Jack Barry is put under pressure by Aidan O’Shea of Mayo during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match at Austin Stack Park in Tralee. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Kerry 0-11 Mayo 1-10
After taking two standing counts in their last two defeats, Mayo bounced back in anger at Austin Stack Park in Tralee where they ended Kerry’s unbeaten run in the National League.
On a bitterly cold night, a game that was battered by wind and rain provided no shortage of entertainment for the sell-out crowd of over 10,000 as both sides got stuck in from the off. But it was the visitors who deservedly earned the two points that keeps their name still in the hat for a place in the league final should results fall their way in the final round next weekend.
“The conditions were crazy for both sides but we needed a big performance, particularly after failing to show against Dublin and there is nothing likes a Saturday night game on Paddy’s weekend against Kerry to get the juices flowing,” said man-of-the-match Aidan O’Shea.
Kerry manager Peter Keane gave credit to Mayo’s defence for their workrate, particularly in the first half when Kerry had a strong wind, but hit some poor wides and made some even poorer shot selections.
“We were slow starting and didn’t use that strong wind effectively enough in the first half, but this is another part of the learning process,” was Keane’s candid assessment.
Seven wides and three balls dropped short is not the kind of football you associate with Kerry, who came with a late burst to lead by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.
Tommy Walsh, who threatened much when posted at full forward in that first half, was later withdrawn having scored just a point from a mark, but credit must go to the work and tackling of the Mayo defence, while O’Shea and Matthew Ruane were winning a lot of ball around the middle of the field.
Mayo had fired over three points from play – Kevin McLoughlin, Ruane and Jason Doherty – before Seán O’Shea had Kerry up and running. But a second point from McLoughlin had Mayo 0-4 to 0-2 ahead on 18 minutes, Kerry closing out the half with five unanswered points and looking more like the side whose name could be on the league title.
By the 58th minute the sides were all square at 0-8 a piece, substitute Fergal Boland making an impact for Mayo, while Kerry substitute Diarmuid O’Connor announced his arrival on the scene with a good point into the strong wind as the sides were tied at 0-9 apiece on 62 minutes.
Three minutes from time a tough call for a late challenge on Ruane after his effort for a score went wide produced another free from Doherty to put Mayo ahead. Then on 58 minutes, a superb pass from McLoughlin found Ruane thundering forward in space from the wing and the Breaffy man held his nerve to draw goalkeeper Brian Kelly before coolly sliding it low into the net.
With six minutes of injury-time to be played, Kerry still had time to salvage something but they could only manger two more points, Seán O’Shea landing his sixth free of the night and substitute James O’Donoghue also finding the target.
KERRY: B Kelly; P Crowley, T Morley, B Ó Beaglaioch; G Crowley, P Murphy, T O’Sullivan; J Barry, M Griffin; D Moynihan, S O’Shea (0-6, three frees, one 45), G O’Brien; K McCarthy(0-2), T Walsh (0-1, mark), S O’Brien.
Subs: D O’Connor (0-1) for McCarthy(45 mins), T O’Shea for Moynihan (47), J O’Donoghue (0-1) for Walsh (58), C Geaney for O’Brien (59), A Spillane for Griffin (60), C Geaney for O’Brien (61).
MAYO: D Clarke; C Barrett, B Harrison, K Higgins; S Coen, M Plunkett, D Vaughan; M Ruane (1-1), A O’Shea; F McDonagh (0-1), C Loftus, D O’Connor; K McLoughlin (0-2), J Doherty(0-6, five frees), J Durcan.
Subs: A Moran for J Durcan (47), F Boland (0-1) for Loftus (50) L Keegan for Vaughan, C Boyle for Plunkett (both 59), R Hennelly for Clarke (inj, 60).
Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh).