Mayo 2-17 Kildare 0-14
Kildare’s championship run came to a shuddering halt at sunny MacHale Park, Castlebar before a crowd of close on 15,000 where Mayo won with a lot more ease than the nine-point winning margin indicated.
The young player of the year in 2015, Diarmuid O’Connor, turned a man of the match performance, scoring with 1-5 from play in a game that was effectively over by half-time, although Kildare have to be commended for their fighting spirit.
Seven minutes before half-time Mayo were just two points ahead - 0-7 to 0-5 - but the game took a dramatic turn as Mayo fired home two goals in space of four minutes as the gulf in class between the two teams began to show.
That gap could have been much wider but referee Derek O'Mahoney turned down appeals for what seemed two legitimate penalty claims when both Andy Moran and Diarmuid O'Connor appeared to be taken down in the square.
Andy Moran looked set to score on twenty nine minutes but his effort was blocked and on hand to help the ball over the line was Evan Regan.
Three minutes from the break a meandering run by Diarmuid O’Connor saw him slice through the Kildare defence and fire home Mayo’s second goal to put them in control at half-time, 2-9 to 0-5.
Kildare could have had a goal of their own at the close of the half but a brilliant save by David Clarke denied Emmet Bolton who fired a rocket from 25 yards.
Despite the freetaking of Neill Flynn, who finished on six points - five from dead-balls - and three excellent points from play from substitute Fionan Dowling, Kildare never posed a serious threat in the second half as Mayo emptied the bench with Alan Freeman, Jason Doherty and Conor O'Shea all finding the target in a game which saw just two yellow cards and one black, the latter going to Mayo's Colm Boyle, fifteen minutes from time.
Mayo: D Clarke; B Harrision, K Keane, K Higgins (0-1), L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan (0-1); S O'Shea, D Vaughan, K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, D O'Connor (1-5); E Regan (1-5, 1f), A Moran, C O'Connor (0-2, 2f). Subs: S Coen for Keane (41), A Dillon for A Moran (49), B Moran for C Boyle (BC, 53), J Doherty (0-2) for B Harrision (63), A Freeman (0-1) for E Regan (65), C O'Shea (0-1) for D O'Connor (67)
Kildare: M Donnellan; C Fitzpatrick, D Hyland, O Lyons; J Byrne (0-1), E Doyle, E Boltan; T Moolick, K Feely; M O'Flaherty (0-2), F Conway, E O'Flaherty; C McNally (0-1), N Kelly, N Flynn (0-5). Subs: F Dowling (0-3) for E Bolton (35), K Cribbin (0-1) for M O'Flaherty (35), A Smith (0-1) for E O'Flaherty (44), E Callaghan for McNally (48) P Kelly for Fitzpatrick (53), C Healy for Flynn (59)
Referee: Derek O'Mahony (Tipperary)